Just What Is That On Your Belly?

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Susan Warhus, MD

Your question:
I am 20 weeks pregnant, and have a line of black hair growing on my tummy from my belly button on down. My body hair (arms, legs, etc.) has always been light blonde! I haven't noticed any other strange hair growth. Is this normal, and does it mean anything as far as gender of the baby? Some people have told me it could mean I am having a boy.

The doctor answers:
It is perfectly normal during pregnancy to have a dark line that runs between your navel and your pubic area. This line is caused by pregnancy hormones and usually appears about the fourth or fifth month of pregnancy. The medical term for this skin discoloration is linea nigra, which means black line. Unfortunately, it has absolutely no correlation with the gender of the baby, so you'll have to keep guessing the baby's sex, unless you can sneak a peak during your baby's ultrasound examination!

In addition to the dark line on your lower abdomen, pregnancy sometimes causes other skin changes and discolorations. You may notice that existing moles and freckles become larger and darker. Also, the skin around your nipples may become darker. Some pregnant women notice discoloration on their face, especially the area around the eyes and nose. This is called chloasma, or the mask of pregnancy.

Rest assured that all of these skin changes and discolorations will eventually diminish. Your skin will return to normal within a few months after delivery.PregnancyAndBaby.com


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