During pregnancy, the umbilical cord passes through a small opening in the baby's abdominal muscles. The opening normally closes just after birth. If the muscles don't join together completely in the midline of the abdomen, this weakness in the abdominal wall may cause an umbilical hernia at birth or later in life.

In adults, too much abdominal pressure can cause an umbilical hernia. Possible causes in adults include:

  • Obesity
  • Multiple pregnancies
  • Fluid in the abdominal cavity (ascites)
  • Previous abdominal surgery
May. 09, 2012

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