Skin pigmentation changes during pregnancy

Your doctor will be able to diagnose the condition, and make sure that you are given the appropriate treatment, should it be necessary. Learn more about these skin changes by reading the synopsis on each below:

Pigmentation changes?

What else can I do about these pigmentation changes?

With both chloasma and linea nigra, be sure to get enough folic acid by taking a folic acid supplement and eating foods rich in folates (the natural form of folic acid), such as whole grains and leafy green vegetables. Research suggests that folic acid deficiencies may increase skin discolouration.

Chloasma

(pigmentation changes on your face and neck)

Also known as the 'mask of pregnancy', chloasma has the appearance of brown patches of pigmentation on the forehead, cheeks, and neck. It's caused by an increased production of melanin, the tanning pigment, which protects the skin against ultraviolet light.

Exposure to sunlight will darken the patches, making them more obvious, so protect your skin with a high factor sunscreen (SPF 30 or more) and/or hat whenever you go out. If you feel the patches look unsightly, try blending in the colour with a tinted foundation. They will begin to fade within three months of your baby's birth.

Linea Nigra

(dark line running up your tummy)

This is a dark, vertical line, up to a centimetre wide, that appears down the middle of your stomach, often crossing the navel. It tends to appear around the second trimester and is caused by pigmentation in the skin where your abdominal muscles stretch and slightly separate to accommodate your baby as it grows.

This line of pigmentation will fade within a few weeks of delivery, although you may need to give it a gentle rub to remove any dry skin. You will notice that other areas with pigmentation - such as your nipples, moles and freckles - may darken too but this will also fade with time.