A lot of changes happen to a woman’s body during pregnancy. If you have never heard about linea nigra and you’re a first time mum, chances are that you will be shocked by the dark vertical line that shows up between your belly button and pubic area. This line is what is called linea nigra.
What Causes Linea Nigra
This dark line usually shows up during the second trimester. The truth is, this line has always been there, it just gets darker because of the pregnancy hormones. The hormones, estrogen and progesterone that are being produced at a higher volume cause changes on your skin.
These changes include:
- Darkening of the areola
- Darkening of freckles and birthmarks
- Dark patches on the face, also referred to as the pregnancy mask.
The hormones estrogen and progesterone stimulate cells in your skin causing them to produce more melanin. This is the chemical that tans and darkens your skin.
What to Do About Linea Nigra
For some women who have had multiple births, the appearance of this line may not cause discomfort and may even go unnoticed. For some, however, it may cause uneasiness and discomfort. Consider the following options if your linea Nigra makes you uncomfortable:
- Mind your diet– Hyperpigmentation (addition of skin color) is a sign of folic acid deficiency. Eating foods rich in folic acid can reduce the extreme darkening of linea Nigra. These foods include dark leafy vegetable like Sukuma wiki, fruits and whole grains. Folic acid supplementation is also given during your regular clinic visits. Read more on foods to eat when pregnant here
- Dress to maximize cover- use sunscreen and wear clothes that cover you well from the sun. An excessive tan especially on sunny days darkens your skin exposing the linea Nigra all the more.
What People Believe About Linea Nigra
Some women believe that the linea nigra might be a gender predictor. Most say that:
- A longer line usually means that you could be carrying a boy
- A shorter line means that you are carrying a girl.
There is, however, no scientific proof to back this up.
It is also important to note that linea nigra doesn’t interfere with the pregnancy and signifies no risk during pregnancy.
When Will Linea Nigra Go Away?
Linea nigra usually starts fading away immediately after pregnancy. In some women however it never fades completely. If deeply concerned, consider visiting your dermatologist. Linea nigra will most likely appear again and again in subsequent pregnancies.
What’s important is to understand the kind of changes your body will go through and know the difference between what is normal and what isn’t during pregnancy.
Please note that development differs from one child to another. Content intended for educational purposes only, and not a substitute for medical advice from your doctor.
Be careful when using any products mentioned on this website. We hold no regulations for such products or their providers.
Last reviewed March 2019
Sources: whattoexpect, healthline