All about the fascinating “pregnancy line” that can mark the belly of pregnant women

As melanin levels increase, certain areas of the body darken more. Getty Images

During pregnancy, a brown line may appear between the pubic bone and the breastbone. A dermatologist and a gynecologist take stock of this curious pigmentation.

Since announcing her pregnancy, each of Rihanna’s performances has created the event. The Barbadian singer defies all orders and happily unmasks them baby bump, with lots of crop top, lace-up top or diamond bra. The most observant will even have noticed a brown line running down its abdomen. This pigmentation, also known as “pregnancy lines” or linea nigra, is common. Why is ? Where does she come from ?

Dark skinned and brunettes are more affected

The phenomenon is fairly harmless, Nasrine Callet, a medical gynecologist in Paris, immediately announces. This line “usually occurs in the first trimester of pregnancy when hormones from the mother and those of the developing placenta accelerate the production of melanin, a natural pigment that causes the coloring of hair, body hair, and skin.” So darken as the rate increases certain parts of the body more severe, on the abdomen, from the navel or pubic bone to the breastbone, but also on the nipples or even on the face (spots also known as “pregnancy mask”). “).

This mark can appear on any skin type, but some are more exposed than others. “It’s genetic, but the visible manifestations have a greater impact on darker skin,” says Hugues Cartier, a dermatologist and laser specialist. “Black and brown skin are also affected,” adds gynecologist Nasrine Callet. This type of epidermis and hair shows by its dark color that it has more sensitive melanin receptors than others.

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Sun exposure also accentuates the pregnancy line. Nasrine Callet reminds us that “all pigment spots are photosensitizing” and therefore react to UV rays. To protect yourself from this, the gynecologist recommends taking care of the skin with a moisturizing and, above all, sunscreen cream with a UV index of 50 and +. According to the specialist, folic acid supplementation through food, through leafy vegetables (lettuce, spinach, etc.) also strengthens this protective function against the sun’s rays.

Beware of false beliefs

Aside from a physiological manifestation, some parents and several parenting forums propose an entirely different theory about the pregnancy line. The latter would indicate the sex of the child. “A friend told me that if the line goes from the pubic bone to the navel, it’s a boy and if the line goes below the breasts, it’s a girl,” reads a forum on the website, for example. “This is a Chinese legend that has no scientific basis,” sweeps the gynecologist.

Gradual disappearance in three months

Most of all, those who experience it wonder if the line will persist after pregnancy. “After the birth everything goes back to normal as soon as the placenta is removed. The melanin is no longer stimulated as much and therefore the line gradually fades. This process can take up to three months for darker skin types.”

If the mark persists 4 to 6 months after delivery, a consultation with a doctor or dermatologist may be considered. “We will therefore rule out the risk of skin disease by palpating it and checking if there is no relief, but in my experience this line always disappears,” assures Dr. Nasrine Callet.

“The pregnancy line very rarely warrants treatment, and none are truly effective in the long term,” counters dermatologist Hugues Cartier. Lasers and peelings are not necessary. However, we can recommend a cream based on hydroquinone, a depigmenting agent that can lighten the skin in 6 weeks. However, you must be careful not to cross the midline of the abdomen to avoid lightening the rest of the skin.

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