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linea nigra: when and why?

(33 Posts)
Katherine Wed 18-Jun-03 09:15:19

Hi I'm 32 weeks now and still no sign of my "pregnancy tatoo" - bit disappointed really but I seem to remember it coming quite late last time too so maybe I've just not reached that point yet. Or maybe I'm not going to get one this time (sniff sniff).

I was wondering though if anyone knows what actually causes the LN to appear. Been trying to think of a biological explanation. If it due to a build up of a certain hormone leading up to birth - if so why the line where it is? Just curious - anyone know?

princesspeahead Wed 18-Jun-03 09:26:57

I've never had one and I'm on number 3. mind you, no stretch marks either so maybe it is just something to do with how elastic your skin is

something to do with separation of muscles? can't remember. mears?!

Katherine Wed 18-Jun-03 10:40:15

Had it with both my other 2 (but no stretch marks touch wood!)

princesspeahead Wed 18-Jun-03 10:43:45

oh that's funny then - but I don't think it serves any particular purpose so wouldn't worry about it.
you've got me thinking about what the hell it is now - we need soupy to do some of her superfast internet research for us!

Wills Wed 18-Jun-03 11:05:13

Hi Katherine - mine is "just" appearing but I remember it being late with my dd as well so I've not been worried. Its currently a really faint line but I know that last time it got really strong and it took ages to disappear.

I too am curious as to what causes it - might have a scoot round the web looking. My pregnancy mask has started to appear though - brown markings on my cheek bones. As this time I've been exposed to sunlight its not that distinct whereas with dd because she was born after winter the brown markings were really strong.

gingernut Wed 18-Jun-03 11:07:17

It's something to do with the layers of muscle separating. No connection with stretch marks as far as I know. I had linea nigra which appeared quite late on in pregnancy. No stretch marks though

Katherine Wed 18-Jun-03 11:24:53

Good idea Wills - found some stuff on chloasma:
"The pregnancy mask. Sometime during the second trimester you may find yourself gazing at a different face in the mirror. Brownish or yellowish patches called chloasma (also dubbed the mask of pregnancy) can appear anywhere on the face, but are seen most commonly on the forehead, upper cheeks, nose, and chin. The pregnancy hormones estrogen and progesterone stimulate the melanin cells in the skin to produce more pigment, yet because these cells do not produce extra pigment uniformly, your facial skin may acquire a blotchy tan. (If you have ever taken oral contraceptives, you may already have experienced this particular hormonal side-effect.) Brunettes and darker-skinned women may notice darkened circles, resembling eye shadow, around their eyes. Chloasma cannot be prevented, but you can minimize the intensity of these blotchy, darkened areas by limiting your exposure to ultraviolet light (i.e., sunshine), which further stimulates melanin production. "

But very little on linea nigra other than saying its linked to hormones. I guessed that but why a black line?
"Linea nigra. Many women normally have a faint linea alba (white line) running from their navel to the center of their pubic bone. It is barely visible before pregnancy. (You may not have even known it was there). Sometime in the second trimester a linea alba becomes a linea nigra, a dark line that is much more noticeable. In some women the line extends upward from the navel as well. The linea nigra is darker in darker skinned women and disappears several months after delivery."
Although one site suggested that its the same as chloasma - just the natural line pigment darkening. Just find these things interesting.....

Wills Wed 18-Jun-03 15:55:02

I think the challenge is on to find out though! Thanks for finding out about the mask.

codswallop Wed 18-Jun-03 15:56:40

thibk my baby has a faint one

pie Wed 18-Jun-03 16:02:30

"The dark line is called a "linea nigra" -- dark line! It is a common sign of pregnancy and usually happens only when the abdomen is somewhat distended. It is thought to be hormonally initiated and there is nothing anyone can do to get rid of it. Fair skinned women do not have this as often as women with darker pigmentation. Staying out of the sun does help to reduce pigment changes with pregnancy.

This line does not necessarily go away after the baby is born but it does get a bit lighter."

or you could have:

"Linea nigra (dark line running up your tummy)
This is a dark, vertical line, up to a centimetre wide, that appears down the middle of your stomach, often crossing the navel. It tends to appear around the second trimester and is caused by pigmentation in the skin where your abdominal muscles stretch and slightly separate to accommodate your baby as it grows.

This line of pigmentation will fade within a few weeks of delivery, although you may need to give it a gentle rub to remove any dry skin. You will notice that other areas with pigmentation — such as your nipples, moles and freckles — may darken too, but this will also fade with time."


"Skin changes may occur in the second and third trimesters. Linea nigra is a dark, vertical line that may develop down the center of your abdomen. It is caused by the same pregnancy hormones that make your nipples darken. It darkens even more if exposed to sunlight, but it lightens after delivery"

or you could go with:

"Melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) is another anterior pituitary hormone that increases during pregnancy. For many years, it's increase was thought to be responsible for many of the skin changes of pregnancy, particularly skin darkening (darkening of the areola, chloasma, and linea nigra). However, current belief attributes the skin changes to estrogen (and possibly progesterone) as well as the increase in MSH."

Or how about combining all of them?

princesspeahead Wed 18-Jun-03 16:58:31

up to a centimetre wide! wow. no definately haven't had this. had a bit of the pigmentation thing on one cheek with pregnancy no 2 which never quite went away though - not sure if it is getting any darker with this one, will keep an eye on it

Gem13 Wed 18-Jun-03 19:30:56

Mine was so dark and wide it looked like I'd been attacked with a marker pen! The annoying thing was that after the birth it didn't run straight anymore!

Now nearly a year later it's back to a pale, straight (hurrah!) line.

StripyMouse Wed 18-Jun-03 20:42:39

Interesting thread, Katherine. I have not got one and didn’t have one with first pregnancy either - however, had loads and loads of stretch marks so there is no obvious link there unfortunately. No more stretch marks yet - but still plenty of time for my old ones to get new ones on top. Yuck.

Linnet Wed 18-Jun-03 22:58:06

I worked with a guy who's girlfriend had had a baby and he kept asking "have you got that dark line running down your belly yet? it'll appear soon". and he also kept asking if my belly button had popped out and told me that would happen soon as well.
Neither happened to me and I found it very disturbing that he kept asking me these questions. He left before my dd was born thank goodness I hate to think what else he would have asked me.

SamboM Wed 18-Jun-03 22:59:23

I didn't get one, neither did my nipples get darker, did anyone else's nipples stay the same colour?

pie Wed 18-Jun-03 23:32:10

I didn't get one with DD, and none so far with this pregnancy. They say that if you are very fair skinned you don't get it. As I'm half Thai everyone I knew assumed that I would, but I totally have my mother's skin colouring and am very very pale...

Linnet, I think I would have whacked your colleague one

From my understanding your belly button only pops out if you have no extra fat stores, if you know what I mean!!!

There ain't no way my belly button is ever popping out.

Katherine Thu 19-Jun-03 09:17:00

Well I've got an "outie" so that blows the lack of fat stores one!

I've also got v.v. fair skin but had lovely chocolate line with both my other pg so that doesn't necessarily hold either.

So it looks like everything they tell you about skin type is wrong - and still no explanation as to why you get a line! I mean the face thing I can kind of understand. The skin in the centre of the face is thinner so maybe needs more protection so you are more likley to get pigment in this area. I'm probably wrong but at least you can apply a sort of logic to it. But why the heck would we get a line eh! Oh well just one of those mysteries of pg I suppose

princesspeahead Thu 19-Jun-03 09:49:49

Linnet - eurghhh, creepy. There is a guy in my office who CLEARLY can't get past the fact that I'm pregnant. Every time he sees me (which is every time I go into the office!) he pats his stomach, says "everything going alright then?" and asks me how many weeks along I am. Nothing wrong with any of that (although the stomach patting is bloody irritating - I feel like saying to him "no, you aren't pregnant, I am" but there is something about the way he says it - sort of shifty and a bit like when he sees me being pregnant he is thinking about me having sex to get that way! If you know what I mean. Yeuch. The fact that I'm a director of the company and he is a very low level 28 yr old sales rep somehow makes it worse....

but if he started asking me about my linea nigra and bellybutton I think I'd have to tell him to fuck off

anyway, got that off my chest

Wills Thu 19-Jun-03 18:12:27

Oh Katherine! Don't spoil pie's comment! I doubt I have too many more weeks before mine becomes an outie so it was lovely to read that for all of 10 seconds.

Princesspeahead - From the sounds of it this guy is using your pregnancy as a means to be patronising and I wouldn't stand for that!

princesspeahead Thu 19-Jun-03 18:34:18

I don't think that is it - he has got zero to be patronising about, to be honest, I hired him and I can fire him - I just think he looks at my stomach, thinks "sex" and can't get past it. juvenile really!

Oakmaiden Thu 19-Jun-03 18:50:16

i think with the belly button it depends on the way your fat is distributed around your tummy. I have noticed that mine has tried to pop out recently, but the Ain't no way he can pop out further than the fat!

motherinferior Thu 19-Jun-03 21:02:05

I've got a line this time - don't think I had it last time, but maybe we just have better mirrors this time. Bellybutton finally out. Mind you ALL of me is Out In Front this time. And I can feel a whole load of stretch marks fanning out underneath.

It's the Hurhurhur remarks when you're breastfeeding that really irritate me.

StripyMouse Thu 19-Jun-03 21:11:42

I am disappointed to read the innie outie belly button stuff - last time mine didn’t pop out and at the time I was rather pleased as I thought it meant the opposite and that I must be keeping a nice tidy relatively fat free bump - oops!! I can’t see it happenign this time either - oh well, still plenty of time to wait and see.

Lollypop Thu 19-Jun-03 21:24:28

My belly button never didi pop out at anytime but it did go brown/black, it looked like it had never been washed.

Katherine Thu 19-Jun-03 21:34:09

Is there anyone on here with a belly button stud? My neighbour is 20 wks pg now and she has 2 studs in place. I keep looking at her and looking and my outie and thinking ouch! Won't it stretch and be really painful! Or maybe she won't get an outie.....

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