Linea Nigra: What you need to know about that dark line on your belly during pregnancy

Mommies wonder whether linea nigra in pregnancy is permanent or if it will ever go away. Here is a lowdown on what it is and how you can manage it during and after your baby bump.

Pregnant moms, do you notice that dark line in the middle of your belly? When does linea nigra or linea negra appear and will it also fade after pregnancy? Learn the answers for all of these here.

What causes linea nigra in pregnancy?

Pregnancy brings joy and a different kind of high, along with all the (sometimes) unexpected changes to your body. These things can be seen in emotional, mental, and of course physical factors. For pregnant women, of course, the baby bump will be visible as your little one grows.

As the months you by, have you already noticed that dark line smacking the middle of your belly? This line might appear from your belly button, running down vertically to your pubic area.

There is a possibility that you may not have noticed it before, but it has always been there even without pregnancy, however very light. Before pregnancy, it is called 'linea alba' or white line.

During pregnancy, this is called linea nigra or linea negra. Yes, whether you like it or not that line will always be there. So if ever you are thinking that this thing is not attractive at all, let us talk about it and what really causes this early pregnancy line on your stomach.

When does linea nigra appear?

As your baby bump gets bigger, the line becomes more pronounced and visible, especially during the 2nd trimester of early pregnancy. The term literally means 'black line' in Latin.

As we said, one of the many things you may notice in the changes in your physical body is hyperpigmentation. This will give your armpits in the neck area get darker than before. Aside from these, your nipples, areola, and vaginal skin will also experience skin discoloration. These color changes are usually the result of increased production of hormones called estrogen and progesterone.

According to Healthline, estrogen and progesterone stimulate cells called melanocytes in your skin. Melanocytes are the reason why your body produces more melanin, which is the pigment responsible for skin tanning or darkening.

Does anyone get linea nigra in pregnancy?

The answer is yes, almost all pregnant women will experience this change. According to the data, there is approximately 80% of pregnant mommies notice that there is a dark line passing through their belly button. For women who have fair skin, this is less common and less noticeable.

One thing that will keep you calm is that, while it can be a little bothersome to look at, the linea nigra does not, in any way, affect your pregnancy. It isn't harmful to you and your baby, and you don't need to have any medical treatment because of it.

In fact, some people believe that the dark line in the middle of your belly has something to do with the gender of your baby. However, there wasn't any science that backs this theory.

When does the linea nigra disappear?

linea nigra permanent Is my linea nigra permanent? Like other pregnancy changes, it can fade over time. | Photo grabbed from Shutterstock

The good news is, that this dark line fades or lightens on its own after giving birth. After delivery, hormone levels are bound to gradually return to their original levels, and the color of that dark line will slowly, but rather surely, become less obvious. Just like your stretch marks and other scars. 

However, this is not always the case. For some women, the line would still be noticeable without pregnancy. For some it takes 3 months, for others, it takes about a year for it to completely fade or disappear. If you have a darker complexion, it might take a bit longer because linea nigra is darker.

If you do get pregnant again, expect this line on your stomach to make an appearance. Heidi Murkoff in her book What to Expect When You’re Expecting,  explains that the linea nigra tends to be lighter in your succeeding pregnancy.

Some women don’t even have it the second or third time around. Or maybe you are just too preoccupied to even notice it or you already expected these changes. 

How to get rid of linea nigra in pregnancy?

There is no way to keep it from becoming darker as your pregnancy progresses. Murkoff also said you can avoid getting it darker by staying covered and away from the sun. 

There are also some ways in order for it to get lighter. These are some of the things you can do according to some research:

  • Use olive oil
  • Put Vitamin E oil
  • Apply creams that are rich in Vitamin E
  • Use lotion or butter
  • Always keep your skin moisturized.
  • Folate your skin to lighten skin discolorations
  • Eat healthy foods, such as leafy greens, beans, lentils, beans, and fresh orange juice, and focus on a folate-rich diet.
  • Use cocoa butter

Some of these have stable fat and work wonders as a moisturizer that helps prevent and lighten linea nigra and diminish stretch marks.

linea nigra in pregnancy Pregnant women can stay away from direct sunlight to avoid getting their linea nigra's color darker. | Photo gabbed from Freepik

There is another topical oil called Extrapone Nutgrass Root Extract that also helps lighten discolorations. This can be found in most health food specialty stores. But like any medication (topical or oral) during pregnancy, it is best to ask your doctor first before trying it for your safety. 

If you want to do it in a natural way, you can do a homemade scrub. Just mix lemon, honey, and sugar. Apply them to the dark line and leave them for about 15 minutes. Rinse it after and make it a part of your daily skin regimen. Do it consistently and you will see positive results in a few months.

You can also help your skin regenerate cells by giving yourself a good night's sleep.

If you are still bothered by how your stomach looks after giving birth, consult a dermatologist. Professional experts can help you by prescribing you the right medication. Remember that you should avoid self-medicating because some topical creams might not be safe for your baby, especially if you're breastfeeding.

Skin conditions during pregnancy

Aside from linea nigra, there are various other skin conditions that a woman may experience during pregnancy.

The first one is stretch marks, the most common and prominent skin condition during pregnancy. Stretch marks, as the name implies, are caused by the stretching of your skin to accommodate your growing belly.

Stretch marks may cause itch and pain for some women. Moisturizing your skin can help ease the symptoms of stretch marks. It is important to use skin moisturizer whether you are pregnant or not.

A good moisturizer can lessen the severity of your symptoms during pregnancy. Moreover, you need to know that stretch marks may appear not just on your stomach area but also on other parts of your skin, such as the breasts, legs, thighs, and other parts of the body that is affected by the stretching of the skin.

Whether pregnant or not can have stretch marks. You can also get stretch marks by gaining some weight. Although it is not common, men can also experience this kind of skin condition. That is just more common and severe during pregnancy because of the growing baby bump.

Other skin conditions a woman may experience during pregnancy:

linea nigra in pregnancy Stretch marks are the most common skin changes in pregnancy. | Photo grabbed from Freepik

Varicose veins

This occurs due to the increase in blood flow during pregnancy. Varicose veins appear as thick blue or purple veins. It commonly appears on the legs and is sometimes painful and uncomfortable.

Elevating your feet while sitting can help ease the varicose veins. You should avoid standing or staying in one position for long periods of time because it can increase your risk of developing varicose veins.

In addition, you can use support stockings. That can promote good blood circulation in your legs. Good circulation is essential to ease the symptoms of varicose veins.


Like linea nigra, melasma is caused by skin hyperpigmentation. Melasma appears as dark spots on the face. That looks like sun spots, but there is nothing to worry about it. With proper care, skin discoloration will go away on its own after you give birth to your baby.

Skin Tags

These are fleshy flaps on the skin that usually occurs in the folds of your body. Because of rapid changes in your body during pregnancy, there is more possibility that skin tags will appear. It may fade after giving birth and if it does not disappear, you can consult your doctor on how to remove skin tags.

Acne Breakout

Due to hormonal changes, acne breakout is also common during pregnancy. You need to be extra careful in treating your acne symptoms during pregnancy, as compared to when you are not pregnant.

There are acne solutions that can be bad for your baby. It is important to consult your doctor first before trying any acne regimen. Symptoms of acne include pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. It can be painful and severe for some women.

Tips for healthy skin during pregnancy

Skin changes during pregnancy are common and natural. These changes are perfectly beautiful and part of motherhood. It is also important to remember that taking good care of your skin during pregnancy is significant. With this, you should be aware of what skin care products you should and not use.

To give you some tips, here are the following ingredients you should avoid using in skin care products during pregnancy:

  • Retinols - A derivative of vitamin a that have linked to malformations of the baby's head, heart, spinal cord, and brain if taken excessively.
  • High-dose salicylic acid - Taking this in large quantities can have negative consequences for your pregnancy.
  • Hydroquinone - This potent anti-pigment is contraindicated for pregnant women.
  • Phthalates - Pregnant women exposed to this substance can cause an increased risk for preterm birth.
  • Formaldehyde - Usage of this can increase the chances of having a miscarriage or fertility problems.
  • Chemical sunscreens - This may cause altered birth weight.

Remember these ingredients for they may have effects on the development of your baby.

On the other hand, you can use the following ingredient alternatives that are safe to use during pregnancy:

linea nigra in pregnancy There are alternatives to protect your skin. | Photo by Pixabay grabbed from Pexels

  • One of the most effective skincare ingredients for hyperpigmentation is glycolic acid. You can use beauty products with a small amount of glycolic acid to reduce fine lines such as linea nigra. It can help in reducing skin hyperpigmentation.
  • Glycolic and azelaic acid are safe for usage during pregnancy as a treatment for acne problems. You can also treat your symptoms with topical benzoyl peroxide and topical salicylic acid.
  • Treating dry skin and stretch marks includes drinking plenty of water to remain hydrated. You can also use moisturizing products with ingredients like coconut oil, cocoa butter, peptides, and hyaluronic acid.
  • Sun protection is essential to avoid long-term wrinkles and skin cancer. However, avoid using chemical-based sunscreen. You can use mineral-based sunscreen instead.
  • Vitamin C is also important to boost your immune system and enhance your skin’s health. Other antioxidants that are safe during pregnancy are vitamins E, K, B3, and green tea.

How to take good care of your skin during pregnancy

If you are still thinking what is the best way to take good care of your skin, here are the things you should do:

  • Avoid direct sunlight and use a broad-spectrum sunblock every day to prevent hyperpigmentation.
  • Apply sunblock on your skin with moisturizer and an SPF factor of at least 15 to 20.
  • Instead of using mild soap, bubble baths, and scrub on your skin daily, you can use moisturizing soaps.
  • Use clothes that are made for pregnant women, such as maternity panties.
  • Make sure to keep your body and hair clean daily.
  • Take your vitamins and calcium.
  • Eat healthy foods and avoid eating oily or junk foods that are not also healthy for your overall health.
  • Avoid intake of foods with a lot of yeast especially if you have a fungal genital infection.
  • Make sure to have adequate sleep of at least 8 hours.
  • Drink a lot of water to moisturize your skin.
  • Always consult your doctor if you are experiencing skin problems.

It is not easy to change the skincare routine you used to do before pregnancy. However, it is important to take extra care not to risk your baby’s health while protecting your skin from being damaged. So remember mommy, protect your skin while also protecting your baby.


Additional information report by Angerica Villanueva

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