is a form of temporary facial paralysis resulting from damage or trauma to a facial nerve. Because of this damage, people with Bell's palsy experience symptoms that can include:
- Twitching, weakness, or paralysis of on one or both sides of the face
- Drooping eyelid or corner of the mouth
- Dry eye or mouth
- Impairment of taste
- Excessive tearing in the eye.
For reasons not completely understood, women who are pregnant develop Bell's palsy more frequently than the general population. The risk of Bell's palsy during pregnancy is thought to be greatest during the third trimester
, or within several weeks of delivery.
Bell's Palsy During Pregnancy: Treatment and Prognosis
For women who develop Bell's palsy during pregnancy, treatment is supportive, meaning that the symptoms, such as pain, are treated. Steroids and antiviral medicines are not recommended for pregnant women.
The prognosis for women with Bell's palsy during pregnancy is generally good. The extent of nerve damage determines the extent of Bell's palsy recovery time
. Generally, improvement of Bell's palsy is gradual but recovery times vary. The complete recovery time for most women who develop Bell's palsy during pregnancy is six months or less.
For some women, however, the Bell's palsy recovery time may be longer or the symptoms may never completely disappear. This is especially true for women who develop complete facial paralysis as a result of Bell's palsy during pregnancy. In one study, only about half of the women with complete facial paralysis that developed Bell's palsy during pregnancy recovered to a satisfactory level.
Bell's palsy does not appear to have any effect on the growing fetus.