You don’t need us to tell you the many ways your body can change during pregnancy. But if you’ve suddenly noticed that your face looks different, and you’re sporting lips that look freshly injected or a nose you don’t recognize, you might be wondering what the heck is going on with that pregnant body of yours.
In fact, you’re far from alone. Pregnancy nose and pregnancy lips are all over TikTok, with plenty of expecting mamas waxing poetic about their suddenly swollen facial features. Curious about why it happens, how common it is, and if it’s a cause for concern? Two OB-GYNs gave Scary Mommy the nitty gritty on pregnancy nose and lips.
What causes pregnancy nose and lips?
As with most things pregnancy-related, you can blame it on the hormones, baby. The specific hormone behind the swell is progesterone, which increases throughout one’s pregnancy, as Jill Hechtman, MD, an OB-GYN with OB Hospitalists of Florida, part of Pediatrix Medical Group, explains. Progesterone can cause water retention throughout the body, along with increased blood flow, which helps the uterus to grow to accommodate the fetus. “This can lead to nasal swelling as well as a runny nose and/or feeling stuffy,” she says.
That puffy-faced look is pretty common, adds Kim Langdon, MD, an OB-GYN with Medzino. Both doctors share that while it can happen during the first trimester, it’s more common during the later stages of pregnancy in the second and third trimesters.
When should you be concerned?
While it’s typically pretty normal, there are some potential causes for concern to be aware of if you notice swelling that comes on suddenly and affects the hands, feet, and calves, says Langdon.
Sudden, rapid swelling that impacts more than just your face could be a sign of preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication related to kidney function that typically affects people in the later stages of pregnancy (20 weeks or beyond), although it can occur during early pregnancy. According to the Mayo Clinic, preeclampsia occurs when there’s a potentially dangerous spike in blood pressure. It’s a serious condition that can impact both mother and baby, so both doctors advise seeking immediate medical care if you notice excessive swelling or fluid retention beyond your standard pregnancy nose and/or lips.
How long does it last?
Thankfully, most cases of facial swelling do not indicate a serious health concern, and Hechtman notes that “during the postpartum period (aka the first six weeks after delivery), the swelling will subside, and your normal nose and lips will return.”
Does it cause any other side effects?
Chalk it up to yet another incredible way your body helps prepare you to deliver a baby. Along with swollen lips, some TikTokers have noticed that their speech pattern is even different, with TikToker Isabella Newman sharing, “Pregnant lips are a thing! I now have a lisp.”
As for your nose, you might also deal with the dreaded pregnancy congestion, in which the increased blood flow to your nasal passages brings with it excessive mucus that can cause a runny nose, stuffiness, and snoring while you snooze. (As if you’re not already dealing with enough sh*t, right?). Unfortunately, a boost in blood flow can also mean increased chances for bloody noses, so you’ll probably want to have the tissues on hand at all times.
While it all might feel uncomfortable and unpleasant, it’s a pretty standard part of the pregnancy process. That said, if anything bothers you or simply doesn’t feel right, checking in with your doctor is always a solid move. You’ll be back to looking — and feeling — like yourself again in no time.