Pregnancy nose: Pregnancy is a very exciting and special time in a woman’s life but it comes with many changes in the body. Some changes are common and expected, such as swelling and fluid retention, weight gain, enlarged breasts, stretch marks, etc. But some are less familiar such as vision changes and therefore can be scary. In this article we will discuss some of these changes especially about the nose which has been a hot topic in social media lately. We hope by the end of this article you will have learned about the physiology behind these changes and be more prepared for them.
What is pregnancy nose?
Pregnancy nose, or pregnant nose, isn't a medical term, but it’s a pretty common condition which refers to the spreading or enlargement of the nose during pregnancy
What changes during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, there is an increase in blood volume and the levels of hormones, estrogen and progesterone, which causes blood vessels to dilate (especially estrogen) and therefore increases blood perfusion of maternal organs like the uterus to help the pregnancy. But this can also increase blood flow in parts of the body that have mucus membranes for example it can cause hyperemia of the membranes of the nasal mucosa and sinuses which results in edema/swelling of the nose, making it to appear larger and puffier, which is called pregnancy nose. It can also cause nosebleeds, congestion, runny and stuffy nose which is called pregnancy rhinitis. In some women the increase blood flow can cause the capillaries within the lips to increase in density and dilate which makes the lips appear fuller and plumper (especially in the third trimester). This is called pregnancy lips.
The increase in estrogen during pregnancy can make the hair to stay in the growing phase of its cycle for longer and not fallout. That’s why many women experience less hair loss and feel their hair to be a lot thicker.
The increase in progesterone can make the skin to produce more oil. This change in addition to the increase in blood flow of the skin will make the skin to look brighter and glowy, which some people call pregnancy glow.
Why does your nose grow during pregnancy?
As explained above the hormonal changes during pregnancy (increase in estrogen and progesterone) leads to an increase in blood flow all over the body including mucus membrane in the nose which results in swelling and making the nose to appear larger. Furthermore, general weight gain that occurs during pregnancy can expand the face and potentially change the proportion of the nose.
Can you prevent pregnancy nose?
While social media suggest massaging and using some tools like a Gua-Sha to keep the swelling down, but unfortunately there isn’t a miracle product or massage technique to reduce nasal or facial swelling during pregnancy. However you should know that the size and shape of your nose is not indicative of beauty or worth. You should just take care of yourself and pay attention to your body. That includes eating nourishing foods, getting plenty of high-quality sleep, maintaining an active lifestyle and staying hydrated.
You should also keep in mind that pregnancy is not a time to start experimenting with a lot of new skin care so it’s better to just stick to the basics.
When does pregnancy nose start?
Everyone’s pregnancy journey is different but symptoms associated with pregnancy nose usually occur about 20 to 30 weeks into the pregnancy
Is pregnancy nose a cause for concern?
For the most part, slight nose swelling isn't anything to worry about but it may be one side effect of preeclampsia which is a high blood pressure disorder that can occur during pregnancy and needs to be monitored and diagnosed properly. If after 20 weeks of pregnancy, you notice rapid or significant swelling that may occur in the face, hands and feet, in addition to symptoms like blurred vision, headaches, abdominal pain, sudden weight gain, shortness of breath, decreased urine output, heartburn or nausea/vomiting you should notify your doctor immediately.
Will my nose go back to normal after pregnancy?
Rest assured that the swelling of hands, feet and nose are temporary and they usually go back to normal after six-to-eight-weeks of giving birth but for some women, it could take several months or longer.
What is pregnancy rhinitis?
Pregnancy rhinitis refers to an inflammation of the tissues lining the nasal passages which leads to nasal congestion. It affects between 18 and 42 percent of pregnant women.
The symptoms include a runny or congested nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, watery eyes and post-nasal drip, reduced sense of smell, and disturbed sleep. Potential risk factors for pregnancy rhinitis may include smoking or pre-existing rhinitis (i.e., long-lasting stuffy nose before pregnancy)
Pregnancy rhinitis is usually diagnosed by a doctor after ruling out other causes of nasal congestion or irritation, such as allergies, infections (viral or bacterial), or any other respiratory disorders during pregnancy.
Although pregnancy rhinitis may start at any time during pregnancy, it mostly occurs in the first trimester and again in late pregnancy.
Treatment of pregnancy rhinitis
Treatment of pregnancy rhinitis includes avoiding allergens and irritants, Breathe Right strips or saline irrigation with a spray, squirt bottle, or a neti pot (You’ll put saline solution into one nostril and let it drain out of the other nostril). You can also take specific medication but you have to consult your doctor first to make that is safe for use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. It is also crucial to maintain moisture to create a barrier against potential infection so you should hydrate, for example by using a humidifier.
You should avoid nasal decongestants because they aren’t safe in pregnancy.
Complications of pregnancy rhinitis may include worsening of asthma symptoms for people with asthma and ear or sinus infections.
Symptoms of pregnancy rhinitis may come and go during pregnancy but usually last for six weeks or more. And the symptoms typically disappear two weeks after giving birth.
In conclusion, if you are going through pregnancy, you should prepare yourself for a lot of changes in your body and visual appearance like swelling in hands, feet or nose, but you have to keep in mind that most of them will go back to normal after giving birth. You should just take care of yourself and love your new body and don’t let social media make you feel insecure about your new appearance.
You have to be on the lookout for the alarm signs that were mentioned above or any abnormal changes which feels out of the ordinary and contact your doctor as soon as possible.
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