18.04.2024

I’m an expert – this is what causes ‘pregnancy nose’

Women are well aware of what to expect when they’re expecting: sore breasts, swollen ankles, nausea and fatigue are common.

But did you know one facial feature may unexpectedly and dramatically change while pregnant?

Take a scroll through pregnancy TikTok and you’ll find advice for expectant parents and the trials and tribulations you can expect with each trimester.

Yet you’ll likely also stumble across a new trend that’s swept across the platform: ‘pregnancy nose’.

It is not known how many women are affected by the phenomenon — which sees a woman’s nose expand and change shape before giving birth.

Take a scroll through pregnancy TikTok and you’ll find advice for expectant parents and the trials and tribulations you can expect with each trimester. Yet you’ll likely also stumble across a new trend that’s swept across the platform: ‘pregnancy nose’. According to Professor Adam Taylor, the director of the Clinical Anatomy Learning Centre and professor of anatomy at Lancaster University, the facial alteration may be ‘more noticeable for some women’

Take a scroll through pregnancy TikTok and you'll find advice for expectant parents and the trials and tribulations you can expect with each trimester. Yet you'll likely also stumble across a new trend that's swept across the platform: 'pregnancy nose'. According to Professor Adam Taylor, the director of the Clinical Anatomy Learning Centre and professor of anatomy at Lancaster University, the facial alteration may be 'more noticeable for some women'

In one video viewed over 13million times, TikTok user @tyreecewood1 shared pictures of herself pre-pregnancy and during her pregnancy, and added: ‘sorry not sorry I’ll never get over it’

She added: 'sorry not sorry I'll never get over it'.

In another video viewed more than 4million times, @kellieamartinez said: ‘This was six months before I got pregnant. Never had a big nose, everything’s fine.’ After revealing photos of herself during pregnancy, she added: ‘Who is that?’

According to Professor Adam Taylor, the director of the Clinical Anatomy Learning Centre and professor of anatomy at Lancaster University, the facial alteration may be ‘more noticeable for some women’.

He explained: ‘The reason it happens is due to the significant increases in hormone levels during pregnancy – particularly because of the increase in oestrogen, which relaxes the blood vessels in all the body’s tissue.

‘This allows more blood into the nose’s tissue, causing it to expand and change shape – looking larger and puffier.’

However, it is also ‘nothing to worry about’, as nose growth ‘typically resolves’ itself within six weeks of giving birth, once hormones return to typical levels, Professor Taylor said.

In one video viewed over 13million times, TikTok user @tyreecewood1 shared pictures of herself pre-pregnancy, when her nose looked narrow and small, and during her pregnancy, when it appeared much wider, and added: ‘sorry not sorry I’ll never get over it’.

When should you see a doctor?

It’s normal to experience some swelling in pregnancy, particularly in your legs, ankles, feet, nose and fingers.

According to the NHS, it’s often worse at the end of the day and further into your pregnancy.

However, a sudden increase in swelling can be a sign of pre-eclampsia, a condition that needs to be monitored as soon as possible, the NHS said.

Anyone experiencing the following symptoms should contact their midwife, GP or labour ward immediately:

  • A sudden increase in swelling in the face, hands or feet
  • Very bad headache
  • Vision problems such as blurring or flashing lights in your eyes
  • Severe pain just below your ribs
  • Vomiting with any of these symptoms

In another video viewed more than 4million times, @kellieamartinez said: ‘This was six months before I got pregnant. Never had a big nose, everything’s fine.’

After revealing photos of herself during pregnancy, in which her nose looked puffier, she added: ‘Who is that?’

The significant increases in hormone levels can also cause nosebleeds and a blocked, runny or itchy nose, known medically as pregnancy rhinitis, Professor Taylor said.

This commonly affects around one in five pregnant women.

One 2013 study published in Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, found among 117 pregnant women, 39 per cent experienced pregnancy rhinitis.

But Professor Taylor warned ‘pregnancy nose’ wasn’t the only peculiar bodily change women may experience.

He added: ‘The heart also develops thicker muscles and changes size during pregnancy.

‘This is because the heart has to work a lot harder at this time – beating up to eight times more per minute compared to pre-pregnancy – in order to pump the additional volume of blood around the body and to the baby.

‘In some cases, the amount of blood a woman circulates throughout her body doubles during pregnancy. This helps ensure there’s enough oxygen getting to the baby to support its development.’

Other differences may also include changes in skin colour and oral health and increased hair growth.

Professor Taylor said: ‘Increases in oestrogen and progesterone can make the gums more susceptible to bleeding, infection and damage.

‘In fact, approximately 70 per cent of pregnant women experience gingivitis [inflammation of the gums].

He added: ‘Teeth are also at an increased risk of damage and cavities during pregnancy, especially if a woman has experienced morning sickness.

‘This is because stomach acid can dissolve the protective lining on teeth.’

Changing oestrogen levels and increases in the hormone, relaxin, may also cause teeth to feel ‘wobbly’, he said.

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