Pregnancy brings lots of changes to our bodies. Some of it is unexpected- like that growing bump and bigger breasts. But some will catch you by surprise – like the appearance of that vertical black line running from your pubic bone to your belly button.
That vertical line is called Linea Nigra. But why does it appear? What does it mean? And most importantly, when does line nigra appear? Well, this article aims to answer all your questions, so read on to find out!
What is Linea Nigra?
Linea Nigra is a Latin term for black line, and as mentioned above, it pertains to that black vertical line that starts from the pubic bone and ends below the belly button of a pregnant woman. At times, the line even extends from the belly button up to the diaphragm.
What Causes It?
The truth is, that line has been there all along. Before you got pregnant, you already have the connective tissue where your abdominal muscles and meet. At that time, it is still called the linea alba (Latin term for white line).
When you get pregnant, the linea alba starts to darken in color, earning it the term linea nigra. The change in tone comes from an increase in the production of hormones- progesterone and estrogen – during pregnancy. These hormones are needed for the development of your baby.
The surge in these hormones’ levels stimulates the melanocytes in the skin, leading them to produce more melanin. Melanin is the pigment that makes the skin look darker than before. This pigment is also the main reason why you develop darker patches all over your skin during pregnancy.
Will All Pregnant Women Have It?
Although linea nigra is considered a pregnancy trademark, you will be surprised to know that not all pregnant women may have it. This is most especially true for women who have fair and pale skin. Expect the line to be more evident and apparent in women with naturally darker skin.
But does this mean that there is something wrong with you? Of course, not! Keep in mind that this black line is not a sign or an indication of a normal healthy pregnancy. The absence of the line is just about how your skin responded to the higher levels of hormones in your body – not about your health.
Is It Dangerous?
Seeing a black vertical line suddenly appear in your tummy may be disconcerting, but it is perfectly normal and completely harmless. Dr. Michelle Tollefson, an assistant professor at Metropolitan State College of Denver, claims that the change is just cosmetic and nothing to worry about.
When does Linea Nigra Appear? And When Will It Go Away?
You will start seeing a brown line running down your belly button to your pubic bone during your second trimester, most probably on your 23rd week.
But will it go away? Or will it stay there forever? Good news, pregnant women! In general, this black line resolves a few months after you give birth to your little one. However, it may never completely disappear, or the brown color will only fade in some women.
When you get pregnant again, you can expect to see this line appear again. If the line did not fade or go away a year after you have given birth and you are a bit worried about it, it is recommended that you consult a dermatologist to determine what are the safe ways that you can deal with it.
What Should You Do About It?
Since linea nigra is a result of hormonal imbalance (which is quite expected during pregnancy), there is nothing much that you can do about it. But if you want to prevent it from making the line even darker, Health Line recommends that you wear sunscreen and, as much as possible, avoid too much sun exposure.
If you wish to wear bikinis or sarees to the beach, the best thing that you can do is to lighten or conceal it. However, you should avoid using bleaching creams as those contain hydroquinone, which can be harmful to your baby. Instead, you should opt for the following lightening and concealing techniques:
Use Unrefined Cocoa Butter
When you are pregnant, the best thing you can do is stick to organic treatments like using unrefined cocoa butter. This item has been proven effective in lightening linea nigra and addressing stretch marks. It is also perfectly safe for use during pregnancy.
Use Vitamin E Gel Caps
Vitamin E is known for its amazing skin health benefits, and that includes skin lightening! To use this, punch a small hole into the gel caps and squeeze it to get the gel extract. Apply the extract to the belly to lighten the black line.
Conceal It with Makeup
If you will be attending a party and plan to show off your tummy and baby bump, your best option is to cover it using makeup. It will do a great job hiding it even for just a few hours.
Linea nigra – is one of the changes that you will encounter during your pregnancy that you will never expect. It comes from a hormonal imbalance that leads to the production of more melanin in the skin, making your linea alba look darker.
But when does linea nigra appear? You can expect to see this brown to black line appear any time during your second trimester, probably in your 23rd week of pregnancy. And you can expect the line to go away on its own a few months after you have delivered your baby.
Do you have any more questions about this mysterious black line? Or maybe you have more information to tell us? If so, the comments section is wide open for you! You can share your thoughts there!