Hernias during pregnancy

At the outset…

…if you have a hernia and you are pregnant, you MUST be examined by your own doctor, gynaecologist or obstetrician without delay.

If you are planning a pregnancy then it would be wise to have an existing hernia properly and reliably repaired first.

pregnantThe advice to avoid hernia surgery during pregnancy is, almost certainly, the best way. The best advice is often to leave well alone until after the baby is born and you have completely recovered. This can be no more than three to six months. Hernias during pregnancy do not normally affect the baby or its development.

When considering surgery in any kind of case, one always weighs up the expected advantages and risks of not having the surgery with the disadvantages and risks of having the surgery.

If your hernia does not appear to be posing any imminent threat to your health, the very last thing you would want to do right now is place any avoidable risks on the pregnancy.

Even in cases where hernia surgery is deemed unavoidable during pregnancy, our view is to do it only during the second trimester, although even this is only in very unusual circumstances.

You can still take care to minimise the risks of aggravating the hernia.

Good support at the site of the hernia when coughing or sneezing – even by using your hands – is valuable. Avoid any activity you know makes it hurt or get bigger.

You may be surprised at how little the pregnancy itself will add to the enlargement of the hernia, but you must remain careful.

Normal (Vaginal) Delivery or Caesarian Section?

You also need have no fear of what might happen towards full term or during the delivery. In most parts of the world there are excellent obstetricians and midwives who will all be able to cope with the hernia situation. It is far from uncommon and by informing them now, they will be expecting to deal with your hernia by the time you get there. A decision to have a caesarian delivery just because of a hernia is uncommon.

So when SHOULD I fix the hernia?

Once the baby is born and you are fully back to normal, (you will know when) it would be very wise to speak to us (or any other specialist in hernia you might prefer) about having it repaired. As a rule, all hernias should be repaired once diagnosed, but additionally consider carefully whether you would wish to start another pregnancy with an existing hernia! NEVER ignore  a hernia.

If you have any questions about hernia during pregnancy, please contact us.

Next: Stoma Hernias