3 Things Pregnant Women Need To Know About Ptosis

Pregnancy causes a number of changes throughout your body. Some of these changes—like stretch marks and wider feet—are no surprise, but other pregnancy-related changes aren't as well-known and can catch sufferers off guard. During your pregnancy, you may develop ptosis, which means that your upper eyelid droops or falls. Here are three things pregnant women need to know about ptosis.

What are the signs of ptosis?

Ptosis is easy to identify. When you look in the mirror, you'll notice that one of your eyelids is hanging lower than the other, and it may be covering some or all of your pupil and iris.

Cosmetic changes aren't the only sign of ptosis, though. If your eyelid is drooping enough to cover part of all of your pupil, you'll notice vision changes like blurred vision or no vision. To compensate for this, you may find yourself elevating your eyebrows, which can give you eyestrain or a tension headache.

How does pregnancy cause ptosis?

When you're pregnant, your body produces 50% more blood and fluids to help your baby grow. This is a lot of extra blood and fluid, and it's why your body feels swollen. This extra fluid is especially obvious in your hands and feet, but fluid can also build up in your eyelids. This extra fluid can make your eyelid oversized and droopy.

Your pregnancy hormones can also play a role. During pregnancy, your body produces relaxin, a hormone that helps to relax your muscles, ligaments and bones. Relaxin's main purpose is to relax your uterine muscles and the joints of your pelvis, a useful function which makes it possible for you to deliver your baby. When relaxin affects other parts of your body, however, it's less helpful. The hormone may relax the muscles that hold up your eyelids, allowing them to droop over your eyes.

How is ptosis treated?

Your eyelid may return to normal after you have your baby, so your optometrist will recommend waiting to begin treatment. If your eyelid returns to normal on its own, no treatment will be required, though the condition may return if you get pregnant again.

If your eyelid doesn't return to its normal position, it can be treated with blepharoplasty. During this surgery, the muscles in your eyelid will be tightened to return your eyelid to its normal position.

If you're pregnant and think you have ptosis, see your optometrist for an examination.