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Q&A: What's that dark line on my belly?

Why did I get the linea nigra, and when will it go away?

Re: Why did I get the linea nigra, and when will it go away?

The Bump Expert

That new dark line that goes from your pubic bone up toward your boobs is called the linea nigra and is yet another wonderful outcome of those raging hormones (this one being an increase in the skin-darkening melanin). While it may not be the most welcome physical change, it will go away (phew!), so don't worry, mama. Dark lines may also appear around your belly button, areolas and vagina, too, but they should all disappear between nine and 12 months postpartum. Note to breastfeeding moms: You'll probably be on the later end of that spectrum. (No one really knows why this is, but it tends to be blamed on hormones.)

Sorry, mama, but the linea nigra isn't the only skin change you're going to have to deal with over the next nine months (and quite possibly, beyond). Some other pretty common skin changes include spider veins, pregnancy mask, skin tags, stretch marks and pimples galore (stick to your cleansing routine, but avoid acne meds that could contain harmful chemicals). But it's not all gloom and doom -- some mommies-to-be actually glow (though don't get jealous yet -- it's not always as pleasant as it sounds and can involve super oily skin). Keep up your exercise routine, slather on lotions enriched with vitamin E, walk as much as possible and get enough vitamin C to keep your veins healthy (and non-spidery) to keep your skin glowing the right way.

David E. Zepeda, MD, OB/GYN at The Women's Specialists of Houston affiliated with Texas Children's Hospital Pavilion for Women and clinical associate professor, Baylor College of Medicine