Soon after I had my baby, I would say when she was like 2weeks old, I was getting ready for bed. I went to the bathroom and was brushing my teeth, when I went to rinse my mouth out, I noticed the water wasn’t staying in my mouth and it was dripping out. I looked up in the mirror and noticed my lip had drooped and I couldn’t completely close my mouth. I ran into the bedroom where my husband was in a panic and I was telling him how I couldn’t close my mouth, he looked at me confused, not really getting what I was talking about. He then asked me to wink my eye and I realized I could do that either on my left side. So he was like OMG, I think you got a minor stroke.
Since it was late at night we decided to sleep on it and go to the doctor the next day. That night I barely slept, I cried because I thought I had a stroke, and I might die and leave my baby motherless, I also thought even if I didn’t die I would become disabled and my child would grow up having to take care of her mum. I know I was a little bit dramatic, but hee I was a new mom and hormonal and emotional.
In the morning we decided to call the doctor, like I said my baby was only 2weeks old and still only breast feeding and I hadn’t introduced the bottle yet, so I didn’t want to take her with me to the doctors office. After speaking to the doctor on the phone, she mentioned that that sounded like bell’s palsy. That was the first time I had ever heard of this term, she told me it happened to many women during pregnancy and immediately after childbirth and also it would disappear on it’s own but there were some steroids they could prescribe that would speed it up, if i wanted but their really wasn’t any treatment for it.
After talking to the doctor I felt much better cause this had a name, and I immediately turned to Google like I usually do with all issues and conditions. Bell’s palsy is a disorder in which a nerve that controls the facial muscles becomes dysfunctional, resulting in weakness or paralysis of one side, or more rarely, both sides of the face. It often manifests rapidly, such that those affected may rise from bed in the morning with inexplicable one-sided facial weakness or paralysis and fear that they have experienced a stroke
‘Sir Charles Bell, the Scottish surgeon who identified the disorder in 1830, observed that it was more prevalent among pregnant women. Subsequent studies have confirmed that pregnant women are three times more likely than non-pregnant women to get Bell’s palsy, and the risk is greatest during the third trimester or immediately following childbirth.
Later on that week, my husbands cousin and aunty visited and convinced me to go to the hospital, I eventually went to the ER and the doctor confirmed it was bell’s palsy and she prescribed some steroids and I had to confirm those were ok to take while breastfeeding, I was also really surprised she didn’t know it was common in pregnancy and childbirth, after I mentioned it to her, she stepped out and did some research and she found out that it was more common in pregnant women and after childbirth.
This is the reason I am doing this blog, a lot of people are not aware of this condition and pregnant women and those who recently have had babies need to be aware of this condition, so that if it happens you don’t get as shocked as I was.
In my research I also found that some Vitamins are helpful in treating it, vitamin B12, B6, and zinc, which may help restore nerve function. Massaging the face with castor oil, which is also known for reducing swelling and also repairing damaged nerves. From my personal experience I would not recommend taking steroids, I took this and I didn’t notice any faster recovery, it took me about a month to recover, the massage and vitamins I think are the best way to go, and more importantly patience, I had this discomfort for over a month, its not painful but eating is difficult since food looses taste and chewing is hard, and I was lucky that my eye would close with a little assistance, from what I have read some people have to cover their eyes when they sleep and put eye drops because it wont close and it dries out. The good news is even with no treatment the condition will disappear on it own.