Search IconSearch

Why Your Belly Button Changes When You’re Pregnant

When a growing fetus puts pressure on your abdomen, your belly button may pop out or even flatten

Happy pregnant woman with hands around her belly, with belly button pushing out

Pregnancy can change your body in surprising ways, from swollen ankles to strange food cravings and beyond. But when you wake up one morning and realize that your “innie” belly button has become an “outie” overnight, you might be freaking out a little bit. What’s going on in there?!


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Don’t panic: It’s totally normal for your belly button to pop during pregnancy, much like your belly itself does — and it won’t stay that way forever.

But a sudden outie isn’t the only possible belly button change that pregnancy can bring. Ob/Gyn Karmon James, MD, explains what you might experience, why it happens and perhaps most importantly, when you can expect it to go away.

What are some belly button changes to expect during pregnancy?

“Everyone’s body — and every pregnancy — is different,” Dr. James says. Not everyone who’s pregnant will experience the same changes, issues and concerns, including those related to belly buttons. But here are two common possibilities:

  • An innie-turned-outie: “Sometimes, a growing fetus in the uterus puts so much pressure on your abdominal wall that your belly button becomes an outie,” Dr. James explains. This is most likely to happen in the second or third trimester of pregnancy, most commonly around 26 weeks. 
  • A flattened belly button: Maybe instead of an “outie,” it suddenly seems like you have, well, no belly button at all. The skin of your belly button can become stretched and flattened, which is also due to the pressure the fetus puts on your uterus.

Something else you might experience, regardless of what (if anything) happens to your belly button, is a dark line on your skin that extends from your belly button to your pubic area. This is called linea nigra, and like so many other things about pregnancy, it’s caused by an increase in hormones.

Does everyone’s belly button pop when pregnant?

Nope. And there’s no telling whose belly button will turn outward and whose won’t.

“It doesn’t happen to everyone who’s pregnant,” Dr. James reiterates, “and there’s no rhyme or reason to who gets a popped-out belly button.”

There’s nothing you can do to anticipate it or prevent it either, so if you’re newly pregnant and haven’t seen any changes yet, you’ll just have to wait and see. When it comes to belly buttons, as with so much of life, que sera, sera — whatever will be, will be.

When will your belly button go back to normal?

Whether your belly button pops out or flattens out during pregnancy, don’t worry about any lasting issues.

“It in no way indicates a problem,” Dr. James reassures, “and your belly button will likely return to normal after your pregnancy.” Linea nigra typically fades after you’ve given birth, too.

Does it hurt?

The belly button changes that pregnancy can bring shouldn’t come with any pain. But a stretched or flattened belly button may feel a little sore or tender, and an extended belly button can rub against your clothing, leading to irritation or itchiness.


“If your belly button becomes irritated from rubbing on your shirt or waistband, try covering it with a bandage or wearing a loose dress instead of pants,” Dr. James suggests.

It’s best not to apply any medications or topical ointments to your skin while you’re pregnant unless they’re specifically OK’d by your healthcare provider. If your belly button is bugging you, touch base to ask what they recommend.

Causes of belly button pain during pregnancy 

Don’t ignore pain. If your belly button is causing more than just irritation or soreness, you may be experiencing a tissue bulge known as an umbilical hernia. It can develop when a sac from your small intestine pushes through an opening or weakness in your abdominal wall muscle.

“If your popped-out belly button is painful or there seems to be a bulging mass alongside your belly button, it’s time to see your doctor,” Dr. James advises.


Learn more about our editorial process.

Related Articles

Smiling pregnant person speaking with healthcare provider in medical office
June 14, 2024/Heart Health
Why Your Heart Needs Special Attention When You’re Pregnant

Obesity, age and preexisting heart conditions can all raise your risk of cardiovascular disease during pregnancy

Pregnant person talking with caregiver in medical office
Will Perineal Massage Keep You From Tearing During Childbirth?

Science is mixed, but if you want to try stretching your perineum, here’s how to do it safely

Female sitting on couch looking at a pregnancy test stick, holding cell phone
This May Surprise You — But You Can Get Pregnant on Your Period

While it’s probably not your most fertile time, it is possible to get pregnant if you have unprotected sex during your period

Support people helping pregnant person giving birth
Baby Go-Time: Advice for Dads and Other Support People

Plan ahead, pack that bag, be attentive and be an advocate

Male and pregnant female looking out window pensively
Couvade Syndrome: When Partners Develop Pregnancy Symptoms

Sympathetic pregnancy is real and can cause nausea, vomiting, weight gain, fatigue and other symptoms

Pregnant woman with partner and caregiver in three possible birthing postions
Explore Your Options: Labor and Birthing Positions To Consider

Sitting, squatting and side-lying may provide a more comfortable labor and delivery

Pregnant woman sitting on couch at home holding her stomach and back, wincing in discomfort
April 25, 2024/Pregnancy & Childbirth
10 Signs Labor May Be Beginning

Everyone’s unique, and there’s no exact checklist of symptoms, but you may feel contractions, cramps and pelvic pressure

Pregnant person sitting on exam table speaking with healthcare provider
Vaccinations During Pregnancy: What You Need and What To Avoid

Staying up-to-date on vaccines encourages a healthy pregnancy, but not all vaccines are recommended when you’re pregnant

Trending Topics

Female and friend jogging outside
How To Increase Your Metabolism for Weight Loss

Focus on your body’s metabolic set point by eating healthy foods, making exercise a part of your routine and reducing stress

stovetop with stainless steel cookware and glassware
5 Ways Forever Chemicals (PFAS) May Affect Your Health

PFAS chemicals may make life easier — but they aren’t always so easy on the human body

jar of rice water and brush, with rice scattered around table
Could Rice Water Be the Secret To Healthier Hair?

While there’s little risk in trying this hair care treatment, there isn’t much science to back up the claims