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Q&A: What's The Dark Line On My Tummy?

Question: I’m in my second trimester and have this dark line running down my tummy. What’s going on?

Answer: Linea negra (or linea nigra) literally means “black line” in Latin. This line is a dark, thin, and straight verticle streak that may appear sometime in the second trimester. It runs from just above the pubic bone, through your belly button, and can go as high as your lowest rib (though for many women it stops right around the belly button). The linea negra is usually about one centimeter wide (a little less than one-half inch).

Some women may notice linea alba (a white line) surface before the darkening occurs. The line usually appears more brownish than black, but can be quite dark for some women. This darkening is as a result of the increase in a skin pigment called melanin. Darker skinned women will be more likely to have linea negra than fair skinned woman.

Generally several months after delivering your baby the line should fade and disappear (although for some women it may fade, but not disappear). If you’re feeling self conscious of this line, you’re not alone. But keep in mind in many parts of the world; this line is worn as a proud badge of motherhood!

In order to minimize the darkening, some women try the following:

  • Avoiding exposure to the sun (which may further darken it)
  • Increase folic acid intake
  • Use make-up concealer to cover it up
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