Linea Nigra: The Black Line on the Stomach

During pregnancy, a woman's body goes through numerous changes to accommodate the growing baby. One of these changes is the appearance of a dark line on the abdomen, known as the linea nigra. But what exactly is linea nigra and how does it form?

What is Linea Nigra?

Linea nigra, which translates to "black line" in Latin, is a vertical line that appears on the abdomen of many pregnant women. It typically runs from the pubic bone to the navel, although its length and darkness can vary from person to person.

What Causes Linea Nigra?

The exact cause of linea nigra is not fully understood, but it is believed to be related to hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. Specifically, the increased production of melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) is thought to contribute to the darkening of the skin.

MSH is produced by the placenta and stimulates the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for the color of our skin, hair, and eyes. As the level of MSH rises, it can lead to an increase in melanin production in certain areas of the body, including the abdomen.

When Does Linea Nigra Appear?

Linea nigra typically becomes noticeable around the second trimester of pregnancy, although some women may develop it earlier or later. The line may start as a faint, light-colored mark and gradually darken over time.

Is Linea Nigra Permanent?

Linea nigra is usually temporary and tends to fade on its own after childbirth. However, the timeline for its disappearance can vary. For some women, the line may fade within a few months, while for others, it may take up to a year or more.

Can Linea Nigra be Prevented or Treated?

Since linea nigra is a natural occurrence during pregnancy, there is no surefire way to prevent its formation. Similarly, there are no specific treatments to make it disappear faster. However, maintaining a healthy skincare routine and protecting the skin from excessive sun exposure may help minimize its appearance.


Linea nigra is a common phenomenon that many pregnant women experience. While its exact cause is not fully understood, hormonal changes during pregnancy are believed to play a role. Although linea nigra may be a temporary change in the skin, it is a natural part of the pregnancy journey and usually fades over time.

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