During pregnancy, many women notice the appearance of a dark, vertical line on their stomachs known as the linea nigra, commonly known as the ‘pregnancy line’. It begins at the navel and extends down, towards the abdomen. You may notice a darker linea nigra as your pregnancy progresses, and those of us with darker skin tones are more likely to see it.
Where does the linea nigra appear?
Usually, the linea nigra is located between the pubic bone and the top of the umbilicus (belly button), but it can go as high as the chest. Typically, its width ranges from a quarter to a half of an inch. As you ascend, you could notice a gradual brightening. It could also be a different color than what you often see in pregnant women. These differences are normal and not a cause for worry.
Around the fifth month of pregnancy, many women notice the line. There are instances when it appears as though out of nowhere. The pregnancy line tends to deepen for most women as their bellies grow.
When does the linea nigra show up?
The linea nigra, a result of increased hormone levels, becomes visible sometime after the end of the first trimester and the beginning of the second trimester. This line is present on the stomach, but in the form of a white line and is known as linea alba. During pregnancy, the linea alba transforms into the linea nigra.
Why does the linea nigra form?
The development of a black line on your stomach, during pregnancy, may result from increased melanin (the substance responsible for giving your skin pigment) production, brought on by pregnancy hormones. Linea nigra affects people of all skin tones, though it often shows up more clearly in individuals with lighter complexions.
Higher than normal levels of hormones like estrogen and melanocyte-stimulating hormones influence the cells that produce melanin, thereby affecting the visibility of the black line on your stomach.
How does one describe the linea nigra?
From the pubic bone to the umbilicus, the linea nigra narrows from 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Sometimes it goes all the way up to the bust area. It's darker than your skin tone, looking brown or even black. Your linea nigra has the same width from the top to the bottom as it does at the top. Neither your pregnancy nor your skin would be affected by this.
When does one stop seeing the linea nigra?
When your hormone levels normalize after pregnancy, so does the linea nigra. As hormone levels recover to their pre-pregnancy levels, most women will notice a gradual disappearance of the effect within the first few months after giving birth. There is some variation in timing from woman to woman.
Is there a treatment for linea nigra?
Other than giving birth, there isn't much you can (or should) do to get rid of it. Medication and lotions are often not recommended by doctors. Please check with your physician if your worries persist. Avoid doing anything that can cause your skin any discomfort.
Applying some fresh lemon juice to your skin is an all-natural alternative. that can help remove hyperpigmentation. Remember, though, that the pregnancy line will fade away after you give birth.
Can I prevent a line from appearing on my tummy if I am not pregnant?
You can't avoid the pregnancy line because it's linked to your hormone levels. However, there are measures you can take to lessen its appearance.
Put on sunscreen.
The Ultraviolet (UV) rays present in sunlight amplify color alterations. Even on cloudy days, it's essential to apply and reapply a broad-spectrum sunscreen (one that blocks both UVA and UVB rays) with an SPF of at least 30. This holds true regardless of the shade of your skin.
Inflammation of the skin caused by waxing can exacerbate melasma, especially in areas of the body where pigmentation changes are prevalent.
If you suffer from skin allergies, it's recommended that you use hypoallergenic skin care products. Inflammatory skin care products, such as soaps and moisturizers, may exacerbate melasma.