Linea Nigra When Not Pregnant: Do You Need To Be Worried?

Being pregnant is an amazing experience for any woman. A successful confirmation of pregnancy normally marks the start of the long journey towards bringing a new life into this world. In as much as the pregnancy journey may take you through a rollercoaster of different emotions and weird body changes, it ends up with you having an amazing, cute looking bundle of joy.

Among the common body changes during pregnancy is the development of a dark line on the enlarging belly of most women. This dark line usually appears sometime in the course of the second or during the third trimester.

When pregnant, this body change is a normal one. What is appalling is its appearance when you are not pregnant. It is alright to be expecting it during pregnancy, but what about when not pregnant? You might be caught off guard when you find yourself experiencing Linea Nigra when not pregnant.

Why does this condition appear in the first place? And can you get rid of it? I will answer all these in today’s article.

What Is Linea Nigra And How Does It Look Like?

This common pregnancy sign is a Latin term that translates to “the black line.” A brownish line that runs from your pubic area up to the bellybutton, or even higher normally characterizes this Linea Nigra condition.

Before pregnancy, it is probably also there, although white in color, and goes unnoticed. During pregnancy, it darkens and becomes more visible. Because it is brownish, it may not standout that much, more so if you have a darker complexion.

This line is mostly about 0.25 to 0.5 inches wide and runs vertically along your belly from the umbilicus to the pubis. It makes an appearance during the second or third trimester hence becoming a sign of pregnancy.

However, when not pregnant, this line still appears and becomes more of a nuisance than a welcome relief. Women who are not pregnant find it understandably inconveniencing as it prevents you from rocking that lovely crop top or a bikini when going sea-side for some fun.

What Causes The Linea Nigra?

This brown vertical line is caused when the fascial covering of our muscles found in the abdominal muscles fuse together. The result is a kind of line that separates the right and left abdominal muscles. At this stage, the line is known as linea alba (white line). It may or may not be visible to some women, but it still exists.

As the right and left abdominal muscles stretch, they tend to separate a little to accommodate the growing abdomen and this causes the formation of the linea alba. This line differs in prominence for different women, marking the midpoint of the two groups of muscles.

Just as any other body and skin changes occurring during pregnancy, the linea alba is darkened due to hormonal changes. The major contributing hormone is that which stimulates the melanocyte. The placenta produces this stimulating hormone and is responsible for the darkening of the nipples during pregnancy.

During pregnancy, the pink vascularized muscles are replaced by fascia (connective tissues) underneath the skin. And because of some reasons, this part of the body (skin) has a high saturation of the melanocytes.

The line, therefore, shows up when stimulated by this hormone. Another contributing factor to the susceptibility of the area where this line appears is the thinner layer of the subcutaneous fat layer, than the rest of the belly region.

Ordinarily, the linea alba runs the length from the xiphoid process (below the rib cage midline) to the pubic symphysis. On most occasions, it is the length below the umbilicus (bellybutton) that is most visible. But for some people, it is visible all the way to the xiphoid.

What Makes It Form When Not Pregnant?

All the above reasons explain the formation of the linea Nigra when you are pregnant. How about when not pregnant, because it does? The linea alba is always in existence, but what turns it to linea Nigra when not pregnant?

1. Increase In Hormones

Besides the melanocyte hormones that are produced by the placenta, there are other externally induced hormones that cause the appearance of the linea Nigra in women. There are certain birth control pills that contain estrogen hormones which enter your system upon the ingestion of these pills.

The increase in the level of this hormone in the body works in the same way as melanocyte and stimulates the browning of the linea alba.

2. Addison’s Disease

The Addison’s disease causes the insufficiency of adrenaline in the body. When this happens, the amount of melanin in the body increases in the body. This leads to the formation of linea Nigra when you are not pregnant. It also the lead cause of dark spots that appear all over some women’s body.

If you have some suspicion that you may be having this condition, you need to visit your doctor as soon as possible. A proper guidance and medical supervision can then be carried out.

3. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

This condition is another contributor to estrogen dominance in the body. Browning of the linea Nigra becomes more escalated hence making it more apparent. If you are not pregnant and yet you have linea Nigra with no apparent cause, then you really need to have your hormones checked for PCOS.

4. Sun Exposure

This occurrence is mainly in those who frequently sunbath or have their bellies exposed to the scorching sun. They have a higher chance of experiencing a prominent linea Nigra.

Should You Worry?

Showing signs of pregnancy while in reality you are not can be worrying a lot. However, in this case, you should not. It is possible to have linea Nigra when not pregnant. The occurrence is caused by a simple coloration of a few belly muscles and nothing harmful.

Besides the unsightly coloration and the inconveniences that come with it, it should be nothing worth losing sleep over. The resultant melanin does you no harm, only if the cause is either Addison’s disease or PCOS.

When you suspect either or both, a simple trip to the doctor should be your next line of action. You can then start working on ways of remedying the conditions.

Possible Remedies

If you want to minimize the darkening, here are some possible remedies.

1. Minimize Exposure To Sunlight

We had earlier established that this is one of the causes of the browning of the linea alba. To reduce it, cover up your belly when going into the sun, or you can avoid the sun altogether.

2. Use Unprocessed Cocoa Butter

Cocoa butter is thought to provide a remedy for the dark line on your belly. Simply apply it on your skin on a daily basis.

3. Increase Folic Acid Consumption

Foods rich in folic acid help reduce the coloration of the pregnancy line. Leafy and green vegetables provide a good source of folic acid. It should not be only folic acid that you take in plenty. Ensure that you eat healthy foods too all the time.

4. Vitamin E

Vitamin E gel when applied to the skin provides the rejuvenation the skin needs. By applying the gel on your belly skin on a daily basis, the skin lightens after a while.


Linea Nigra when Not Pregnant is a condition that should not worry you much. It only means that the hormones in your body are stimulated to show up along the middle of the right and left of your abdomen. The melanin turns the already existing line darker, hence the visibility.

There are certain remedies, although with no scientific proof that helps reduce the coloration a little. Otherwise, it should naturally disappear after a while.

Kristi Cathey

Hi everyone! My name is Kristi Cathey and I’m glad you found your way to my blog. I am a mother of 3 beautiful angels. This blog was created in order to share my personal experiences in baby care and general health care for pregnant women. If you'd like to get in touch with me, please contact me by sending me an email via Welcome to

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