Many women notice changes to their skin, nails, and hair during pregnancy. Some of the most common changes include the following:
Dark spots on the breasts, nipples, or inner thighs
Melasma—brown patches on the face around the cheeks, nose, and forehead
Linea nigra—a dark line that runs from the navel to the pubic hair
Changes in nail and hair growth
Some are due to changes in hormone levels that happen during pregnancy. But for most skin changes health care professionals are not sure of the exact cause.
Dark spots and patches are caused by an increase in the body's melanin—a natural substance that gives color to the skin and hair. The patches are called melasma or "the mask of pregnancy."
To help prevent melasma from getting worse, wear sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat every day when you are outside. The sun's UV rays can reach you even on cloudy days.
Dark spots and melasma usually fade on their own after you give birth. But some women may have dark patches that last for years. If melasma does not go away, you can talk with a dermatologist about treatment options. Dermatologists are specialists in skin conditions.
As your belly grows during pregnancy, your skin may become marked with reddish lines called stretch marks. These marks occur when the skin stretches quickly as the fetus grows. By the third trimester, many pregnant women have stretch marks on the abdomen, buttocks, breasts, or thighs. Sometimes the marks are faint. Sometimes they can be quite dark.
There are many products on the market that claim to prevent stretch marks. There is no proof that any of these treatments work. Using a heavy moisturizer may help keep your skin soft, but it will not help get rid of stretch marks. Most stretch marks fade after the baby is born, but they may never disappear completely.
Many women have acne during pregnancy. Some already have acne and notice that it gets worse during pregnancy. Other women who may always have had clear skin may develop acne while they are pregnant.
If you get acne during pregnancy, take these steps to treat your skin:
Wash your face twice a day with a mild cleanser and lukewarm water.
If you have oily hair, shampoo every day and try to keep your hair off your face.
Avoid picking or squeezing acne sores to lessen possible scarring.
Choose oil-free cosmetics.
Over-the-counter (OTC) products containing the following ingredients can be used during pregnancy:
If you want to use an OTC product that contains an ingredient not on this list, contact your obstetrician–gynecologist (ob-gyn).
Some prescription acne medications should not be used while you are pregnant:
Hormonal therapy—Several medications that block specific hormones can be used to treat acne. Their use during pregnancy is not recommended due to the risk of birth defects.
Isotretinoin—This drug is a form of vitamin A. It may cause severe birth defects in fetuses, including intellectual disabilities, life-threatening heart and brain defects, and other physical deformities.
Oral tetracyclines—This antibiotic can cause discoloration of the fetus’s teeth if it is taken after the fourth month of pregnancy and can affect the growth of the fetus's bones as long as the medication is taken.
Topical retinoids—These medications are a form of vitamin A and are in the same drug family as isotretinoin. Unlike isotretinoin, topical retinoids are applied to the skin, and the amount of medication absorbed by the body is low. But it is generally recommended that use of these medications be avoided during pregnancy. Some retinoids are available by prescription. Other retinoids can be found in some OTC products. Read labels carefully.
If you are concerned about which products to use to treat your acne, talk with your dermatologist and ob-gyn. Together you can decide which option is best for you.
Hormonal changes and the higher amounts of blood in your body during pregnancy can cause tiny red veins, known as spider veins, to appear on your face, neck, and arms.
Spider veins are most common during the first half of pregnancy. The redness should fade after the baby is born.
The weight and pressure of your uterus can decrease blood flow from your lower body and cause the veins in your legs to become swollen, sore, and blue. These are called varicose veins. Varicose veins can also appear on your vulva and in your vagina and rectum (usually called hemorrhoids). You are more likely to have varicose veins if someone else in your family has had them.
In most cases, varicose veins are a cosmetic problem that will go away after delivery.
You cannot prevent them, but there are some things you can do to ease the swelling and soreness and prevent varicose veins from getting worse:
Be sure to move around from time to time if you must sit or stand for long periods.
Do not sit with your legs crossed for long periods.
Prop your legs up on a couch, chair, or footstool as often as you can.
Exercise regularly—walk, swim, or ride an exercise bike.
Wear support hose.
Avoid constipation by eating foods high in fiber and drinking plenty of liquids.
If a tender, red spot appears on your leg, it should be checked by your health care professional.
The hormone changes in pregnancy may cause the hair on your head and body to grow or become thicker. Sometimes women grow hair in areas where they do not normally have hair, such as the face, chest, abdomen, and arms.
Your hair should return to normal within 6 months after giving birth. In the meantime, it is safe to use tweezing, waxing, and shaving to remove unwanted hair during pregnancy.
About 3 months after childbirth, most women begin to notice hair loss from the scalp. This happens because hormones are returning to normal levels, which allows the hair to return to its normal cycle of growing and falling out. In most cases, your hair should grow back completely within 3 to 6 months.
Some women find that their nails grow faster during pregnancy. Others notice that their nails split and break more easily. Like the changes to your hair, changes that affect your nails will ease after birth.
Some uncommon health conditions can arise during pregnancy and cause skin changes. These include the following:
Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP)
Prurigo of pregnancy
Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP)
In PUPPP, small, red bumps and hives appear on the skin later in pregnancy. The bumps can form large patches that can be very itchy. These bumps usually first appear on the abdomen and can spread to the thighs, buttocks, and breasts.
It is not clear what causes PUPPP. It usually goes away after you give birth. In the meantime, your health care professional may prescribe anti-itch medication to help with the itching.
With prurigo of pregnancy, tiny, itchy bumps that look like insect bites can appear almost anywhere on the skin. This condition can happen anytime during pregnancy. It usually starts with a few bumps that increase in number each day. It is thought to be caused by changes in the immune system that occur during pregnancy.
Prurigo can last for several months and may even continue for some time after the baby is born. It is usually treated with anti-itch medication applied to the skin and other medications, such as antihistamines and corticosteroids.
Pemphigoid gestationis is a rare skin condition that usually starts during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy or sometimes right after childbirth. With this condition, blisters appear on the abdomen, and in severe cases, the blisters can cover a wide area of the body. It is thought to be an autoimmune disorder. Sometimes the condition returns during future pregnancies.
There is a slightly increased risk of pregnancy problems with this condition, including preterm birth and a smaller-than-average baby. There is also a small chance that your baby will have similar blisters at the time of birth. These blisters are usually mild and go away within a few weeks.
If your health care professional diagnoses pemphigoid gestationis after checking your blisters, you and your fetus should be monitored closely during the last part of pregnancy. Your health care professional may also give you medications to control the outbreak of blisters and help relieve your discomfort.
ICP is the most common liver condition that happens during pregnancy. Bile is a substance that is made in the liver. Bile travels from the liver to the small intestine, where it is used to break down fats in food. In ICP, this flow of bile is blocked and the components of bile are deposited in the skin.
The main symptom of ICP is severe itching in the absence of a rash. Itching commonly occurs on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, but it can also spread to the trunk of the body. It is typically worse at night.
Symptoms usually start during the third trimester of pregnancy and often go away a few days after childbirth. But ICP can happen again in future pregnancies.
If your health care professional diagnoses ICP after doing blood tests, you and your fetus should be monitored closely during the third trimester. Close monitoring is needed because ICP may increase the risk of preterm birth and other problems, including, in rare cases, stillbirth. In some cases, your ob-gyn may recommend an early delivery to help reduce the risk of stillbirth. You may also be given medication to help control severe itching.
Women who already have certain skin diseases, such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis, may see their conditions worsen or improve while they are pregnant. The changes are different for every woman and every pregnancy.
If you have any type of skin disease, let your ob-gyn know of any changes in signs or symptoms during your pregnancy. You should also review any medications that you take to treat your condition with your ob-gyn to make sure they are safe to use during pregnancy.
For conditions that cause itchy skin, using an over-the-counter anti-itch cream may help provide relief. You also can try the following tips:
Wash with mild, fragrance-free soaps.
Add uncooked oatmeal or baking soda to your bath.
Place a cool, wet cloth on the area to ease the burn.
Use a heavy moisturizer on your skin twice a day.
Antibiotic: A drug that treats certain types of infections.
Autoimmune Disorder: A condition in which the body attacks its own tissues.
Bile: A substance made by the liver that helps digest fats.
Hormone: A substance made in the body that controls the function of cells or organs.
Immune System: The body’s natural defense system against viruses and bacteria that cause disease.
Linea Nigra: A line running from the belly button to pubic hair that darkens during pregnancy.
Melasma: A common skin problem that causes brown to gray-brown patches on the face. Also known as the “mask of pregnancy.”
Obstetrician–Gynecologist (Ob-Gyn): A doctor with special training and education in women's health.
Preterm: Less than 37 weeks of pregnancy.
Rectum: The last part of the digestive tract.
Stillbirth: Birth of a dead fetus.
Trimester: A 3-month time in pregnancy. It can be first, second, or third.
Uterus: A muscular organ in the female pelvis. During pregnancy this organ holds and nourishes the fetus.
Vagina: A tube-like structure surrounded by muscles. The vagina leads from the uterus to the outside of the body.
Vulva: The external female genital area.
Don't have an ob-gyn? Search for doctors near you.
Last updated: July 2022
Last reviewed: December 2021
Copyright 2022 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. All rights reserved. Read copyright and permissions information.
This information is designed as an educational aid for the public. It offers current information and opinions related to women's health. It is not intended as a statement of the standard of care. It does not explain all of the proper treatments or methods of care. It is not a substitute for the advice of a physician. Read ACOG’s complete disclaimer.
Skin darkening during pregnancy (melasma or chloasma)
By Eva Dasher
September 25, 2020
It's common to develop blotchy spots of darker skin when you're pregnant, a condition called melasma or chloasma. Women with darker complexions are more likely to have melasma than women with lighter skin. Changes in skin pigmentation due to melasma usually disappear on their own after delivery.
Photo credit: Thinkstock
Is it normal to have melasma during pregnancy?
What causes melasma?
Is my linea nigra related to melasma?
How can I prevent melasma from getting worse during pregnancy?
Will I still have melasma after my pregnancy?
Are darkened spots on skin during pregnancy ever a sign of illness?
Is it normal to have melasma during pregnancy?
Yes, it's common to develop blotchy spots of darker skin when you're pregnant, a condition called melasma or chloasma. Melasma is also sometimes referred to as the mask of pregnancy because the splotches typically show up around your upper lip, nose, cheekbones, and forehead in the shape of a mask.
You may also develop dark patches on your cheeks, along your jawline, or on your forearms and other parts of your body that are exposed to the sun. What's more, skin that's already more pigmented – such as your nipples, freckles, scars, and the skin of your genitals – may become even darker during pregnancy. This also tends to happen in areas where friction is common, such as your underarms and inner thighs.
What causes melasma?
Melasma may be triggered by hormonal changes during pregnancy, which stimulate a temporary increase in the amount of melanin your body produces. Melanin is the natural substance that gives color to hair, skin, and eyes.
Sun exposure plays a role too. Women with darker complexions are more likely to have melasma than women with lighter skin.
You're also more likely to develop melasma if it runs in your family.
Is my linea nigra related to melasma?
The same increased production of melanin that causes the facial splotches of melasma also causes the linea nigra, or dark line that you may notice running down your belly.
The linea nigra will probably fade back to its pre-pregnancy color several months after you deliver your baby, but may not completely disappear.
How can I prevent melasma from getting worse during pregnancy?
All changes in skin pigmentation due to melasma usually disappear on their own after delivery, but you can do a few things to safely minimize darkened spots on your skin during pregnancy:
Use sun protection. This is crucial because exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays triggers melasma and intensifies pigment changes. Use a broad-spectrum sunblock (a formula that protects against both UVA and UVB rays) with SPF 30 or higher every day, even when it's not sunny, and reapply often during the day if you're outside. This is true even if you have dark skin. Although dark skin has more melanin (pigment) than lighter skin and doesn't sunburn as quickly, it's not enough to protect you from harmful UV radiation.
Even if you don't plan to leave the house or spend much time outside, it's a good idea to apply sun protection as part of your morning routine. The American Academy of Dermatology cautions that your skin is exposed to a significant amount of UV light whenever you walk down the street, ride in a car, or even sit inside near a window.
When you're outside, wear a wide-brimmed hat as well as a long-sleeved shirt if you have pigmentation changes on your arms. Limit the time you spend in the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. And definitely avoid tanning salons.
Don't wax. Using wax to remove hair can cause skin inflammation that worsens melasma, especially in areas of your body that are affected by pigmentation changes.
Use hypoallergenic skin care products. Cleansers and face creams that irritate your skin may make melasma worse.
Apply concealer. If the darkened spots bother you, cover them up by using makeup for now. Concealer with white and yellow undertones often helps, but consult the makeup salespeople at your local store to find the right product for your skin type. You can also seek the advice of a board-certified dermatologist. Don't use skin-bleaching products while you're pregnant, and talk to your doctor before starting them if you are breastfeeding.
Will I still have melasma after my pregnancy?
Melasma usually fades without treatment after you have your baby. The darkened spots probably will fade within a year after delivery, and your skin should return to its normal shade, although sometimes the changes never completely disappear.
For some women, contraceptives containing estrogen (such as the Pill, the patch, and the vaginal ring) can also contribute to melasma. If the skin changes are bothersome, consider another birth control option.
If your skin is still blotchy a few months after giving birth and it's bothering you, talk to your healthcare provider or a dermatologist about treatment options for melasma. She may suggest using a bleaching cream that contains hydroquinone (and possibly sunscreen), a topical medication that contains tretinoin (Retin-A), or a chemical peel such as azelaic acid.
If you're breastfeeding or plan to get pregnant again soon, let your provider know and check with her before using any over-the-counter treatments.
Don't expect instant results – it may take many months to see improvement. If other treatments haven't helped, a dermatologist can lighten dark spots with laser treatments, but that's not the first option.
In any case, continue to protect your skin from the sun by using sunscreen every day, wearing protective clothing, and staying out of the sun during peak hours.
Are darkened spots on skin during pregnancy ever a sign of illness?
Certain types of skin discoloration can be a symptom of skin cancer or other medical problems.
Call your provider if you have changes in skin pigmentation as well as pain, tenderness, redness, or bleeding, or if you notice any changes in the color, shape, or size of a mole.
You may be referred to a dermatologist for a diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Wondering what skin care products are safe and which to avoid while pregnant? Check out our article on safe skin care during pregnancy.
Acne during pregnancy
Hair and nail changes during pregnancy
Varicose veins during pregnancy
BabyCenter's editorial team is committed to providing the most helpful and trustworthy pregnancy and parenting information in the world. When creating and updating content, we rely on credible sources: respected health organizations, professional groups of doctors and other experts, and published studies in peer-reviewed journals. We believe you should always know the source of the information you're seeing. Learn more about our editorial and medical review policies.
AAD. Undated. Melasma. American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/a-z/melasma-overview [Accessed September 2020]
UpToDate. 2019. Maternal adaptations to pregnancy: Skin, hair, nails, and mucous membranes https://www.uptodate.com/contents/the-skin-hair-nails-and-mucous-membranes-during-pregnancy [Accessed September 2020]
UpToDate. 2020. Melasma: Management https://www.uptodate.com/contents/melasma-management [Accessed September 2020]
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Black dots on the face: fixing the problem
Almost every one of us faces this or that cosmetic problem. And in the expectant mother, due to the changing hormonal background, they can occur even more often. Enlarged pores on the face and "black dots" are especially annoying. They do not bring much harm, but they spoil the appearance. How to deal with this "scourge"?
Yulia Ilyashenko, Cosmetologist, Kyiv
"Black dots", or, scientifically speaking, open comedones, are dense "plugs" of desquamated skin cells mixed with sebum, which clog the ducts of the sebaceous glands. The black color of comedones is due to the pigment melanin. If you squeeze such "plugs", the contents are easily squeezed out of the enlarged pores. Comedones can occur at any age, with any type of skin, and not only in women, but also in men. Black comedones almost never become inflamed, but this cosmetic defect spoils the appearance of the skin, giving it a “dirty” shade and unkempt appearance. Why are they formed?
Causes of comedones
Comedones are formed due to excessive activity of the sebaceous glands located in the skin of the face. The sebaceous glands produce a specific secret - sebum, which our skin needs in moderation. It performs many useful things: it lubricates, moisturizes the skin of the face, protects it from premature aging, from cold and other adverse weather conditions. But in some cases, the sebaceous glands suddenly begin to work too actively (this condition is called “hyperkeratosis”), an unreasonably large amount of secretion is released, it accumulates in the pores, “attracts” dust from the surrounding air to itself - this is where the “plug” is formed. There are many reasons for hyperkeratosis. First of all, these are hormonal changes. During pregnancy, the body of the expectant mother produces a large amount of progesterone, which is called the “pregnancy hormone”. It enhances the production of sebum and retains fats in the skin. By the way, the amount of progesterone increases in the second half of the menstrual cycle. That is why during pregnancy and before menstruation, the appearance of comedones on the face is often observed.
The second reason for the appearance of comedones is malnutrition. Excessive consumption of fatty, spicy, salty foods, abuse of sweet and starchy foods disrupts the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract and metabolism and leads to increased production of sebum. The lack of certain vitamins, especially A and E, certain medications, insufficient skin care, inappropriate cosmetics, and even hereditary predisposition can also worsen the condition of the skin.
Before proceeding with the radical removal of "black spots" with the help of cosmetic procedures, we will try to slightly change our lifestyle and habits. After all, if the main cause of hyperkeratosis is not minimized, comedones will reappear very quickly after cleansing. Of course, it is impossible to influence progesterone and change your genetics, but it is quite possible to eat the “right”, healthy food. And in your current position, this is especially true. By reviewing your diet, limiting the amount of unwanted foods, over time, you can normalize the work of the sebaceous glands. Do not forget to include more fruits, vegetables, dairy products in your daily menu. Nuts are very good, as they contain a large amount of vitamin E, and fish, rich in fats necessary for the skin. Dairy products improve the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, and this is a prerequisite for healthy skin.
If you have "black dots" during pregnancy, and before such problems were not, most likely, after childbirth and the end of breastfeeding, the state of the sebaceous glands normalizes. And now pay special attention to proper skin care. First of all, use
cosmetic products that are suitable for your skin type. For example, if your skin tends to be oily, and you start using products for dry or normal skin, the degree of oiliness of the skin will increase. And gradually "black dots" may appear on it. Therefore, it is important to carefully study the purpose of a particular cosmetic product and purchase only what suits your skin. In addition, modern cosmetics have such an important characteristic as comedogenicity. This is their ability to clog pores and lead to the formation of comedones. And if you're prone to blackheads, look for facials and makeup (especially!) that are labeled "non-comedogenic."
The main thing is purification!
Do not be lazy to thoroughly cleanse your face with suitable products before going to bed, remove makeup and other daily impurities with a cotton pad with a cleansing cream or use a cleansing gel. And then wipe your face with a pore-reducing lotion. Do not forget to repeat the same procedure in the morning after sleep. At night, enhanced metabolic processes occur in the skin, the skin is renewed, resulting in the formation of excess sebum and dead cells. They definitely need to be removed. Proper cleansing is the best prevention of the appearance of "black dots".
Do a deeper cleansing with a scrub once or twice a week. It should not contain large particles: your skin needs a very delicate, gentle cleansing. To get the maximum effect, use the scrub correctly. It is better to apply it on a slightly steamed face. To do this, dip a towel in hot water, put it on your face and hold such a warm wet compress for 2-3 minutes. Then gently massage the product onto damp skin, massage the areas of special contamination (nose, forehead, chin) and after 2-3 minutes rinse off the product with warm water, and then rinse your face with cold water. Cold water shrinks pores. If there are pimples and inflammation on the skin, it is better to refuse to use a scrub, and use a cleansing mask based on cosmetic clay. Such a
mask absorbs excess sebum, cleans well and tightens pores. After several procedures, the skin becomes much cleaner and fresher. You can apply a mask on your face 2-3 times a week.
To cleanse the face of comedones, you can use not only purchased cosmetics. There are also homemade recipes that help in the fight against "black dots"...
What if home remedies don't work and blackheads don't want to disappear? It makes sense to seek professional help. An experienced cosmetologist will select the appropriate procedure for you, which will help cleanse the pores and improve the condition of the facial skin. Just be sure to tell your doctor that you are expecting a baby. In your position, not all cleansing cosmetic procedures are allowed.
What modern methods of skin cleansing are acceptable during pregnancy? Ultrasonic peeling and vacuum cleaning of the face. Ultrasonic peeling not only cleans the pores, but also exfoliates dead skin particles, massages, improves lymph circulation. During vacuum cleaning, the pores are cleaned by creating negative pressure under the tip of the apparatus, which is moved over the skin. Both of these methods are gentle. But disincrustation is still contraindicated for you. This procedure consists in dissolving and removing the secretion of the sebaceous glands under the influence of an electric current.
Mechanical rather than hardware cleansing of the face, when the cosmetologist removes impurities from the pores with hands and special tools, is not formally contraindicated during pregnancy, but it is better to avoid it if possible. Firstly, it is quite painful, and you do not need any discomfort now. Secondly, such cleaning is quite lengthy. The expectant mother will have to lie on her back for an hour and a half during the procedure, which can be extremely uncomfortable.
To narrow the pores after cleansing the face in salons, therapeutic clay-based masks and darsonvalization are most often used - a therapeutic effect with a weak high-voltage alternating current. But if the first method is not contraindicated for the expectant mother, then the use of Darsonval currents is now unacceptable. Beauticians recommend cleansing procedures about once every two months.
And remember one important thing: only regular and comprehensive skin care, combined with non-comedogenic cosmetics, will help to make the pores almost invisible and significantly improve the appearance of the skin. And make the expectant mother truly irresistible!
Before talking about what you can do at home, let's talk about what you don't need to do. The old-fashioned way to get rid of black dots is extrusion. It will make the skin a little cleaner, but it can also bring considerable harm. First, by squeezing some of the collected fat outward, you “drive” the other part even deeper, which will lead to even more clogging of the pores. Secondly, microtraumas inevitable with such an aggressive impact can become infected and inflamed. Thirdly, it is not known how your skin will react to such exposure, and instead of the expected beauty, you can get a completely unpredictable effect...
But it is very possible to try cleansing and narrowing pores masks made at home from natural ingredients. It is better to do them after steaming the face with a warm compress.
Grind oatmeal in a coffee grinder. Take 2 tablespoons of the resulting flour, add soda on the tip of a knife and dilute the mixture with milk until the consistency of thick sour cream. Apply the mask on the face without rubbing (can be applied not only to areas with "black dots"), and lie still for 10 minutes. Wash off the mask with cool water.
Rinse ¼ cup of rice, cover with boiled water and leave overnight. In the morning, rice should be kneaded to a mushy state and applied to the face, after 15 minutes, wash off the mask with warm water.
This mask tightens pores, cleanses the skin, and dissolves excess sebum. Mix one egg white, two tablespoons of kefir and a teaspoon of honey. Apply the resulting mixture on a previously cleansed face, and rinse after 15 minutes. Do not use this mask if you are allergic to honey.
Edible gelatin has proven itself in cosmetology. It helps fight blackheads and normalizes the sebaceous glands. Grind two activated charcoal tablets, add one teaspoon of dry gelatin and the same amount of milk. Mix everything. Next, place the resulting mixture in a water bath and heat it until the gelatin is completely dissolved, stirring constantly. Or place the container with the components of the mask in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. Now, using a brush, apply the mixture to problem areas of the skin (nose, nose, chin). Wait until a film forms (approximately 10-15 minutes). Then, with light sipping movements, remove the film, and wash off its remnants with water. After the procedure, you will notice that the pores are cleared and narrowed, and the skin has become more elastic.
Ordinary salt will help!
You can try ordinary salt to fight blackheads. Mix a tablespoon of sour cream and a teaspoon of coarse salt. Apply the mixture on the blackheads. Massage problem areas in circular motions for 1-2 minutes and rinse with cool water. Do this procedure no more than 1-2 times a week.
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Why do women get a dark stripe on their stomach during pregnancy?
Many expectant mothers notice that over time a dark vertical line appears on their stomach.
Some are so worried that they begin to get rid of it by any means, fearing that it will harm their health.
Dark vertical stripe on abdomen (from Latin Linea nigra ) is one of the most common signs of pregnancy. This brownish line, usually about a centimeter wide, runs from the pubis to the navel, but sometimes it extends to the very top of the abdomen.
This vertical streak appears in most pregnant women and becomes fully visible around the 23rd week of pregnancy.
Why does a streak form?
Skin color often changes during pregnancy, dark spots may appear in different parts of the skin. Like other changes, the appearance of a strip on the abdomen is caused by an increase in hormone levels during the second and third trimester. It gradually gets darker.
By the way, there is another stripe, but white or a white line of the abdomen ( linea alba ), which stretches from the navel to the pubis and is present in all people.
However, the brown streak only occurs during pregnancy.
The appearance of a dark line during pregnancy is due to an increase in hormones that affect melanocyte cells, which ultimately leads to the production of more melanin, the pigment on which our skin color depends, that is, this pigment is to blame for everything.
It also causes age spots on the body, darkening of the nipples, skin in the perineum.
When does the dark line appear?
Most pregnant women notice a dark line between the first and second trimesters. And for expectant mothers who are expecting twins or triplets, the strip becomes visible already in the middle of the first trimester.
However, not all pregnant women develop this line. Studies have shown that this phenomenon is characteristic of 75% of expectant mothers.
When will the dark line disappear?
Dark lines on the abdomen disappear gradually a few weeks after childbirth. If a woman is breastfeeding, then the strip will last for several months. In general, it takes time for the dark pigment melanin to stop accumulating in the cells.
Can the strip be dangerous for mother or baby?
This pigment line cannot pose any danger to the child. The fetus is completely protected from external influences. The only problem is that the streak is more pronounced in women with dark skin. This is usually caused by hyperpigmentation. But there is nothing to worry about here either. She, though slowly, but also disappears after childbirth.
Is it possible to predict the gender of the unborn child using the strip?
There is an old saying that if a woman has a brownish line passing through the center of the navel, then she will have a girl, and if the line passes by the navel, as if rushing around the navel, then there will be a boy. However, there are no scientific theories or studies to support this.
How to remove the dark line during pregnancy?
The appearance of a stripe is a natural process, and there is no way you can get rid of it completely. However, you can follow some rules so that the skin does not darken even more.
Always wear closed clothing that protects your skin from direct sunlight.
Use a sunscreen with an UV protection index of at least SPF-30 to protect the skin from direct sunlight, for the face it is better to use creams with a maximum SPF-50. Do not sunbathe in the open sun.
Include in the diet foods rich in folic acid: orange juice, spinach, wheat, beans, drink enough fluid up to 2 liters per day, try to moisturize the skin with special creams.
There is absolutely no need to lighten this area, especially at home, otherwise it can lead to skin burns.
If age spots appear on the face, it is worth contacting a dermatologist who will advise what to do in this case so as not to harm yourself and the baby in the womb in the first place.
Remember that there is nothing wrong with the appearance of linea nigra on the stomach. Most importantly, make sure you eat and rest properly, and the strip will disappear on its own in a few months after the baby is born.