Skin Changes During
Linea Nigra and Stretch Marks
Over time, there is a darkening of the maternal skin, in predictable ways.
- Chloasma is a darkening of the facial skin, after the 16th week of
pregnancy, particularly in women with darker complexions and
significant exposure to the sun.. After delivery, the skin clears, but
for some individuals, a persistent darkening of the skin remains.
- Spider telangiectasias are small, bright red, star-shaped skin
discolorations that blanch with direct compression and then return as
soon as the compression is released. After delivery, they will largely
resolve, but some may remain.
- Stretch marks occur primarily in late pregnancy and are due to a
separation of the underlying collagen tissue. They are dark red. After
delivery, they will gradually lighten, ultimately healing as fine,
faint, silvery-gray lines. Who gets them and how severe they are is
dependent on the genetic predisposition of the mother and the degree
of mechanical stress placed on the skin. There are no
scientifically-established methods to either prevent them or treat
them. However, generations of women have applied cocoa butter to the
skin in the belief that it is helpful.
- A "linea nigra" is a dark line running from the pubic bone up the
center of the abdomen to the ribs. This appears late in pregnancy and
is due to a combination of increasing concentration of melanocytes
(skin cells capable of darkening) in that area, plus the high levels
of melanocyte stimulating hormone produced by the placenta.