The linea nigra is a dark, vertical line that appears on the abdomen. Also called the pregnancy line, it occurs in most pregnancies, but is more noticeable in women with dark skin or hair. The dark line occurs due to high levels of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy, which can make some areas of the skin appear darker. After pregnancy, the line on the stomach will usually fade in a few weeks. I remember that when I was pregnant for the first time it was a subject that interested me a lot and I documented myself very well on this subject and I also followed its evolution weekly. On my second pregnancy I must admit, I didn't even notice the linea nigra (not that I would have had time anyway :) ) So I thought it would be great to write an article on this subject that would be useful for expectant mothers.
What is the linea nigra?
The linea nigra is a dark, vertical line on the abdomen that appears during pregnancy. It is the Latin correspondent for the "black line", the black line usually extends from the navel to the pubic area. In some women it extends upwards from the navel. Most pregnant women will develop one, but it is a little less common or visible in women with fair skin. The linea nigra can also occur in newborns.
Why does the black line appear?
The appearance of the linea nigra is related to higher than usual levels of hormones during pregnancy. Estrogen and melanocyte-stimulating hormone act on cells that contain melanin, the pigment that gives our skin its color. It is not known why these cells (called melanocytes) appear darker in some parts of the body and not in others. The linea nigra is just one of the ways in which the skin can change during pregnancy. Some women develop darker spots on the face, called melasma or "pregnancy mask". Often, other pigmented areas of the skin become darker. You can see this also on the areolas (the area around the nipples), your labia majora (the folds of skin around the vagina); and where your skin creases, such as by your armpits.
When does the black line appear?
As hormone levels increase, a visible dark line develops, usually until by the middle of pregnancy. In fact, this line on your belly was always there, but it was not visible. This line is called the linea alba (white line). When it gets dark, the linea alba becomes the linea nigra.
When will the linea nigra disappear?
After pregnancy, the linea nigra should fade in a few weeks to a few months, although in some women it may not disappear completely. Most likely, the linea nigra will disappear after birth without you having to do anything or even think about it.
Will I have a linea nigra in every pregnancy?
If you had one in the first pregnancy, you'll probably have it again in later pregnancies - but not necessarily. It may appear sooner or later, look weaker or darker, or not appear at all. Experts do not understand why they vary from one pregnancy to another.