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A member asked:

is there any significance to the way a belly button appears, such as in or out?

13 doctor answers15 doctors weighed in
Dr. Michelle Loftis
Pediatrics 25 years experience
Bulging Belly Button: During fetal development, there is a natural opening in the abdominal wall that communicates with the umbilical cord. If it doesn't close before delivery, the baby will have a bulge at the belly button. This is called an "umbilical hernia". Most umbilical cords are small and close on their own. The larger ones will stretch the skin overtime and cause an "outie".
Dr. Lawrence Rosen
Pediatrics 28 years experience
No: Some have innies, some have outies - even large "outies" called umbilical hernias often disappear to become innies by 5 years old.
Dr. Syed Masood
Specializes in Pediatrics
No it does not: If it sticks out there may be a little hernia but most umbilical hernias do not need to be treated.
Dr. Adam Naddelman
Pediatrics 24 years experience
No: Usually there is no significance to the way your baby's belly button appears. Sometimes babies will have what looks like a very big "outie" belly button in the first few months of life. This can be an umbilical hernia, which are harmless more than 95% of the time and will resolve on their own. If you're unsure if your baby has an umbilical hernia, ask your pediatrician to check his/her belly!
Dr. Laura Webb
Pediatrics 13 years experience
Nope: Belly buttons can be as individual as babies are. Sometimes babies will have an umbilical hernia which makes their belly button look like its coming out. Generally these are not repaired and will go away on their own during the first year.
Dr. Irwin Berkowitz
Specializes in Pediatrics
No: All babies have a necessary umbilical hernia which allows the attachment of the umbilical cord to the baby. Some babies' opening are larger than other causing an "outie". 98% of these resove spontaneously by the age of 5 years. It is rare that anything needs to be done. Do not place anything over the belly button to keep it in, as it may irritate the area.
Dr. Janesta Noland
Specializes in Pediatrics
Not much: It's hard to tell whether it will ultimately be an "innie" or an "outie." many babies have an umbilical hernia where fluid or other contents of the abdomen can go in it. These generally close on their own and don't need any intervention, but they can make a belly button look "out" when it will end up "in.".
Dr. Holly Maes
Pediatrics 36 years experience
Not in newborn: "innies or outies" are of almost no consequence in newborns. Every newborn has had a big cord with three huge blod vessels coming out of there, so there is going to be a gap in the muscle there. Sometimes tht gap closes right away, sometimes it takes longer. Then it is an umbilical hernia. Most of these eventually close on their own, even if large. Give it 'til 9-12 months and have your doc watch.
Dr. Colton Bradshaw
Specializes in Pediatrics
Truthfully, no: Whether the baby has an "innie" or an "outie" truthfully has little medical relevance. Certainly an outie might be the first sign of an umbilical hernia--but even this raises mostly only cosmetic concerns. Whereas the vast majority of parents do prefer an innie, many toddlers discover their outie can be a convenient playtoy! most outies do improve over time, so cautious observation is reasonable.
Dr. Pamela Lindor
Pediatrics 32 years experience
Not really!: Parents often worry, or comment on, belly buttons. Going in or out has nothing to do with the cutting of the umbilical cord, as some parents fear. Many babies have a space between their abdominal muscles for the first 1-2 years, which will make their belly button appear to pop out. This almost always gets better as the muscles mature.
Dr. Pamela Lindor
Pediatrics 32 years experience
UMBILICAL HERNIA: Umblical hernias are common and almost always harmless. They can be quite large, especially in african american babies. As the abdominal muscles tighten, the hernia resolves. If your child's hernia does not improve by age 5, your doctor may send you to a specialist for repair.
Dr. Anatoly Belilovsky
Pediatrics 35 years experience
None.: Some people think an "innie" is prettier than an "outie". Babies don't really care, one way or the other.
Dr. Robert Kwok
Pediatrics 33 years experience
No: Belly buttons that are innies or small outies are both fine. A big outie, however, may have a hernia in it (some intestine gets inside the big outie). If the doctor finds a hernia, he will follow along at the check-ups. Big outies with hernias usually resolve by age 2-3 years, but a remaining outie after that age may need surgery to improve or fix it.

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