During nine glorious months of pregnancy, you'll likely notice a lot of emotional and physical changes. Some are to be expected— an expanded belly, swollen feet, hormonal fluctuations, and that special "glow" everyone talks about (it's sweat) — while others aren't openly discussed with as much frequency. You know, things like the excessive body hair, acne, and even melanin discolorations to your belly itself. So, what's that line in the middle of your stomach, anyway? Perhaps even more importantly, will it go away after pregnancy?
Parents defines that dark line as the Linea Nigra, and claim it's a common development during pregnancy. They magazined went on to add that there's a theory stating your hormones might have caused an excess of melanin (you know, the stuff that gives pigment to the skin), and pregnancy is when it's most evident due to all the necessary stretching your skin does. If you want to minimize how dark that line gets, Parents suggest keeping your belly covered as often as possible — specifically when you're out in the sun or near artificial light. Pregnancy Related takes it one step further, though, and says the use of certain gels, cocoa butters, and oils may aid in how dark the line appears. Though this isn't a definitive measure to combat the discoloration, the aforementioned products will certainly keep your skin looking healthy, regardless.
If you don't see the Linea Nigra just yet, the American Pregnancy Association (APA) says not to panic; that line becomes more noticeable around the 5th month of pregnancy. It's a normal part of the pregnancy process, but a lot of women may feel insecure about it's presence once it's visible. The same hormones that create this line,also contribute to the darkening of other sensitive areas, like the dark skin surrounding the nipples.
The Bump adds that the discoloration can also affect the skin around the belly button and vagina — yikes! — but should disappear sometime between six and 12 months postpartum. However, if you're breastfeeding, your hormones may try to hold onto that line a little longer than non-breastfeeding moms, though the reason isn't known. Pregnancy truly is a mystery!
While that dark line might be annoying, it's nothing to worry about and will go eventually. And, unfortunately, aside from all those potions and creams to combat dryness and keep your maternal glow on point, there isn't much else you can do to keep the line at bay. Pregnancy is temporary, though, and one day soon your baby will be in the world and the line will be nothing but a distant memory.