What is a ‘pregnancy nose’?

On TikTok, many pregnant women seem to be sharing a bizarre experience — about a change in the size of their nose during the last trimester. According to reports, women have been posting before and after pictures with the hashtag ‘pregnancy nose’, with their noses visibly broader and puffier in the second set of images.

“My face got so swollen towards the end of my pregnancy,” TikTok user @alexjoelenejacobson shared in a video, reported allure.com. After revealing a photo from her third trimester, she commented: “My nose feels like it’s a whole inch wider, my face felt so tight.”

While it is being talked about now, turns out it is not anything new. A 2004 study published in National Center for Biotechnology Information noted that nasal physiological changes during pregnancy were seen in all the 18 subjects who were studied from their first trimester of pregnancy and followed through to the postpartum period to monitor the changes that occurred.

The study analysed measurements of the nasal airway including anterior rhinoscopy (AnR), peak inspiratory nasal flow, acoustic rhinometry, anterior rhinomanometry (ARM), and the saccharin test with rhinitis questionnaire scores providing a symptomatic measurement.

Though not a medical term, pregnancy nose is one of the “physiological changes seen in pregnancy due to hormonal surges”, said Dr Manju Gupta, senior consultant, obstetrics and gynaecology, Motherhood Hospital, Noida.

Is it something to be concerned about?

According to Dr Shobha Gupta, medical director, and IVF expert, Mother’s Lap IVF Centre, New Delhi and Vrindavan, hormones produce vascular dilation, which can lead to increased blood flow to specific parts, which is necessary for the uterus. “It isn’t always selective. Its just that your nose is one of the body parts with mucous membranes that experiences increased flow. It is mostly harmless and can be experienced just like any other pregnancy symptoms,” Dr Shobha told indianexpress.com.

So does the nose reverse to its original size?

Dr Manju mentioned that it takes time for the nose to reverse to its original size. “So while it is not evident immediately after the delivery, one can see the difference within 6-8 weeks difference as the hormones subside,” said Dr Manju.