Bell's Palsy During Pregnancy

Bell's palsy is more common in pregnant women than in women who are not pregnant.

Developing Bell's Palsy during pregnancy does not automatically indicate the presence of a more serious underlying condition.

The 7th Cranial Nerve (VII) passes through a complex and tortuous route in the skull before it gets to the muscles and other structures it innervates. Some of the openings that the nerve must pass through are extremely narrow.

One of these openings in the skull, called, coincidently, the Fallopian Canal (no relationship whatsoever to the fallopian tubes); is comparatively long in relationship to the nerve itself and therefore any swelling of the 7th Cranial Nerve can result in compression and impaired functioning of the nerve itself.

This results in temporary loss of function in those muscles and structures which are 'powered' by the nerve.

High blood pressure, diabetes, influenza or flu-like illness, middle ear infection and dental work, have all been associated with Bell's Palsy.

During pregnancy, Bell's palsy is sometimes associated with pre-eclampsia, a condition that affects women at an advanced stage of pregnancy, noted by high blood pressure, swelling of the ankles and protein in the urine.

This possibility should be investigated by the physician. Pre-eclampsia is a serious condition and careful management is required should this be the case.

The condition, Bell's Palsy, poses no risk to the unborn infant, however it should always be investigated to eliminate any underlying conditions.





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