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‘Pregnancy nose’ has expectant moms in a dither—and is going viral on the Internet

March 28, 2023

Many women experience a variety of symptoms during their pregnancies—among them, nausea, fatigue, swollen feet, and what’s now being referred to as “pregnancy nose,” reports Fox News.

This latter—a very odd and unusual symptom—is known to change the shape, size or width of a woman’s nose during a pregnancy. The term has been trending on TikTok, with more than 24 million views on videos discussing the topic.

One video posted by user Reece Wood (@tyreecewood1) received 15.9 million views after she showed photos of her face before and during pregnancy.

Wood, who is based in Minnesota, told Fox News that the change in her nose came as a “huge shock.”

“No one warns you about it and just overnight my nose doubled in size,” she said.  “I couldn’t breathe[for] the remainder of my pregnancy!”

The video stirred conversation on the app, with many users sympathizing with Wood while also wondering how “pregnancy nose” happens in the first place.

“A lot of women have thanked me for my video because it made them feel seen and that’s really important to me,” Wood said, adding, “I wish I would’ve had that while I was going through it.”

Dr. Lauren Demosthenes, senior medical director at Babyscripts, a virtual maternity care company, told Fox News via email that a spike in estrogen causes the dilation of blood vessels—including mucous membranes of the nose.

“This may cause the nose to be a little bit swollen,” said South Carolina-based Demosthenes.

“Also, pregnant women can begin to have some facial swelling later in pregnancy, which may cause the nose to look a little larger,” she added.

Liesel Teen, a labor and delivery nurse and founder of Mommy Labor Nurse, an online resource for expectant parents, told Fox by email that, while pregnancy nose is not an actual medical term or condition, the symptom can be “pretty darn noticeable” in some pregnant women.

Teen, of Raleigh, North Carolina, reiterated that elevated hormone levels during pregnancy lead to increased blood flow, sometimes showing up in the nose.

“Pregnancy affects each person differently,” she said. “No two pregnancies are exactly the same, so the same person might have totally different experiences in different pregnancies.”

She continued, “There are dozens (or more) symptoms that women can experience during pregnancy, but it’s uncommon for someone to experience ALL of them.”

Teen explained that everybody “responds differently to hormones, so not all women will experience this lovely phenomenon during pregnancy.” She said that pregnancy nose most commonly tends to show up toward the end of a pregnancy, as blood volume and overall swelling increase; it generally resolves post-delivery.

Demosthenes also said that pregnancy nose is a “temporary condition,” which will normalize along with estrogen levels. “It’s hard to say exactly when, but during the first weeks postpartum, things should return to normal,” she said.

Nosebleeds may also be a common symptom for pregnant women due to hormones, Teen mentioned.

“Hormone changes and increased blood flow to certain places in your body during pregnancy put you at an increased risk for nosebleeds during pregnancy,” she said.

“The blood vessels in your nose (just like the ones throughout your body) expand during pregnancy because of the additional pressure from an increased volume of blood,” she continued.

“Blood vessels in your nose are fragile and break easily—this coupled with increased blood flow makes nosebleeds pretty common,” she added.

Although there is no way to prevent pregnancy nose from occurring, there are several methods to reduce the swelling should it occur. These include staying hydrated by increasing water intake, limiting sodium consumption, and keeping extremities—especially legs and feet—elevated.

Pregnant women should take breaks from standing for long periods of time, or wear compression socks and comfortable footwear if they need to stand for a long period of time.

Research contact: @FoxNews