What is pregnancy nose? The little-known gestational side effect trending on TikTok

Pregnant women are taking to the social media platform to share the dramatic changes to their noses, which they were not expecting

Women have been taking to TikTok to share their experiences of 'pregnancy nose'. Photos: Engin Akyurt, Freestocks / Unsplash
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While physical changes during pregnancy are well documented — bigger belly, varicose veins and morning sickness among others — a little-known side effect of pregnancy is currently trending on TikTok, pregnancy nose.

To the uninitiated, pregnancy nose, as the term is dubbed on social media, has become a well-used hashtag which highlights how a woman’s nose can grow during the gestation period. Some women have shared photos and videos of noses that are almost twice their original size.

Videos about pregnancy nose have garnered millions of views as users share their experience of the little-talked-about condition.

What is pregnancy nose?


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“Pregnancy nose is not a medical term, but women’s noses do appear to get bigger, especially toward the end of pregnancy,” says Dr Ruhil Badiani, family physician at Dubai’s Cornerstone Clinic. “Hormones are the culprit as they cause an increase in blood volume. This increase is to support the foetus and uterus while the baby is growing, but all parts of the body end up receiving more blood flow, including the nose.”

Blood volume, as well as plasma, in a pregnant woman’s body can increase from between 20 per cent and 100 per cent, with the average rise being about 45 per cent.

Pregnancy nose: what’s normal, what’s not?

“Swelling, nosebleeds and having a constant runny nose are some of the effects to their noses which pregnant women report,” says Dr Lubna Fatimah, specialist gynaecologist at Aster Clinic, Qusais. “All these changes are physiological, natural and normal. It depends on the individual’s immune response count as to whether some have swelling and some do not.”

While swelling of the face, feet and hands are usual in pregnancy, the rate at which body parts swell is something women need to keep an eye on. Gradual swelling is considered normal, while rapid swelling could be a sign of complications.

“Swelling is normal in the legs, ankles and feet,” says Fatimah, as long as the changes are gradual. Rapid swelling anywhere on the body is "not normal and the woman should speak to her doctor as it could be indicative of pre-eclampsia or hypertension".


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Swelling of the nose and other body parts can happen at any time, while swelling in the feet, ankles and hands are more common towards the end of the second trimester.

“Pregnancy nose is mostly harmless and it usually goes back to normal about six weeks after giving birth,” says Badiani.

What are pregnancy lips?

As well as pregnancy nose, carrying a baby can have an effect on your mouth too, with many women finding they have plumper lips during their nine months.

In 2018, reality star Khloe Kardashian took to Instagram to say she hadn’t undergone lip injections during season 15 of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, but that her new look was due to hormones.

“PSA I was pregnant during the entire season of KUWTK,” she wrote on Instagram. “Some women get ‘pregnancy lips.’ I was one of them, so my lips look crazy and massive. Trust me I know and I hated it!”

Badiani says: “As with the nose, capillaries within the lips increase in density and dilates, especially in the third trimester which makes the lips appear fuller.”

Fatimah adds: “Swollen lips are the result of increased blood supply; however, it is also common to have dry or chapped lips in early pregnancy.”

What causes the pregnancy 'glow'?

The pregnancy 'glow' is down to increased blood flow and the hormones oestrogen and progesterone. Photo: Ollis / Unsplash

Telling a pregnant woman she is “glowing” is a common compliment to pay, but what is the “glow” and what causes it?

“Basically, it’s down to hormones, specifically an increase in oestrogen and progesterone,” says Fatimah. “Blood vessels are more dilated and increases the blood flow, resulting in a 'glow'.”

Badiani adds: “Hormones such as progesterone also increase the amount of oil your skin produces and will make your skin look brighter."

An old wives' tale states that women only get the glow if they’re expecting a boy, while expectant mothers of girls experience skin breakouts. But, Fatimah says, “There’s no connection.”

Also adding to the “glow” is the fact many women report having not only thicker, but also shiner hair during pregnancy, and experience far less hair loss during this time.

“The natural hair cycle means that each individual hair grows, then rests for two to three months before it is pushed out for a new hair to grow from the same follicle,” says Badiani.

“The cycle changes during pregnancy and from around 15 weeks, many women will notice their hair feels a lot thicker. This is due to the increase in oestrogen during pregnancy, which causes the hair to stay in the growing phase of its cycle for longer and not fall out to be replaced by new hair.”

Updated: February 04, 2023, 4:01 AM