Linea Nigra During Pregnancy – Causes And Solution
Around the middle of your pregnancy, you may notice another unusual change: a dark line running down the front of your abdomen. This Pregnancy Line is more official called Linea Nigra.
And it’s nothing to worry about! It is one of the many symptoms of pregnancy.
What causes Linea Nigra?
The condition is the darkening of your linea alba, the “white line” of skin you’d probably never noticed that runs between your belly button and your pelvis.
Your skin, like the rest of your body, goes through some changes during pregnancy. It stretches to accommodate your growing belly and breasts, and its normal if it changes color.
These color changes happen because of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which your body produces in larger amounts to help your baby develop.
Most pregnant women even notice darker patches of skin on their face and that’s pretty normal. Darkening of skin on the face, also known as chloasma, “the mask of pregnancy.”
The pregnancy line is never really black, however it is brownish and darker in color. It I is usually about ¼ to ½ inch wide and stretches vertically down your belly from the pubis to the umbilicus.
This line marks the point where your right and left abdominal muscles meet in the middle. The separation of these muscles, to accommodate your growing uterus is often accompanied by the presence of the linea nigra.
The pregnancy line or linea nigra usually grows darker as your pregnancy develops. Although it can show earlier, this pregnancy line typically shows up around the 5th month of pregnancy.
Estrogen and progesterone stimulate cells called melanocytes in your skin, causing them to produce more melanin, the pigment that tans and darkens your skin. Increased melanin production is what makes your skin change color during pregnancy.
However, it may disappear slower if you are breastfeeding or spending a lot of time in the sun. It may also take longer if you have darker skin, as darker-skinned people are more susceptible to hyperpigmentation because of their additional melanin.
While the linea nigra may be disconcerting, it’s perfectly harmless. The pregnancy line is a natural part of pregnancy.
Myths to discard
Rumor has it that this dark line on your belly could help you predict the gender of your baby. One old wives’ tale is that only women who bear boys have this line. Another, more familiar, wives’ tale is that if the line ends at your belly button, then you’re having a girl, but if the line continues up to the bottom of your rib cage, then you’re having a boy.
But remember, these are just myths and may not even be true or just partially considerable. Do not rely on them in any condition.
What can you do about it?
Linea nigra isn’t harmful to you or your baby and therefore, you don’t need any medical treatment.
Soon after your baby is born, the linea nigra should start to fade. In some women, though, it may never completely disappear.
Don’t use a bleaching cream during your pregnancy or while you’re breastfeeding, because it can be harmful to your baby.
Sun exposure can make the line even darker. Avoid going to beaches without covering your belly and always remember to apply sunscreen.
Folic acid deficiency can be related to hyperpigmentation, so make sure you’re eating a healthy pregnancy diet with plenty of folate from green leafy vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and be sure to take your prenatal vitamin.
In case, you need to have your belly without covering it and don’t want the line to be seen (say in your maternity shoot), you can powder the area to cover up the linea nigra for a few hours.
The linea nigra is a natural pregnancy phenomenon which is purely cosmetic and nothing to worry over. You will probably start noticing this dark line around your second trimester. For now, embrace this natural pregnancy occurrence and enjoy your changing body as you sustain another life.
Also read: Heightened sense of smell during pregnancy