The major transformations of pregnancy are thrilling to observe, but even the slightest ways it affects your body can be fascinating. So if you're curious as to when your belly button will pop out during pregnancy, here's the info you need. After all, it's one of the many things that will let you know your baby is growing, developing, and using up every last bit of space in your body.
If you are going to develop an “outtie” pregnant belly button, then it will likely happen later on in the pregnancy. “Because of the increase in abdominal pressure due to the enlarging uterus, the belly button can be pushed out. Not all women will develop this, but typically this occurs in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters,” Jennie Mao M.D., medical director of the UW Medicine Women’s Clinic at Harborview Medical Center, tells Romper via email. Other experts support this conclusion as well. Generally, about 20 weeks in is when the pregnancy belly button will pop out, says Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH, FACOG, double board-certified in OB/GYN and Maternal Fetal Medicine, Director of Perinatal Services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln. “The uterus by that time has ascended out of the pelvic cavity — from behind the pelvic bones, and is now in the abdominal cavity — there are no bony structures in front of it — so it protrudes.” From about the halfway point of your pregnancy onward, there just isn’t much keeping that belly button in place, so it can become more prominent. It may not be the biggest change to your pregnant body, but it’s definitely something out of the ordinary for many people.
Although this may sound like a bizarre change, you probably won't experience any seriously bad side effects if your belly button pops out. Some people experience a bit of discomfort in the naval area, but it does not appear that the process of popping is painful in and of itself, according to Healthline. In addition, some people may find the pregnant belly button more sensitive to touch or itchy, but these issues typically resolve once the baby is delivered, says Dr. Mao. From most accounts, this inside-out act is more of a curiosity than any real problem. But if you find that your new outtie is getting irritated from contact with clothes during the day, then take a cue from New Kids Center and put a band-aid over your navel for the time being. (Hey, sometimes the simplest solutions are best.) Using a belly button cover or tummy sleeve specifically designed for pregnant people may help with this irritation as well.
Lastly, will you be left with a permanent outie navel after you have a baby? No, chances are the change is only temporary. For most people, the naval will pop right back into its usual position within a few months after delivery, according to What to Expect. Until then, enjoy your temporary outtie belly button for as long as it lasts.
Dr. Mao, medical director of the UW Medicine Women’s Clinic at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle
Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH, FACOG, double board-certified in OB/GYN & Maternal Fetal Medicine, and Director of Perinatal Services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln
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