What is linea nigra?
Linea nigra, literally meaning ‘the black line’, is one of the most common signs of pregnancy, characterized by a dark brownish line running up your abdomen between the pubic area and bellybutton, or even higher . It is usually about 0.25 inch to 0.5 inch wide, growing darker as your pregnancy advances 
What causes linea nigra during pregnancy?
Like most other skin changes during this time, the increasing hormone levels are usually responsible for linea nigra in the second and third trimesters. Linea alba is a white line running down from the belly button in all humans . Although it remains quite unnoticeable before pregnancy, the increased melanin production due to the higher pregnancy hormone levels  cause it to turn darker and more conspicuous .
What are the risk factors for linea nigra?
- Belonging to a dark skinned ethnic group, such as the Asians and Africans, as the higher amount of pigmentation in the skin increases the chances of hyperpigmentation symptoms like linea nigra and the mask of pregnancy .
- Exposure to direct sunlight as the UV rays worsen the hyper-pigmentation, leading to a darker line 
When does linea nigra appear in pregnancy?
Most women notice the dark line toward the end of the first trimester or in the second trimester. It is also normal for the line to gain pigmentation, becoming darker as your pregnancy advances . Those expecting twins or triplets may notice the skin darkening earlier in the first trimester due to the higher hormone levels.
When does the linea nigra line go away?
In most cases, the dark line fades gradually after you give birth and the pregnancy hormone levels start going down to normal. It is normal for it to linger for the months you are breastfeeding your baby. It usually takes around a year to lose the dark pigment; however, it might not disappear completely even after delivery .
Is there anything you can do for the removal of the linea nigra?
There is no way to get rid of it during pregnancy; however, you can take a few measures to check the amount of skin darkening.
- Wearing protective clothing or using an SPF 15 sunscreen lotion to protect your belly from exposure to direct sunlight
- Eating lots of folic acid-rich foods and taking your prenatal vitamins, as some studies show folic acid deficiency to be related to hyperpigmentation 
Applying some fresh lemon juice on the area or rubbing it with some rubbing alcohol might help to lighten the pigmentation. But, it is recommended to consult your physician before considering these methods. Use of any skin lightening cream or laser therapy should be avoided due to potential harm to the unborn baby.
Developing linea nigra: are you having a boy or a girl?
According to common old wives’ tales, having the brownish line running from the pubic area only to the bellybutton indicates that it is a girl. On the other hand, if it extends above the bellybutton to just below your ribcage area, it means you are having a boy. Another baby gender related myth says having a crooked line means it is a girl and a straight line means it is a boy. However, there is no scientific evidence to back these theories.
- References +