What is The Linea Nigra?
Linea Nigra is the blackish line seen on the abdomen in pregnant ladies. It runs vertically in the mid-line from the pubic bone to the umbilicus. It is brownish in color and almost one centimeter thick. This line was present on the abdomen pre-pregnancy and is called linea alba (latin for white line). The line merges with the skin so well that you never seem to notice it. During pregnancy, the placenta secretes a hormone called MSH – Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone. Due to the effect of this hormone, this line darkens and becomes noticeable between the pubic bone and the umbilicus. This darkened line is called linea nigra (latin for black line). This MSH hormone is also responsible for darkening of skin during pregnancy and other skin changes occurring in your body.
When does Linea Nigra Appear?
The appearance on linea nigra is linked to the presence of pregnancy hormones in the blood. The line begins to darken from the start of the pregnancy and is most prominently seen around week 23 of pregnancy. It gets darker with the passing weeks. But there is no need to worry as it fades away gradually after pregnancy and does not stay forever. Among the other early signs of pregnancy, linea nigra is one of them.
Linea nigra baby gender is a commonly searched query by pregnant mothers. There is an old wives tale related to this. It was said in earlier days that if the linea negra was present between the pubic bone and umbilicus, the sex of the fetus was female. And if you were having a boy, the line would extend from the pubic bone upto the ribs. This is however just a tale based on peoples observations and has no scientific or proven background.
Skin Changes During Pregnancy
Due to the hormonal changes in pregnancy, there are many changes you will notice in your skin like:
- Chloasma: They are commonly identified as the brown spots on face during pregnancy. The other name for it is the mask of pregnancy. The typical distribution is a butterfly shaped patch which is present over both the cheeks and over the ridge of the nose. It is seen most prominently in the second trimester of pregnancy and fades away after delivery. In a small percentage of ladies, it does not go away completely even after delivery.
- Breast Changes: The breasts enlarge during pregnancy and stretch marks develop over them due to the stretching of the skin. The nipple and areola become darker in color and there are small tubercles forming around the areola which are called as Montgomery tubercles. The darkening of the nipple and areola is nature’s way of making them visible to the new born when he feeds at the breast.
- Moles and Warts: There is an increased pigmentation in pregnancy. This is seen in the form of darkening of the moles, warts and even scars all over the body. This darkening reduces and the skin goes back to normal post pregnancy. Some ladies also experience darkening of skin during pregnancy. All skin changes are seen more prominently in dark skinned women as compared to fairer ones. The only positive side of all these changes are that they are temporary and will fade away once your baby is born.
Skin Care During Pregnancy
Linea nigra is a normal skin change during pregnancy and it is seen more in dark skinned women than in fairer ones. There is nothing that you can do to avoid getting it. However you can follow these tips to help you manage your skin better during pregnancy
- Moisturizer: During pregnancy, the skin becomes dry and it stretches a lot leading to itching. Use a mild moisturizer to ease out the itching. Coconut oil is also very effective in such cases.
- Sun block: When going out, make sure you are adequately covered. Apply a sunscreen lotion with SPF 15 to prevent further darkening of the skin due to the sun.
- Diet: A good skin is a reflection of a balanced pregnancy diet. Discolorations in the skin are known to have some link with folic acid. So make sure you have a diet rich in folic acid by taking adequate green leafy vegetables. Along with diet, take a folic acid supplement from the day you come to know you are pregnant. It a very vital nutrient in the first three months of pregnancy as it reduces the rates of neural tube defects in the baby.