Before birth baby is fed through the umbilical cord. This is sealed off at birth, leaving a scar called the navel.
Some fairly simple problems may occur. Most of these settle down without too much difficulty. But it is worth knowing about them.
Occasionally infection can take place in the early days, either just before or just after the cord comes off. This needs prompt treatment for rare cases develop into serious infections. Any discharge from the area should be treated seriously and medical guidance sought.
Sometimes “Granuloma” develops. This is a mealy looking growth of tissue. It is not serious, but fails to heal. The doctor will apply silver nitrate stick to it for a few days.
Perhaps the most common problem is the umbilical hernia. This is produced because the underlying muscles, through which the cord traveled, fail to close over the hole. The internal abdominal contents tend to protrude through this artificial orifice. A lump develops at the navel.
These hernias occur in one infant in six. Many small hernias heal of their own accord by the age of two. Even larger ones tend to heal without any treatment and most have gone entirely by the age of six.
Some parents become very worried by the appearance of these lumps. They can become unattractive, and swell markedly, if baby often cries loudly. However, complications are rare.