How Pregnancy Changes Your Belly Button

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It may sound silly to wonder about the pregnant belly button, but there are a lot of questions on this topic! During pregnancy, the belly button can undergo a lot of changes. It helps to know what to expect, what's normal and not, and how to care for your navel while you're pregnant.

belly button changes in pregnancy
Illustration by Emily Roberts, Verywell
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Belly Button Pops Out

Sometimes during pregnancy, your pregnant belly button will stick out. Even if you've been an "innie" all of your life, during pregnancy the expansion of your abdomen can cause you to be an "outie."

There isn't much you can do about this usually temporary condition, except to cover it with clothing. Some people tape something over their navel, like a bandage, to create a more flat appearance under their clothing.

If your belly button has popped out, have your practitioner check it out to ensure you don't have a hernia. This sometimes happens during pregnancy or postpartum.

Be sure to have any unusual bulges examined, especially if they are painful or non-reducible (they don't flatten out when you press on them). Pregnancy may cause umbilical hernias or make a pre-existing one more apparent. Umbilical hernias occur in 0.08% of pregnancies.

Belly Button Goes Flat

Another variation of belly button changes is that your belly button can go flat. Yes, as your stomach expands with the baby, you may notice that your belly button becomes flat and taut against your skin.

This is normal and will usually revert back to your normal belly button once your baby is born. Sometimes you will see a flap of skin that lays flat with an indent. This is not a cause for concern.

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How Will Pregnancy Change My Body?

Belly Button Itches

Itchy skin, particularly around the belly button, is fairly common during pregnancy. As the skin stretches, it can become irritated and itchy. This is usually temporary and normal.

Keep your skin clean with soap and water and well hydrated with your favorite lotion for some relief. An over-the-counter hydrocortisone or antihistamine cream can help temporarily, if your healthcare provider recommends it.

If you don't find relief in these over-the-counter products, talk to your provider. An isolated itchy navel should not be confused with pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP). This is a diffuse and severely itchy rash that occurs all over the torso, rather than just on the belly button. Your doctor or midwife can give you more information if this is suspected.

Belly Button Hurts

Sometimes pregnant people will have a painful sensation inside their belly button. This can be caused by the stretching of the skin on your abdomen or it can a muscular issue. Always report pain to your doctor or midwife. They may have some suggestions for how to help alleviate the pain. For most people, it is temporary as the belly stretches.

If you experience sharp pain that feels stabbing and does not go away after a minute, call your doctor or midwife for advice.

Belly Button Piercings and Pregnancy

Many people have their navels pierced prior to becoming pregnant. They each make different decisions regarding the belly button ring during pregnancy. Some choose to remove it at their practitioner's request, especially as the pregnancy progresses.

Theoretically, as the pregnant abdomen stretches, the ring could tear through the umbilical skin. Many people choose to use a silicone or plastic ring to keep the piercing open, and replace the original ring after delivery.

3 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Kulacoglu H. Umbilical hernia repair and pregnancy: before, during, after…Front Surg. 2018;5:1. doi:10.3389/fsurg.2018.00001

  2. American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists. Skin conditions during pregnancy.

  3. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy. PMID:30969522

By Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH
Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH is a professor, author, childbirth and postpartum educator, certified doula, and lactation counselor.