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Pregnancy nose is a thing. Here's why it happens

The change occurs as hormones change during pregnancy and is normally "harmless" and temporary.

A new TikTok trend is causing people to wonder what the heck happens to women’s noses during pregnancy. Women are sharing before and after pictures with the hash tag 'pregnancy nose' — one photo features their face when pregnant and the other photo when they’re not. In most cases, their nose looks larger during pregnancy.

Does pregnancy cause noses to grow?

For some women, the answer is yes.

“The underlying reason is because of the hormones that are increased in pregnancy and those hormones cause dilation in vessels, which can result in more blood flow going to certain areas — and that’s because we need it for the uterus,” Dr. Christine Greves, an OB-GYN in Orlando, Florida, tells TODAY.com. “It’s not necessarily selective. So, some areas of our body that have mucous membranes do experience increased flow and your nose is one of them.”

While people might not like how they look with pregnancy nose, it’s mostly “harmless.” But it can come with other symptoms.

“The most common (physiological change) being hyperemia of the membranes of the nasal mucosa and sinuses, caused by dilation of blood vessels related to the hormonal changes of pregnancy,” Dr. Eran Bornstein, the vice chair of OB-GYN at Lenox Hill Hospital, tells TODAY.com via email. “This may cause edema/swelling, congestion, nosebleeds and in some cases significant discomfort. In some patients the nose may appear plumper and a different shape.”

While bothersome to some, these changes are temporary.

“It goes back to your normal within six weeks (of giving birth),” Greves says. “I tell people to give yourself grace and expect it to be back to normal. But the timing of it just depends.”

People expect to notice changes to their body, such as a growing bump or even swelling in their legs. Another difference they might notice is that the white line that runs down the middle of the abdomen, the linea alba, darkens and becomes the linea nigra.

“Their pigmentation may change,” Greves says. “That is something women ask me about.”

Bornstein says people might also notice other unexpected differences in their skin.

“Other common visual changes that may manifest in the skin of a pregnant person include hyperpigmentation (darker skin in different areas of the body including face), stretch marks in the skin and the growth of skin tags,” he says.

Some swelling in pregnancy is expected, but doctors do worry if their patients experience quick swelling or are more bloated than the average pregnant person.  

“Rapid or significant swelling that may occur in the face, hands and feet may be related to preeclampsia,” Bornstein says. “Patients that have significant swelling and experience symptoms, such as headache, blurry vision, abdominal pain or nausea/vomiting should contact their provider immediately to be evaluated for preeclampsia.”

Greves says it’s important for health care providers to know about changes during pregnancy and she encourages pregnant people to share any symptoms with their doctors, even if they don’t indicate a health condition.

“Anytime they are worried about anything, they should be mentioning it to their doctor,” she says. “Everyone’s unique and it’s important to mention whatever’s concerning them.”