This dark line smack dab in the middle of my belly is not at all attractive.
What causes this pregnancy line? Does everyone have it? Will it ever disappear? What is it for, really?
Pregnancy brings joy and a different kind of high, along with all the (sometimes) unexpected changes to your body.
Weight gain, darkened skin, stretch marks, unwanted hair on parts of your body, morning sickness, and then this: a dark line that appears from your belly button, running down vertically to your pubic area. Oh, please no. But it’s there, and there’s no turning back.
This pregnancy line is the linea nigra.
You may not have noticed it before, but it has always been there; however it is very light. In fact, before pregnancy, it is called “linea alba” or white line.
As your baby bump gets bigger, the linea nigra becomes more pronounced and visible, especially during the second trimester of pregnancy. The term literally means “black line” in Latin.
Hyperpigmentation is one of the drawbacks of pregnancy. And when that line gets even darker as your belly gets bigger, mums get more frustrated and worried that it will forever be there.
The increased production of estrogen in the woman’s body results in production of extra melanin, the pigment that causes skin to darken – the linea nigra, included.
Will the Linea Nigra Ever Fade Away?
There is no way to keep the linea nigra from becoming darker as your pregnancy progresses, but by staying covered and away from the sun, you should be fine, according to the book What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff.
Just give it time, I say. It should naturally fade away or lighten a short while after giving birth. After delivery, hormone levels are bound to gradually return to their original levels, and the colour of that dark line will slowly, but rather surely, become less obvious.
For some it takes three months, for others it takes about a year. If you have darker complexion, it might take a bit longer because the linea nigra is darker. In the book, Murkoff also explains that it tends to be lighter on succeeding pregnancies. Some don’t even have it the second or third time around.
Some Ways to Manage the Linea Nigra
Using olive oil, 100% Vitamin E oil, and Vitamin E-rich cream, butter or lotion helps lighten it. Keep it moist all the time.
According to some research, folate can help lighten skin discolourations like the linea nigra. Healthy eating is necessary, so load up with leafy greens, beans, lentils, and fresh orange juice, and focus on a folate-rich diet.
There is another topical oil called Extrapone Nutgrass Root Extract that also helps lighten discolourations. This can be found in most health food specialty stores.
Cocoa butter can be of much help, too. It is a stable fat and works wonders as a moisturiser that helps prevent and lighten linea nigra and diminish stretch marks.
You can also use a natural, homemade scrub by mixing lemon, honey and sugar and applying it to the dark line for about 15 minutes. Rinse. Make it a part of your daily skin regimen and you will see positive results in a few months.
Finally, a good night’s sleep greatly helps in regenerating your cells.
References: What To Expect When You’re Expecting
Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Philippines