Thought you were prepared for all of the bizarre changes pregnancy causes? You had no idea. One day you will wake up to find a dark line on your growing belly. It will be located between your pubic region and belly button. While totally normal, it can still be disconcerting to notice your once smooth, clear skin is now decorated with a dark line. This line is known as linea nigra (black line). It normally becomes visible between 22 and 25 weeks of pregnancy, but it’s been there the whole time! Prior to pregnancy, that line on your tummy is extremely faint and rarely noticeable. Pre-pregnancy it’s known as linea alba (white line).
What causes the line on a pregnant belly?
That dark, vertical line running up your tummy is caused by pregnancy hormones. Those hormones are also responsible for darkening your nipples during pregnancy, and your face if you have chloasma–a condition during pregnancy which causes darker, hyperpigmented patches of skin usually on the face. Chloasma is also known as “the mask of pregnancy”. And, if you’re trying to reduce the appearance of your Chloasma as well as your linea nigra, the solutions at the end of this post can help with that too.
Can I tell if I’m having a boy or a girl by my linea nigra?
There is an old wive’s tale that if your line goes all the way past your belly button and up to your ribs, then you’re having a boy. If it only goes up to your navel, then you’re having a girl. Like most old wive’s tales, this is probably true half of the time, but it’s certainly fun to guess. These days, if you’re finding out, you will learn the sex of your baby before your linea nigra even shows up. Your doctor will be able to tell you the sex of your baby during your 20-week anatomy scan–sometimes even earlier. If you’re waiting until baby’s birthday to find out the sex, this old wive’s tale can be a fun way to speculate.
When will the linea nigra fade?
Your linea nigra will fade fairly quickly after your baby is born. Some moms have a very faint line after 6 weeks. For others, that dark line sticks around for 6 months or more. It’s not harmful to your skin and it doesn’t hurt. However, it’s understandable if you’d like to get it gone sooner rather than later. If you want to show off your post-partum body in a bikini or a crop top, don’t let your linea nigra stop you. There are a few home remedies to make it go away faster, but rest assured time will make it go away eventually–even if you do nothing.
Is there anything I can do to make it fade faster?
There are a few home remedies to reduce the appearance of your linea nigra a little faster than nature allows. Remember, these can also help with chloasma.
- Cocoa Butter–This moisturizer has been used by many women to soften skin and reduce the appearance of the belly line. It can be used in the immediate postpartum period. It has a pleasant smell and may be used as a regular, everyday lotion as well.
- Extrapone Nutgrass Root Extract–A homeopathic remedy, this topical oil will also help fade discolorations. It is more popular for skin care in Asia than in the United States, but it can be found on Amazon or in some health food stores.
- Vitamin E Oil–This natural emollient may also be found online or in health food stores. Remember to read the label as you want 100% Vitamin E. Many products labeled “Vitamin E Oil” are actually mostly soybean or sunflower oil. If the price is too good to be true, that may be an indication that you aren’t getting 100% Vitamin E Oil.
- Facial Cleansing Brush–Some scrub cleansers, like the Clarisonic, may help rejuvenate your skin faster. This means you might be able to rid yourself of your linea nigra more quickly. At over $100, this is one of the most expensive options. We only recommend this method if you’ve already got a facial scrubber at home.
- Lemon-Sugar Scrub–You can make a homemade mask of honey, lemon, and raw sugar. Apply the mask to your stomach and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Rinse. If you do this a few times a week, it can help face the appearance of your linea nigra.
- Rubbing Alchohol–If you’re at least six weeks postpartum and notice that your belly button is dark too, you may want to try this method. Take a plain cotton swab and dip it in rubbing alcohol. Use the cotton swab to scrub around your belly button and linea nigra. Some moms report this method makes the darkened skin flake off like a suntan. Others just end up with irritated skin.
Whether or not you intervene with a home remedy, your linea nigra, and chloasma if you’ve got it, will fade after your baby is born.