Have you noticed a dark line across your belly during pregnancy? That’s what you call linea nigra or pregnancy line, which usually develops around the fifth month and is commonly found from your umbilicus to your pubic bone. This line grows darker as you approach your ninth month and may stay even after giving birth. Don’t worry though as this condition is common among expecting mums.
Here are some things to know about linea nigra:
There is no one specific cause of it
Though there is no specific cause, one of the most common explanations is that linea nigra is due to hormonal imbalance during pregnancy, which may also affect your skin and other parts of your body. Oestrogen and progesterone may be inducing the production of more melanocytes in your skin. Melanocytes, in turn, produce melanin. The more melanin you have, the darker your skin is, causing pigments such as linea nigra. Another manifestation of this is having darker nipples.
It is neither preventable nor dangerous
Unfortunately, linea nigra cannot be avoided as it is a normal reaction of your body to pregnancy. You don’t have to panic though as it is not dangerous for you and your baby and you won’t need any medical treatment.
It goes away on its own
The good news is that for some women, linea nigra disappears after giving birth while others will have to wait a little longer. If you want to get rid of it right away, consult with your dermatologist on the products you can use to make the process faster. Note that it may also reappear when you get pregnant again.
You can make it less visible
While you can’t avoid it, you can surely make it less pronounced especially if you’re conscious about how it looks. Some things you can do:
- Cover your tummy. Protect your tummy from the sun and use sunscreen to avoid discolouration.
- Maintain a healthy diet. A diet rich in folic acid may help prevent hyperpigmentation. Eat lots of fruits and leafy vegetables.
- Use cosmetics to cover it up. If you’re really bothered by how it looks, you may try to use cosmetic powder to help you conceal it. Just be reminded to avoid using bleaching creams during pregnancy.
There’s no evidence that it can predict your baby’s gender
One pregnancy myth is that linea nigra can help tell your baby’s gender. Some believe that if the line extends from the navel to the pubic bone, then your baby is a girl. If it starts from your navel going to your head, then it is a boy. This is not proven at all and should not be your basis for a gender reveal party!