Is Pregnancy Nose Real?

Pregnancy | | Nicole Lane
5 min read

Forget the pregnancy “glow,” we’re talking about what you may see “grow.” Beyond swollen breasts, enlarged feet, and a growing belly, there’s something else that new moms are reporting during pregnancy. 

The social media app, TikTok, is filled with videos of moms-to-be showing photos of their noses before and after with a staggering difference being very apparent. The new video trend has people wondering: Wait, does your nose actually change and grow during pregnancy? 

The hashtag #pregnancynose on TikTok has 262 million views with women posting captions like, “Pregnancy will humble you,” or “I’m going to be so cute when I’m pregnant, I can’t wait!” following a string of images showing women with a much larger and wider nose. 

So, what’s up with this new trend? Is it real and is it common? 

The short answer is: yes, while “pregnancy nose,” isn’t an actual medical term, a side effect of pregnancy hormones is a swollen and enlarged nose. 

Pregnancy Nose Causes

When you’re pregnant, estrogen helps the fetus mature and continues to increase throughout your pregnancy. They are at their peak during the third trimester. The increase in estrogen is most commonly linked to nausea, which we know as morning sickness. However, estrogen also dilates the blood vessels, which contributes to swelling all over the entire body from your feet to your nose. 

When the blood vessels dilate, the nose can look engorged and bulbous. 

People with a larger nose near the end of their pregnancy may also experience an inflammation of the nasal cavities, where sneezing, congestion, and a runny nose are induced. This condition, called rhinitis, impacts 39% of pregnant women. One in five women experience nosebleeds during pregnancy as well. 

Additional swelling to the body may include swelling of the legs, and feet, or a noticeable white line that runs down the middle of your belly, which may darken in color. These are all due to estrogen levels increasing, according to the American Pregnancy Association

Is Pregnancy Nose Permanent? 

Luckily for new moms, pregnancy nose is temporary. Within six weeks after giving birth, you can expect your nose to go back to normal. 

A few ways to manage and cope with pregnancy nose include: elevating your head while sleeping, applying a cold compress to your nose, avoiding too much salt to prevent fluid retention, and investing in a humidifier. 

Unfortunately, there are no bullet-proof methods for reducing swelling at the moment. Like most things in pregnancy, you just have to ride it out. 

For rhinitis, your OBGYN may offer a nasal spray that gives you some relief. A neti pot is another option for removing any mucus from the nasal cavity. 

When Can Swelling Be a Concern? 

While most people experience swelling, if it occurs suddenly or is more than the average person, doctors may begin to worry as it may be a sign of preeclampsia

Swelling that comes on quickly in the face, hands, or feet could be a symptom of this condition which is a blood pressure condition that is serious if not treated. This condition usually appears after the 20th week of pregnancy and is when someone has high blood pressure and high levels of protein in their urine. 

Treating preeclampsia includes oral or IV medications, antihypertensive drugs that lower blood pressure, anticonvulsant medications to prevent seizures, and corticosteroids to protect the baby’s lungs. 

Preeclampsia impacts the baby in a plethora of ways. Low birth weight, preterm birth, brain injury, learning disorders, deafness, blindness, and stillbirth are several of the outcomes that could occur. 

If you are pregnant and experience rapid swelling, headache, blurry vision, and nausea, contact your doctor immediately. 

Other Strange Pregnancy Changes

Heart – In preparation for your baby’s delivery, a mother’s heart physically grows bigger while pregnant. The heart begins to have thicker muscles, as it has to work overtime for two, and beats up to eight times more during pregnancy to ensure there is enough oxygen for the baby. 

Skin – While you might have heard of pregnancy “glow,” women tend to have darker skin while pregnant. In fact, 75% of women experience this common phenomenon, called melasma, which usually goes away after birth. While the reasoning for a change in complexion isn’t understood by doctors, they believe it’s due to the increase in oestrogen and progesterone. Women who take birth control may also experience melasma. 

Gums and teeth – Approximately 70% of women have gingivitis during pregnancy. Increases in oestrogen and progesterone impact the gums and make them more sensitive to bleeding and infection. And your gums aren’t the only thing at risk. For women who experience nausea and vomiting, teeth can be damaged from stomach acid

Earaches – During pregnancy, the body is working overtime. This means that increased oxygen and blood volume may lead to your heart working harder. If you have an earache, it may be because some of this fluid has been built up inside of your ear. Over-the-counter pain medication and warm compresses may help as treatment. But always talk to your doctor before ingesting any medicine. 

Overall — maybe more than you think — your body changes during pregnancy. Whether it’s a larger nose, larger boobs, or a larger waist, the body’s ability to give birth and produce life is a gift. And before you begin frantically finding a solution to reduce your nose size, remember millions of women are experiencing the same phenomenon, and remember that there is a light — and a newborn — at the end of the tunnel.

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