Linea Nigra (or linea negra): If you’re over half way along in your pregnancy, you might start to notice a dark line that runs down your abdomen, between your belly button and your pubic area.
If you had a pale line before you were pregnant, it would be called a linea alba (white line).
During pregnancy, the line darkens, earning it the name of linea nigra (or negra) which literally means ’black line’. The line is never truly black, but it can get quite dark on some women.
For me personally, I started to see it at 2 months in my pregnancy.
The line, which is usually between 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide, stretches vertically from your navel (umbilicus) to the beginning of your pubic bone (pubis). For some women it runs higher than their belly button, toward their rib cage.
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Is Linea nigra completely normal during pregnancy?
Although its true purpose is unknown, we believe the line is caused by an increased production of the pigment melanin during your pregnancy.
This might be caused by the placenta and the needs of your baby.
The line is more commonly found in women who have darker skin pigmentation because the skin darkening is caused by melanin. But no one knows exactly why it happens.
Once again I say, blame it on your pregnancy hormones ladies!
Will It Go Away?
For some women, linea nigra may not go away after pregnancy.
For some, it will lighten dramatically or disappear completely. There is no way to tell ahead of time what will happen for you.
Each of us is different, and our bodies react differently to pregnancy.
Don’t worry if your linea nigra is dark – or if it’s non-existent. Your body will undergo a million more changes before giving birth, so try not to worry about the line right now.
It’s a small (probably temporary) sacrifice to grow a baby in your womb!
Again, this “pregnancy line” is completely normal.
Is This Dangerous?
Some women are bothered by it during pregnancy.
There is absolutely no danger to you, or your baby, from this (or lack of one). There are some things you can try if you want to reduce the color or size of the line.
Some doctors believe the linea nigra might be related to your folic acid intake or insulin levels. Although this has not been proven, some women increase their intake of folic acid to try to reduce the formation of linea nigra.
Prenatal vitamins have more than enough folic acid to meet most women’s needs, so check with your doctor before adding more. You can also eat foods rich in folic acid, such as spinach and leafy greens.
Don’t worry if you are eating a healthy diet, and you still get linea nigra – it’s a normal part of pregnancy.
Can I Cover This Up?
If you’re trying to limit the formation of a linea nigra, be sure to use sunscreen or keep your belly covered when you’re in direct sun. Just like suntan can darken skin freckles, sun rays can darken linea nigra.
Some women prefer not to use sunscreen while they are pregnant, so covering up while at the beach might be a good option for you.
If your linea nigra really bothers you (although personally I think they look awesome on pregnant women), you can always try to cover it some with makeup.
Some women find foundation and powder can decrease the appearance of a line.
Remember a dark line running up and down, from your rib cage to your pubic bone (or part of the way), is normal for pregnancy. It will get lighter, or possibly go away completely, after you give birth and your hormones return to pre-birth levels.
If you’re worrying about your linea nigra, try focusing on all the exciting things you need to get ready before the baby arrives…. soon!