We all know that pregnancy comes with some major body changes especially when it comes to our skin. From hair growth in new places, to increased breakouts, to possibly even hemorrhoids, some of these changes are expected while others may come as a total shock, leaving even the most well-read mom-to-be wondering “is this normal?!” Perhaps one of the more unforeseen changes is the dark line that forms down the center of you bump, otherwise known as linea nigra.
What is Linea Nigra?
Linea nigra - or “black line” in Latin - is the term used to reference the line that runs down the center of your pregnant belly to your pubic area that may appear and darken during pregnancy. This classic line may show up differently from woman to woman; however, is completely normal and harmless to both the mother and the baby. Some expectant mothers will not notice a change at all while others can see varying degrees of darkness, length, and size. Although the linea nigra can show up at any time throughout your pregnancy, it most commonly begins to show itself during the second or third trimester.
What Causes Linea Nigra?
As mentioned earlier, pregnancy can present many changes to one’s skin. It is believed that melanocytes – the cells that create skin pigment – are given a boost from increased levels of estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy leading to a surge in pigmentation on various areas of the body. And although there is no known biological purpose for this signature line, there is not much one can do to stop it from making itself present pregnancy.
Is It Permanent?
Like many of the physical changes that occur while pregnant, the linea nigra should fade over time after delivery and in most cases, return to a pre-pregnancy state. It may take weeks, months, or in some cases a year or more but most often, the line will gradually fade at its own time. Your obstetrician can make recommendations about how to help fade that reminder of your pregnancy journey, seeking the aid of a professional dermatologist may be your best solution.
Questions about your pregnancy? Contact North Atlanta Ob/Gyn today to scedule your appointment with one of our board-certified, fellowship trained physicians.