The period of pregnancy is the most important moment for every woman. During this time, a woman’s body undergoes many changes. These can be hormonal, emotional, physical, and physiological changes. The body, during pregnancy, receives a lot of stressful influences. This can lead to negative consequences. One such consequence is Bell’s palsy.
This is facial paralysis, which stops the muscles on one side of the face from working. This disease is specific. This is because it does not have an exact reason for appearing. And the disappearance of the disease occurs after a few months without treatment.
Now, there are many physical and medical approaches to treat this condition. With the right therapy, the patient can recover much faster. This is especially important for the period of pregnancy in women. The exclusion and treatment of any disease when pregnant are important for the body.
In our article, we will tell you about the specifics of this condition in pregnant women. We will also talk about the possible causes of this disease. And also, you will learn how you can get rid of this illness.
Causes of Bell’s Palsy in Pregnancy
Bell’s palsy is a disease that causes temporary weakness or paralysis of the muscles on one side of the face. It is a rare condition, and the exact causes of Bell’s palsy are not fully understood. But some possible causes of Bell’s palsy in pregnancy include:
- Viral infections.
- Changes in the immune system.
One of the most common causes of Bell’s palsy is viral infections. Particularly those caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). HSV can cause a condition known as herpes zoster oticus, which can lead to Bell’s palsy. Pregnant women may be at an increased risk of contracting HSV. It’s because the immune system is temporarily suppressed during pregnancy. A woman needs it to prevent the rejection of the fetus.
Another possible cause of Bell’s palsy in pregnancy is inflammation. Pregnancy can cause inflammation in the body, particularly in the head and neck. This inflammation can lead to facial nerve swelling, resulting in Bell’s palsy.
Changes in the immune system during pregnancy may also play a role in the development of facial palsy. Pregnancy causes a shift in the immune system to protect the developing fetus. But this shift makes the mother more susceptible to infections and other conditions.
Certain factors may increase the risk of developing Bell’s palsy during pregnancy. These include:
- A family history of the condition.
- A history of viral infections.
- Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes.
Pregnant women develop Bell’s palsy during the third trimester of pregnancy. It’s because of added stress on the body during this time. Also, it’s due to changes in the immune system and hormonal fluctuations.
In conclusion, the causes of Bell’s palsy in pregnancy are not fully understood. But research suggests that viral infections, inflammation, and changes in the immune system may play a role.
It is vital for pregnant women with symptoms of Bell’s palsy to seek medical attention. It’s because early treatment can improve the chances of a complete recovery.
Why Has the Incidence of Bell’s Palsy in Pregnancy Increased?
The causes of the increased incidence of disease in pregnancy are not understood. But several theories proposed that it can be:
- Changes in blood clotting.
- High blood pressure.
- Increased total body water.
- Changes in hormonal levels.
- Impaired glucose tolerance.
- Increased cortisol levels.
The third trimester of pregnancy and the first week after giving birth are particularly high-risk periods for Bell’s palsy. Doctors link it to weakened immunity due to high cortisol levels.
Regular medical check-ups are a must to prevent unwanted negative consequences when pregnant. This will help either exclude the disease or detect it in its early stages.
How Bell’s Palsy Diagnosing During Pregnancy
The health worker will conduct a thorough examination. The examination includes several mandatory points for establishing a diagnosis:
- First, a specialist will carry out a check of your mimic activity. Doctor will ask you to frown, smile, and pout.
- Then an eye examination will be performed. The doctor will check how well they open and close together or separately.
- The next step will be examining problems with eating, drinking, or speech. There will also be an examination for the presence of blisters in the oral cavity.
- After examining the frontal part of the face, the specialist checks the area of the ears and around them. The doctor will also examine your hairline or areas causing you concern. You need to make sure you don’t have Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. Thus, during a regular examination, the specialist will also ask you for complaints of pain or something else.
Also, if necessary, the doctor can perform a scanning procedure when looking for Bell’s palsy in pregnancy. But this is in exceptional situations or at the end of the pregnancy.
It is worth noting that there are several more methods as visualization tests. It includes MRI or CT. They help doctors make the correct diagnosis and not make mistakes. It’s because diseases such as stroke or tumors can cause similar symptoms.
Additionally, you can also take blood for analysis. This will also help determine if an infection is present. For example, the herpes simplex virus (HSV) can cause Bell’s palsy.
In case of a correct examination, you will get the diagnosis of Bell’s palsy. But this can only be done by medical professionals by conducting tests. They have ideas about the problem and its solution. Thus, only a specialist can help you with facial paralysis.
What Is the Treatment for Bell’s Palsy in Pregnancy?
The treatment for Bell’s palsy during pregnancy includes a combination of:
- Physical therapy.
The treatment for Bell’s palsy during pregnancy aims to:
- Improve facial muscle function.
- Reduce inflammation.
- Prevent complications.
Medications to reduce inflammation and improve facial muscle function include:
- Corticosteroids. These drugs can reduce inflammation and swell in the affected facial nerve. And they can improve facial muscle function.
- Antiviral medications. Antiviral medications may be good if a viral infection causes Bell’s palsy.
- Physical therapy. It is also an important part of the treatment for Bell’s palsy. This may include exercises to help improve facial muscle strength and coordination. And doctors can prescribe techniques to help with speech and eating.
- Surgery. In some cases, doctors recommend surgery to correct facial deformities. But the timing of surgery should be discussed with a healthcare provider. It’s because surgery during pregnancy is not recommended for most cases.
It’s important to note that treatment for Bell’s palsy during pregnancy should be done in collaboration with an Obstetrician. It’s because some of the medications may affect the baby. Thus, the treatment should be tailored to the patient’s individual needs.
How Does Facial Paralysis Affect a Person’s Life?
Facial paralysis, such as that caused by Bell’s palsy, can impact a person’s life. One of the most obvious effects is on the person’s appearance. Facial asymmetry can cause self-consciousness and can affect a person’s self-esteem and confidence.
Facial paralysis can also affect a person’s ability to communicate effectively. Social and professional activities are problematic with:
- Difficulty speaking.
- Difficulty with eating.
Additionally, facial paralysis in pregnancy can cause:
- Chronic pain.
It can affect the person’s quality of life. Facial paralysis can also cause problems with the person’s vision. It can be a drooping eyelid (ptosis) and difficulty closing the eye. This can lead to dry eye and an increased risk of infection.
Facial paralysis can have many physical, emotional, and social effects. People need to receive appropriate medical treatment and rehabilitation. It helps manage the symptoms and improve their quality of life.
Prognosis of Bell’s Palsy in Pregnancy
The prognosis for facial nerve palsy in pregnancy is generally good. Most people experience complete or near-complete recovery. It can be within a few months, regardless of whether they are pregnant.
Pregnant women have similar recovery rates and outcomes as non-pregnant individuals. But recovery can take longer in some cases. And a small percentage of people can have facial weakness or other symptoms.
And it can be even after recovery. Early treatment with corticosteroids and physical therapy can improve the chances of recovery. It is vital for pregnant women with Bell’s palsy to be closely monitored. Their healthcare provider can do it. They can ensure the condition does not progress and cause any other complications.
As a result, facial nerve palsy in pregnancy is a serious problem. Fortunately, the disease does not affect the baby inside the mother. But facial paralysis can greatly disrupt the patient’s routine and communication. And if the disease does not recede for 8 months, the likelihood of complications is high. But with the help of modern techniques and medicines, it is possible to speed up the recovery period.
And improvement of the patient’s condition is possible.
To do this, you need to contact specialists in the field of neurology. Consider consulting with Lone Star Neurology. The clinic has a staff of professional doctors who specialize in neurological problems. Using the contact us button, you can sign up for a visit and receive timely treatment.
- Is Bell’s palsy common during pregnancy?
Bell’s palsy causes temporary weakness or paralysis of the muscles on one side of the face. It is more common during pregnancy. There is a risk of occurrence in the third trimester.
- Can Bell’s palsy affect an unborn baby?
This disease is completely safe for the fetus inside the mother. It’s because Bell’s palsy does not affect the unborn baby.
- How long does Bell’s palsy last in pregnancy?
The length of time that Bell’s palsy symptoms last can vary. Some people experience complete recovery within a few weeks. But others may have symptoms that persist for several months.
- Are there warning signs of Bell’s palsy?
Warning signs of Bell’s palsy include:
- Sudden onset of facial weakness or drooping.
- Difficulty closing one eye.
- Difficulty smiling or frowning.
Other symptoms can include pain behind or around the ear and a change in taste or hearing in one ear.
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