What causes the dark line on my stomach during pregnancy?

The dark line running down your stomach is caused by increased melanin due to higher hormone levels during pregnancy. The dark line is called “lines nigra.”

The line generally appears around the beginning of the second trimester as your hormone levels increase. The color may darker throughout your pregnancy. Ethnic groups with darker skin types or exposure to sunlight increase the chances that you will develop hyper-pigmentaion related conditions such as linea nigra or melasma. There is no way to prevent it but you can reduce the amount of pigment by applying sunscreen daily, consuming folic acid, and taking your prenatal vitamins. Generally, the line will begin to fade as your hormones go down after the baby is born. It won’t happen overnight so be patient. It could take up to a year to completely fade. You can also consult with your physician for treatment options to lighten the pigmentation.

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