Pregnant or trying to conceive?
At some point, you’ll probably hear about the linea alba.
But what is it?
And how does it change when you’re expecting?
Let’s dive in.
In this article: 📝
- What is the linea alba?
- What causes linea alba?
- Can you feel the linea alba?
- Does everyone get a line when pregnant?
- What does a line on your stomach indicate during pregnancy?
- How long does linea alba last?
- Does linea alba go away after pregnancy?
- The bottom line on the white line
What is the linea alba?
The linea alba is a band of connective tissue that runs down your abdomen.
It starts just below your sternum and finishes at the top of your pubic bone.
Its job is to anchor your abdominal muscles.
That includes keeping the muscles on the left of your “six-pack” separate from those on the right.
It’s mostly made up of collagen, which is white.
And that gives it its name: linea alba is Latin for “white line.”
So why are people interested in the linea alba in pregnancy?
We’ll take you through it.
What causes linea alba?
Most people don’t usually notice their linea alba.
Pregnancy, though, can make a previously unnoticeable line darker and more visible.
In this case, it’s known as “linea nigra.”
Nobody knows for sure what causes this darkening.
Some scientists think it’s the result of higher estrogen levels causing your body to produce more melanin.
Melanin is the stuff that produces color in your skin, eyes and hair.
So more melanin could mean a darker line.
Can you feel the linea alba?
Sometimes, you can feel the groove between your abdominal muscles, particularly if you have a well-developed six-pack.
This groove is where your linea alba is.
You may also be able to feel it when you do a situp.
Place your hand on the skin between your abs, and the flesh should be firm.
That’s your linea alba doing its job of keeping the muscles in place.
Does everyone get a line when pregnant?
Up to 90 percent of women experience some form of skin darkening, known as hyperpigmentation, during pregnancy.
But not everyone gets a line on their tum.
And when it does appear, it looks different from person to person.
It’s usually visible between the belly button and the top of the pubic bone.
But for some people, it can go higher, to just below the sternum.
The color varies too, from barely there to very dark.
It’s generally more noticeable in people with darker complexions.
What does a line on your stomach indicate during pregnancy?
Linea nigra is simply a sign of the changing hormone levels in your body.
It’s completely normal, and it isn’t anything to worry about.
You might also find you get other lines, called stretch marks, as your tummy grows.
They too are a harmless sign of the changes your body is going through.
But if you don’t like them, there are treatments you can try to make them less visible.
How long does linea alba last?
Your linea alba generally starts to darken — to become the linea nigra — during the second trimester, around week 20 of pregnancy.
In most cases, the line will gradually disappear after you’ve given birth and your hormone levels drop.
That can take anything from a few weeks to a few months.
Does linea alba go away after pregnancy?
Wondering how to treat linea alba when it becomes the linea nigra?
In most cases, it will simply fade after the birth of your baby.
For some people, though, the line may stick around.
Try not to sweat it if it does.
Think of it as a reminder that your body has brought a whole new life into the world.
In our book, that makes it a badge of honor.
The bottom line on the white line
A linea alba that gets darker when you’re pregnant is a completely normal experience.
Like your baby bump, it’s another sign of the amazing changes your body is going through.
So love your line, mama!
It’s a sign that your body is doing something incredible.