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Explained: Why women’s noses become ‘extra large’ during pregnancy

You’ve probably come across videos on social media of women showing what their faces and bodies looked like before pregnancy and during pregnancy. For some of them, they slayed before getting pregnant; wore the latest fashion, had the best make up on, wore stylish wigs and jewelry.

Again, for some, this fashionable lifestyle probably dominated during their pregnancies but for some women, the trimesters shook things up and left them looking disheveled.

In many of these videos, these women’s fashion was gone only to be replaced with bare faces, hair plaited in cornrows and matutas, darkened skin, fat ankles and especially, extra large noses dominating their faces.

Kenyan musician Wahu Kagwi complained of the same when she was pregnant with her third born daughter, wondering if her nose had become so large so that she could breathe for two.

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Hii ndio inaitwa (is this why it is called) breathing for two? Wueh!!!! I still don’t understand why the nose does this,” Wahu said in August 2022.

Media personality Anita Nderu also complained of having a large nose during her pregnancy but said she was learning to embrace them.

“Things that people point out and make comments like they feel bad for me, I love  I love how full my lips are, my nose has swollen too. I love its new contours, I love my bump so so much!” Anita said in July 2022.

Tanzanian musician Rosa Ree also went viral globally as she complained of her pregnancy nose in the aforementioned social media challenge of before and during pregnancy, saying that “pregnancy and nose need to settle their differences.”

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And so, why does the nose grow large during pregnancy?

According to the Mayo Clinic, a premier nonprofit American academic medical center focused on integrated health care, education and research, women’s noses grow large during pregnancy because of increased hormone levels and blood production.

As a symptom of pregnancy, the Mayo Clinic published that a woman may experience nasal congestion during the first trimester because, “Increasing hormone levels and blood production can cause the mucous membranes in your nose to swell, dry out and bleed easily. This might cause you to have a stuffy or runny nose.”

The American National Library of Medicine published that for many mothers who have uncomplicated pregnancies, anatomical and physiological changes that occurred to nurture and accommodate the developing foetus normally resolve themselves after pregnancy with minimal residual effects. This means you have a high chance of your nose going back to its normal size or remaining a little larger than it originally was.

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