What is ‘pregnancy nose’ and is it a real condition?

I’ve made it abundantly clear that I was woefully unprepared for anything having to do with pregnancy or raising babies when I did either. However, this is one of the few things I actually did know about going into it: pregnancy nose. Only we didn’t call it that. I knew it as ‘pregnancy spread’ and it applied to a lot more than just your nose. The phenomena has reached TikTok and several celebrities are talking about how they were caught off guard by this new, larger schnoz confronting them in the mirror somewhere around their second trimester. But don’t worry, it’s – you guessed it – a hormonal thing. And like most hormonal things, your cute little button nose will come back about six weeks after baby arrives.

A new social media trend has parents showing off photos of an unexpected change before and after giving birth: pregnancy nose.

TikTok users have recently used the the hashtag #PregnancyNose to try and understand how their noses became noticeably larger during and after pregnancy compared to before.

Many celebrities have also opened up about their own experiences having pregnancy nose, including former Love & Hip Hop: New York star Cyn Santana, when she was expecting her first child with Joe Budden, and Chrissy Teigen, when she was expecting her second child with John Legend.

While pregnancy comes with a lot of physical changes, here’s what to know about pregnancy nose, which is actually very common.

Pregnancy nose is a real symptom that can cause swelling or puffiness of the nose due to increased blood flow.

“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, a Florida-based OB-GYN, told Today. “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.”

Greves noted that although some people may be bothered by the change, it goes back to normal within six weeks of giving birth.

Dr. Shannon M. Clark, a professor in maternal-fetal medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, explained to NBC News that the symptom is very common.

“There’s typical physiological changes of pregnancy that occur in everyone, the first being basal dilation, where you have dilation of the blood vessels of the body,” she said, noting she also experienced pregnancy nose. “I had it when I was pregnant with my twins. That’s why my nose wasn’t only swollen but it was more red.”

Clark told the outlet that while pregnancy nose isn’t harmful, pregnant people should contact their medical providers if they’re experiencing swelling of the face and hands after 20 weeks, in addition to blurred vision and headaches, as it could be signs of preeclampsia.

[From People]

I don’t remember my nose getting bigger for my pregnancies. I don’t have a particularly small nose in the first place, so I’m not sure I would notice it taking up even more of my face. I was curious so I looked it up, a cosmetically altered nose can still be affected by pregnancy, but it won’t affect the shape permanently. After the woman gives birth, the nose will go back to what it looked like post-surgery.

I didn’t know dilation was causing pregnancy spread. I’ve seen some wild spreads, too. And seemingly for no rhyme or reason. I knew a very slight lady who got pregnant, and her bottom blew up into something a Kardashian would have spent thousands on about ten years ago. Six weeks post-partum and it popped right back to her tiny tush. Wildest thing I ever saw. Also, from what I understand, these spreads don’t hurt, they are simply surprising. But do pay attention to the note about whole face swelling and hand swelling after 20 weeks pregnant because that’s possibly preeclampsia and that’s something you very much need to monitor. As for your new nose, it’s just another *gift* from your impending bundle of joy, along with heartburn, disappearing feet, plantar fasciitis, mood swings, hair thinning, acne…

Photo credit: Instagram and Cover Images

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45 Responses to “What is ‘pregnancy nose’ and is it a real condition?”

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  1. Kathleen Penland says:

    I was completely caught off guard by this and my nose grew like three sizes! Of course I had to get a new license with my new nose and the difference is so obvious. I’m really not super vain but that nose… it was rough.

    • May Bench says:

      I had to use a small hand truck to carry my nose as it got as big as a pumpkin.

    • DouchesOfCambridge says:

      While other mothers-to-be were full of energy and dressed fashionable to the last day of their pregnancy, there I was, throwing up day and night non- stop, dressed in my husband’s elastic plaid pyjamas and his old stretched out t-shirts, and lucky me, I took on about 60pounds during my pregnancy, all that, probably with a fat nose that I probably didn’t notice because I was glowing like a strawberry field with my gazilion zits. Hey some women have it worst: some develop a RACCOON MASK in their faces.

  2. The Old Chick says:

    Face, hands, boobs feet until I lost mine later than normal. So an unfortunate early early. But the spread was real from 2 weeks. I noticed Meghan’s facial spread especially, mostly because of idiots saying she was faking. She had heaps of facial spread

    • L84Tea says:

      Ha, I just said the same thing!

    • teek says:

      Pregnancy spread is a real thing….thankfully for most, everything goes back to normal after having the baby, mine did. even the my hips. I was back in my pre-pregnancy clothes in less than a month. I also had a severe anxiety disorder, that kept me for eating for months. I could only feed formula. I wasn’t able to breast feed. Glad to be back to my prepragnancy size but not happy to the severe anxiety that caused it.

  3. L84Tea says:

    The pregnancy nose spread is one of the biggest reasons I always say I can’t believe there are nuts out there who refuse to believe the Duchess of Sussex was pregnant with Archie–nose spread is not something you can fake and it was on full display when H&M presented baby Archie to the reporters. You look like yourself, but you don’t. I definitely experienced it with both of my pregnancies. I was told it has something to do with allowing more oxygen to get in since pregnancy can make you short of breath. But who knows.

    • Noki says:

      Also Beyonce had it on her first pregnancy so I never got why the fake bump stories were so crazy.

      • Margot says:

        I also remember JLo’s nose changed when she was pregnant with her twins! Not that her pregnancy was a conspiracy theory or anything, but I remember it being noticable.

    • Reborn Rich says:

      Yes. That’s how I knew each time Meg was pregnant. It’s very obvious and very specific.

  4. Kelly says:

    Rihanna definitely had pregnancy nose.

    • Noki says:

      Yes Rhianna had it, and I usual y notice the spread on WOC but I just remembered that Kim K had the lips and Victoria Beckham had the nose spread too.

  5. minnieder says:

    In my first pregnancy I got an epic ass spread. I’m a smaller built person, and my ass looked like it belonged on a completely different body. I have some funny pictures that were taken walking behind me, my face turned backwards towards the camera so you can’t see my huge belly and they are still hilarious 20 years later! Luckily my ass returned to pre-pregnancy proportions.

  6. JJ McClay says:

    Oh my god, my nose swelled up INTERNALLY while I was pregnant, and I couldn’t breathe through my nose from 34 weeks until 14 weeks postpartum. It sounds dumb, but it was hugely traumatic. I found it near impossible to sleep because I could never get enough air. I was sleeping 3-5 hours a night that whole time. I was a mess, and it’s stopped me having another baby. I’m actually having surgery in a month’s time to hopefully prevent (or minimize) it happening again, if I can drum up the courage to have a second.

    All sorts of health metrics decrease when you breathe through your mouth instead of your nose. Anyone interested should read Breathe by James Nestor, it’s an awesome book. You’ll never think about your nose the same way again!

  7. Molly says:

    I didn’t *think* my nose got bigger… until I looked back at pregnancy pictures weeks/months later. Yikes!

    • mtos says:

      Yep, same. Honestly everything spread/swelled with my second. But yah, the nose spread is real. I also had pregnancy mask. I was told it only happened to WOC but I’m as pale as they come and it happened to me.

      • molly says:

        My husband called it my “faux-stache” since, yep, all my freckles seems to melt together and spread to new places.

  8. SomeChick says:

    all I can see is People printing “try and understand”
    really, People? try to understand what is wrong with that! lol. do they have interns writing these things?

  9. Noki says:

    I have experienced it and have seen the pregnancy nose but I have only noticed it in WOC.

  10. Imara219 says:

    Oh, it’s definitely a thing. Beyonce’s nose was wider with the twin pregnancy. My nose did a little bit, but it’s better than gums bleeding. 😬

  11. AngryJayne says:

    The number 1 reason I will never believe for a second that Beyonce and Z didn’t have a surrogate the first time around- is because she had no zero volume changes in her legs, hands, or face.
    Enter the twins- her body did a 180.
    Just sayin’

    • Imara219 says:

      Also important to note that those types of body changes are different with each pregnancy, though. Her voice definitely changed after Blue (deeper, raspier than it was before), and you can’t mimic or fake that; Keke Wyatt joked how having babies changed her voice and singing vocal cords. So just because we didn’t see a huge physical change with Bey with Blue that doesn’t mean she wasn’t pregnant.

    • Jais says:

      Um, I would assume that a body would change differently if carrying two kids vs one. A person can carry differently for each pregnancy, whether it’s a girl v a boy, whether it’s twins. Don’t think that’s proof of anything.

      • AngryJayne says:

        I also recall the over the top pregnancy shoot she released with her twins, among other things – that simply didn’t occur when they were expecting Blue.
        And naturally I’m aware of the changes someone undergoes hosting 1 child vs 2.
        But thank you kindly for stating the obvious.
        I said what I said.

      • Imara219 says:

        @ Jais Yep, also, I think Bey was more skittish/nervous with Blue. They kept that one a secret for a hot minute (I know that feeling all too well, and I was that way with my pregnancy. I barely wanted to really discuss it with people or do anything big or flashy), and they went all out more with the twins because as both Jay Z and Beyonce stated it felt like a rebirth and blessing for them; apparently, it caught them off guard, and people forget that Blue was a rainbow baby, which probably added to her fear. I think Beyonce was just ready to celebrate more with the twins versus the first, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t carry Blue.

    • Dottibug says:

      @angryjayne I have 2 kids and had no volume changes in my legs, hands, or face during both pregnancies. So that doesn’t strike me as strange at all. I was all boobs and belly. Everybody’s different 🤷‍♀️

  12. Erin says:

    I didn’t have my nose spread but I sure as hell had feet spread! I had really high arches before and even went to the doctor as a child because they would hurt so bad. I think the pregnancy with my twins is what really did them in though. My arches fell some and spread and I got new callouses on the bottoms in weird spots I never had before and my shoes are all slightly tighter even though I’m back to pre pregnancy weight.

    • Reborn Rich says:

      My feet grew half a size which each pregnancy.

    • NotSoSocialB says:

      That’s a real thing– I used to be a 6B shoe in my late 20s. There is a hormone your pregnant body makes called relaxin, that allows your ligaments to stretch to facilitate birth. A singleton, a set of twins and 20+ yrs later, I wear an 8-8.5 wide, in most cases. Also the reason for the miserable symphysis pubis pain of late pregnancy when you walk. I recall a particular photo about 7 mos along with my twins, and I definitely had some nose spread!

  13. Becks1 says:

    I didn’t have pregnancy nose but everything else swelled up horribly (not pre-e, just really really extreme swelling.) Like I couldn’t wear shoes by the end of either pregnancy because my feet did not fit in them. I remember with my first, I brought jeans to wear home from the hospital (maternity jeans) and I could not get them up over my thighs (he was a May baby so I hadn’t worn jeans in a while but still, yikes.) I had a long labor with him and then a c-section and if anything my post birth swelling was worse than the pre birth. With my second I was smarter and just brought yoga pants to wear home with Uggs (it was November) but I couldn’t get my foot into the uggs bc it was so swollen it couldn’t make the “bend” so to speak lol.

    And the plantar fasciitis has never really gone away, 8 years later. My body did get back to normal after my first but after my second I’m still trying to accept that this is just my “new normal” sigh.

  14. Beana says:

    Pregnancy hormones can make all your ligaments loosen – and also make your feet spread. I went from a shoe size of 8.5 to 10. Permanently. Had to buy all new shoes.

  15. Hootenannie says:

    20 weeks pregnant, nose definitely spreading. It feels weird because my face doesn’t actually look fuller otherwise!

    I don’t look pregnant from the front or directly behind me, but the side is a trip. I was prepared to get a bump but the thing is I’ve always had a really round butt, and it sticks kind of far out from my body. Now that I’ve got this big raised belly, I look like a $ from the side. I feel ridiculous at the gym.

    Also my boobs have gotten huge and it’s frustrating, I’m almost certain I won’t be able to breastfeed due to my medication regimen (won’t change unless something happens and it absolutely has to) so my boobs are growing and are gonna get wrecked for no good reason, it’s inescapable.

    • LalaMN says:

      This was my experience as well, @Hootenannie. 1st baby I went from size 9 shoes to 10.5 and stayed there. With my second I moved up to size 11 and again, I’m apparently stuck here. Can you hear that? It’s the sound of cackling from the women in my family, all of whom have size 11 and 12 feet.

  16. thaisajs says:

    My feet got larger by half a size and I had to throw out most of my old shoes after pregnancy. Never heard about the nose thing, although your sense of smell does increase dramatically during pregnancy. I could catch a whiff of pot smoke blocks away when I’d walk to work, felt like.

  17. Hello Kitty says:

    Pregnancy nose, swollen feet, widened hips, linea negra, shiny hair, excess oil production, acne, hairy nipples and so on are all normal during pregnancy. Most go away postpartum- some of these go away the minute you give birth, others can take a full year. Anyone who doesnt understand needs to educate themselves, or keep their mouth shut. Or both.

  18. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I’m five feet tall. EVERYTHING got bigger. 😐

  19. Lens says:

    I didn’t notice nose so much as LIPS swelling up. I notice it more with women that start with relatively thick lips. Also the bum spread – seems if a woman isn’t carrying all in the front it’s because it’s huge in the back! Ah pregnancy. My foot size also permanently changed half a size larger after my first.

    • Sunnee says:

      Me too. I went from 7 to 7 1/2, and pretty much stayed there for years. Now that my youngest is 20, I just realized I have to buy smaller shoes. My 71/2 are flip-flopping on me.

  20. Mel says:

    My nose didn’t spread but I would have welcomed that instead of being able to smell EVERYTHING within a 5 mile radius that left me gagging all day , every day. It’s always something.

  21. Alex says:

    OMG!!! My pregnancy nose was so bad after #2 I literally got a nose job.

  22. MrsClincy says:

    My nose spread for my oldest and youngest and my feet swelled for my oldest and second oldest

  23. Katherine says:

    Oh god, maybe it’s for the best that I haven’t had children so far and might not end up having them at all… I was hysterical after a microneedling procedure that left my face all scuffed up for two weeks (very severely). I don’t think I’d take the body changes like this well. Body changes really put me in dark, dark places… I don’t know how people get any plastic surgery done, the post op period would break me like a twig.