What’s ’Pregnancy nose’? Experts explain – TODAY

Expert-approved picks from Walmart’s ‘largest deals event ever’ — up to 89% off

Follow today
More Brands
Tyreece Gilligan knew her body would change when she got pregnant. She wasn’t prepared however, for the “startling” transformation of her facial features.
“When I was three months pregnant, my nose grew three sizes,” Gilligan, 26, of Minnesota, tells TODAY.com, adding that her skin also dried out, her body odor changed and her naturally curly hair flattened and frayed.
Although she was self-conscious about her face, Gilligan’s doctor assured her that “pregnancy nose” — when nasal mucus membranes inflate due to surging blood flow and hormones — was normal and likely temporary.
Two weeks after delivering her son, Gilligan’s nose shrank back to its normal size. Today, she can laugh about her discomfort, grateful to be the mom of a toddler.
Gilligan shared before-and-after photos of her pregnancy on TikTok, where her video got more than 16 million views and hundreds of comments.
According to Dr. Nicole Alicia Sparks, a board-certified OB/GYN, two hormones that increase during pregnancy are responsible for swollen body parts, including the nose.
“There are so many physiological changes during pregnancy, with the key factors estrogen and progesterone,” Sparks tells TODAY.com. “Estrogen causes blood vessels to dilate and can make the nose look fuller, rounder or bigger and progesterone increases blood flow to the mucus membranes.”
According to Sparks, not everyone’s nose grows in pregnancy; when it happens, it’s usually toward the third trimester and it typically reverts to original size in a matter of months. There’s no way to prevent “pregnancy nose,” adds Sparks.
Women with severe swelling, especially in the third trimester, says Sparks, should seek medical attention to rule out pregnancy complications.
New mom Abby Heath also shared a TikTok video of her changing face in pregnancy with the caption, “Normalize pregnancy nose and swelling.”
Heath, who gave birth two months ago, didn’t notice how much her face — and in particular her nose — had changed until she looked at her pregnancy photos.
“My forehead also got puffy and I had a double chin,” she tells TODAY.com. “Everything got bigger and swollen.”
Although Heath’s husband swore he didn’t notice a change in her face and friends assured her that she looked normal, she avoided photos — which Heath says she now regrets, given her college graduation ceremony fell days before she gave birth.
Heath’s nose is nearly back its original size, she said in a TikTok video.
“Even if my nose doesn’t go back to the way it was beforehand, I am OK with that,” she said. “I feel like, even if I do keep losing weight and the swelling keeps going down … my body is still going to look different than it did before I had a baby, because I had a baby and my body is supposed to change and that’s OK.”
Becky Hathaway is seven months pregnant with her second child and she’s already seeing signs of “pregnancy nose,” which she had in her first pregnancy.
“I went past 40 weeks and was living in Florida at the time, where it was super hot, which contributed to my (swelling),” Hathaway tells TODAY.com. “I was really insecure about it and I believed that my facial features were changing permanently. My doctor just said I was swollen.”
Hathaway, whose daughter is now 4, says it took approximately one year after giving birth for the swelling in her nose to reduce.
Remember that pregnancy is a big period of emotional and physical growth, says Jennifer Meyers, a certified nurse-midwife at the Mayo Clinic Health System.
“Just like you don’t notice the rate at which your kids grow, you see your face several times a day,” she says. “You might not notice (the size of your nose) until you look back in photos.”
Now pregnant again, Hathaway isn’t bothered by the size of her nose.
“I know it’s temporary,” she says, adding, “I am giving myself a lot more grace.”
Elise Solé is a writer and editor who lives in Los Angeles and covers parenting for TODAY Parents. She was previously a news editor at Yahoo and has also worked at Marie Claire and Women’s Health. Her bylines have appeared in Shondaland, SheKnows, Happify and more.


Leave a Comment