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The Thin Black Line


The “linea nigra” (“black line” in Latin) is a hormone-induced skin discolouration that typically develops during the second trimester of pregnancy in some women. There is an old wives’ tale that you are having a boy if you develop a linea nigra, but there is no scientific evidence to support this. Personally, I had a boy and I had a linea nigra, but one can’t do statistical analysis with one data point! (Sorry a little bit of the engineer slipped out there.)

The length, thickness and colour of the line varies based on the woman, but generally it extends down the middle of the abdomen from a little above the belly button to down to the public bone. It’s typically brownish in colour, but obviously the colour will be affected by the skin colour of the woman.

Lately I’ve been wondering when mine will go away. It’s been fading since my son was born five months ago and is now completely gone above my belly button, but there is still a circle around my belly button and a line below. Luckily swim suit season isn’t for several months…

The general consensus in online forums is that it fades away by a year after the birth, but I’ve been unable to find any strong/medical references for this. Leave a comment and let me know when yours went away (and for the sake of those old wives, if you had a boy or a girl).

4 Comments leave one →
  1. The Biologist permalink
    03/13/2012 13:12

    three girls – three lines! but I don’t know when they went away. Stretch marks keep the line from being as obvious for some lucky (ha!) people!

  2. Laura permalink
    03/13/2012 19:43

    I didn’t have a line, I had “the mask of pregnancy” instead, not sure if you’re familiar with that one, pigmentation changes around the eyes, I looked like a raccoon for at least a year after having him, but its gone now, so a year sounds about right. Better than the stretch marks, don’t think those will ever go away!

    • 03/13/2012 20:18

      I have heard of that! Do you have any pictures close up of the area? I’m interested to see what it looks like. (Total pregnancy dork here.)

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