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Linea Nigra: What to Know About Your Pregnancy Line

5 min


Have you been talking with all of your expecting friends about the never-ending body changes during pregnancy?

Are you wondering about the weird little pregnancy stripe they keep speaking of and when will it show up during your pregnancy?

You just maybe in the 75 percent of women who will experience the linea nigra during pregnancy. This natural pregnancy phenomenon is nothing to worry about, but rather should be embraced. It’s just a sign your pregnancy hormones have kicked into gear.

Let’s discuss what the linea nigra is, why it occurs, when it appears, if there is anything you can do to prevent it, and if it goes away.

What Is The Linea Nigra?

Did You Know?

You’ve actually always had a linea nigra; you probably just never noticed before.

Before pregnancy, this line running down your abdomen is called the linea alba (Latin for “white line”). During pregnancy, this line often darkens and becomes the linea nigra (Latin for “black line”).

Most women will develop this “black line” of pigmentation, which stretches down the center of your enlarging abdomen, at some point throughout their pregnancy. Despite its Latin name, this pregnancy line is never really black, but light to dark brown.

The linea nigra is usually about quarter to half an inch wide and runs vertically from your navel to your pubic bone. For some women, it stretches all the way up to their upper abdomen or even right below their breasts.

This line marks the point where your right and left abdominal muscles meet in the middle. The separation of these muscles, to accommodate your growing uterus is often accompanied by the presence of the linea nigra.

An Old Wives Tale

Rumor has it that this dark line on your belly could help you predict the gender of your baby. One old wives’ tale is that only women who bear boys have this line. Another, more familiar, wives’ tale is that if the line ends at your belly button, then you’re having a girl, but if the line continues up to the bottom of your rib cage, then you’re having a boy.

Keep in mind that these are just myths, and there’s always a 50/50 chance of getting it right. I proved both of these myths wrong, as my linea nigra did show up and extended up into my rib cage, but I ended up having a little girl.

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