Have you wondered what that dark line is that has developed between your umbilicus and pubic area during your pregnancy? It’s linea nigra, the name simply means black line in Latin.

The linea nigra is a darkening of the linea alba (or the white line) which occurs from about 23 weeks of pregnancy.

Linea Nigra is usually a dark brown colour and 6 – 12 mm in width.  It’s caused by pregnancy hormones which also make a lot of other skin lesions darken during pregnancy. Linea Nigra can be more pronounced if you have darker skin.

Those same hormones are also the cause of darkening of the areola , which is the pigmented area around your nipples.  Some women can also develop darkening of the skin on their face known as chloasma or sometimes referred to as the mask of pregnancy.

If you develop a dark line, there is certainly no need to worry, the line will fade a few months after the end of your pregnancy.

Some Mums to be are told of the old wives tale that if the linea nigra runs up to your ribs your baby will be a boy and if it only reaches your belly button it’s a girl, there is no evidence to confirm this is correct, but you do have a 5o% chance of being right!

This post was provided by Obstetrician Dr Meredith Tassone.