Pregnancy Nose is a Real Thing—This is Why It Happens

Pregnancy Nose is a Real Thing—This is Why It Happens featured image
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Pregnancy brings about a lot of changes to the body, and one of the many side effects is a strange but true phenomenon known as pregnancy nose. Around the fifth month, visible changes to the nose can ensue, causing it to swell, spread, and take on a broader look. Scottsdale, AZ plastic surgeon Brian A. Gawley, MD says the idea of pregnancy nose is not a new phenomenon and has recently become more popular as a point of discussion because of social media—even on TikTok, videos of pregnancy noses are trending. “It’s normal for there to be visible changes to the nose that stem from hormonal changes related to pregnancy,” Dr. Gawley says. Most women who experience pregnancy nose say the effects go away, but if your nose looks different after delivery, this is what to do about it.

What Happens to the Nose During Pregnancy

The body experiences an influx of hormones during pregnancy that causes blood vessels throughout the face to dilate. Unfortunately, this uptick in blood flow can also result in the nose retaining more than normal amounts of fluid, causing it to become inflamed. “When this happens, there’s an engorgement of the sinuses and internal and external nasal vessels, although that engorgement or enlargement of the nose is often temporary,” Dr. Gawley shares. 

While some women experience a spreading of the nose, giving it a broader look, others notice an enlarged appearance overall. Women who notice changes to their nose while expecting may also see a loss of definition in the bridge, a widening or flaring of the nostrils and a bit of a fuller, more inflamed-looking nose. New York plastic surgeon Mokhtar Asaadi, MD adds that general weight gain and fluid collection within the body can cause pregnancy-related changes to the nose and other body parts, including the face, hands and feet. “Usually, the buildup of fluids is not very drastic nor significant,” he says. But every woman is different, and some find the changes dramatic.

Since nasal changes during pregnancy are directly related to an influx of hormones, namely estrogen and progesterone, there is nothing you can do to stop nasal changes from happening. Dr. Gawley says that typically, any changes to the shape and size of the nose will resolve six to eight weeks after delivery, but for some women, it can take longer.

Is There Any Downside to Pregnancy Nose?

If you experience pregnancy nose, the swelling is likely nothing to worry about. San Jose, CA plastic surgeon Kirk Churukian, MD says that pregnancy nose is seldom permanent, and most changes are temporary. However, there is the possibility, albeit rare, that changes to the nose can affect the sinuses leading to nasal congestion that mimics some symptoms of the common cold and an increased risk of nosebleeds. 

According to Dr. Churukian, pregnancy nose usually resolves on its own and typically does not require treatment following delivery aside from diuretics. While the nose recovers, he says the same cannot be said of the torso and legs. “Abdominoplasty and varicose vein ablation are often required to treat the post-partum body.”

What to Do If You Don’t Like Your Post-Pregnancy Nose

Post-partum changes are normal and expected, and many women embrace their new-found bodies. But if you experience changes to your nose, it doesn’t mean you need to run to your plastic surgeon for rhinoplasty to fix it. Dr. Gawley treats several patients for common pregnancy-related changes, including pregnancy nose, stretch marks, hyperpigmentation of the face and body, and vascular changes like spider veins and telangiectasias. 

Even though TikTokers have shared videos of themselves using Gua Sha tools to reclaim their pre-pregnancy nose, that likely will do little to improve its size and shape.

So if the lingering effects of pregnancy nose are bothersome long after you’ve delivered, Dr. Gawley says creating a plan to improve it is best. “In my practice, we use vascular lasers such as BBL to treat hyperpigmentation, superficial vascular lesions, and redness on the nose.” But in most cases, time and a little bit of patience are all it takes for everything to settle back to baseline eventually—your nose included. 

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