Kim Kardashian‘s second pregnancy has been nothing short of controversial. The 34-year-old has been accused of ‘faking’ her pregnancy and using a secret surrogate, and her Instagram promotion of an anti-nausea drug attracted a stern warning letter from US health authorities. Now, the spotlight has turned to her lips.
In Kim’s latest Instagram photos her pout is visibly, well, more pouty than usual. Overnight she offered an explanation, captioning the image above: “Pregnancy lips”.
One look at the comments underneath suggests many of her followers aren’t buying it. “What… did you mean silicone lips?” one said. “I didn’t know pregnancy caused lip fillers,” wrote another.
Considering the Kardashian-Jenner family’s history of lip filler speculation (which in Kylie’s case turned out to be accurate), and the fact Instagram can get snarky pretty quickly, this response isn’t entirely surprising. However, it seems Kim wins this round — sorry, keyboard warriors.
“It’s absolutely true that [pregnancy] can cause swelling of the lips. It is a real phenomenon,” says Dr Jodie Silleri, General Practitioner and Cosmetic Physician with Melbourne’s enRich Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery Center.
It all comes down to fluid retention; pregnancy causes a woman’s hormonal balance to change, which can result in fluid shifts particularly around the second and third trimester. Dr Silleri says around a quarter of weight gain during pregnancy is tied to fluid retention.
“More commonly we retain fluid in the legs and the ankles and feet, but we can also retain it in the hands and the face. As a doctor, I see women who are pregnant with swollen lips,” Dr Silleri explains. (Post continues after gallery)
This additional fluid serves an important purpose — it softens the body to enable it to expand as the baby develops and helps to prepare a woman’s pelvic joints and tissue for delivery.
Certain lifestyle factors cause some women to experience more swelling than others. Hot temperatures, standing up for long periods of time, or eating a diet low in potassium or high in salt and caffeine can all contribute. (Post continues after video.)