March 27, 2024/Pregnancy & Childbirth

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?!


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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.

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