Are you in your second or third trimester and admiring your big and round baby bump? Then you must have also noticed a long strip of dark vertical line appears, which starts from the belly button till your lower abdomen. This is known as the Linea Nigra. It is totally harmless and extremely common for pregnant women (especially those with darker skin) to face this phenomenon. Do you know around 75% of expecting mothers experience this? Also, it will generally vanish after giving birth. In this article, you can learn more about Linea Nigra, why it occurs during pregnancy, and the steps we can undertake to reduce the visibility of it during pregnancy.
What Is Linea Nigra?
Linea Nigra is a dark and vertical line (usually about a quarter to half an inch wide and about 6 to 12 mm long) that starts from your belly button reaching the pubic bone. The pregnancy line usually appears around the 5th month of pregnancy (sometimes it appears in advance as well).
This line is always present on your belly even before pregnancy, but just that it is very light-colored and not visible to us. For some women, the line also extends further above the belly button. The line, in general, is called ‘Linea Alba, ’ which means “white line” in Latin and hence not visible at that stage. During pregnancy, this lineturns dark. It is termed as Linea Nigra, which translates to ‘black line’ in Latin although the line is not very black and is dark brown.
What Causes Linea Nigra And When Does It Appear?
As we already explained, this line will be present in your belly before pregnancy. This line marks the point where the right and left abdomen muscle meets. This point starts to stretch to hold the growing womb. This makes this line prominent. Simultaneously, the expecting mother’s body secretes prenancy hormones, which result in stimulating cells in their skin called melanocytes. These cells release pigments known as melanin. Melanin is the pigment that gives our hair its black color. Due to the production of melanin, the skin turns dark, which also results in the darkening of the Linea Alba, which makes the Linea Nigra prominent.
Linea Nigra And The Old Wives’ Tale
There is an old wives’ tale that is believed around most parts of the world, which states that one can predict the gender of the baby through the Linea Nigra. The method in which this is predicted is;
- It is a boy baby if your Linea Nigra begins from the bottom of your ribs until your pubic bone.
- Only women who are conceiving a boy develop pregnancy line
- It is a girl baby if your Linea Nigra begins from your belly button until your pubic bone.
However, there is no scientific proof of this, although 50% of pregnant women claim this to be true.
Can Linea Nigra Be Prevented?
The Linea Nigra is a very common and natural occurrence and not a medical condition that you need to worry about. And so, there is absolutely no way that you can treat it or prevent it. However, if this line makes you conscious, then there are some home remedies you can follow to minimize the visibility of the line.
- When you are pregnant, it is best to stay away from direct sunlight, as this can lead to discoloration of the skin. Make sure to wear dresses that protect your belly from the sun and also carry an umbrella if you are stepping out during peak sun time.
- While wearing clothes that reveal your belly and Linea Nigra, you can very well use concealer and compact powders on the area to tone down the visibility of the Linea Nigra.
- Applying lemon juice on the line helps in the fading of the hyperpigmentation as it has a bleaching effect on the skin.
- Including a lot of leafy vegetables, oranges, whole wheat bread, and natural folic acid present in food along with the prescribed prenatal supplements can aid in preventing much of skin discoloration.
It is always better to avoid usage of any harsh cosmetic products and bleaching creams during pregnancy. The chemicals in these sort of products are not safe for the baby in womb.
How To Get Rid Of Linea Nigra Post Pregnancy?
If you notice that your Linea Nigra is still visible after delivery of your baby, try some of these home remedies to get rid of it.
- Application of unrefined cocoa butter on the abdomen area
- Application of vitamin E gel on the abdomen which will lighten the skin tone
- Rubbing of massage oils and creams
- Lightening of the skin using nutgrass extract
- Blending of honey, raw sugar, and lemon applied on the abdomen for 10 to 15 minutes and washed off can help reduce the visibility of the line. This can be done a few times every week until the line completely disappears.
Can You Get Linea Nigra If You Are Not Pregnant?
As mentioned earlier, the line is always present in our abdomen. The only difference is that it is usually white in color and not visible when you are not pregnant. But for some women, it is visible even if they are not pregnant and here is why;
- Hyper-pigmentation due to hormonal changes
- Some women face a somatic disorder in which she faces symptoms of pregnancy but is not actually pregnant. Women with such conditions have Linea Nigra due to the hormonal change.
A dark line running through the abdomen is not an appealing site, However, it is perfectly normal and common and will disappear after delivery. So, go ahead and enjoy your beautiful body and belly, which is creating a life inside of you!