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Linea Negra
What Is That Dark Line On My Belly?

The line you may be noticing on your belly is a normal process for some women. Called the linea negra, meaning ‘black line,’ this centimeter wide strip extends from your pubic bone to your belly button. In some women it extends up to the point where the ribs join the sternum, known as the xiphoid process.

What Causes Linea Negra?
This line is caused by an increased production of the pigment known as melanin. This is the pigment responsible for coloring your freckles, moles and darkening the areolas (the dark ring around your nipple) of your breasts. It’s not known why the pigment darkens in a line, but some studies suggest that getting plenty of folic acid from bread and leafy greens will help keep the coloration at a minimum.

The linea neigra should fade a few months after you’ve given birth.

Legends Say…
Have you heard of the old wives’ tale dealing with the linea negra? It’s said if you have a line to your belly button, you’ll have a girl. If you have a line past your belly button, it will be a boy. There may be variations of this way of determining gender.

Dark Splotches on the Face?
Going hand in hand with the linea nigra is chloasma, sometimes known as ‘the Mask of Pregnancy.” A darkening of the pigment in your facial skin may cause splotches on your cheeks, forehead and other areas. These splotches are also caused by hormones triggering the production of melanin. This condition is seen more often in darker skinned women. Dermatologists recommend using sun screen, avoiding harsh chemicals to wash your face, and using make up as needed to cover the area. These splotches will fade after your delivery, but may return if you become pregnant again.

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