Chapped Lips & Pregnancy – Best Ways To Prevent & Heal Dry Lips

Chapped Lips Pregnancy

Article by Macy Tollefson – doula, breastfeeding specialist & prenatal yoga teacher

If you are pregnant, you were probably expecting to experience some symptoms like a growing belly, swollen feet, and maybe even mood swings… But I bet “parched lips” wasn’t a pregnancy symptom on your radar!

Most of us want a healthy pregnancy glow but are disappointed when we are met with dry, itchy skin instead. There’s no doubt that this can really impact our self-esteem! Chapped lips in particular can make you want to cover your smile and avoid talking to anyone.

Some of those unexpected pregnancy symptoms, like dry skin, acne and chapped lips can make a lot of us feel a little insecure. Trust me, I’ve been there too. I know how it feels to be self-conscious about dry, flaky lips.

Rest assured that dry lips, although annoying, are a normal part of pregnancy and are rarely anything to worry about. Luckily, there are many great ways to add moisture and relieve chapped lips.

Pregnant moms should be careful when choosing skincare products to relieve dry lips, including lip balms. Keep reading to find out why dry lips happen during pregnancy, and how you can best treat it.

This article is not a substitute for medical advice.

Why Are My Lips So Dry During Pregnancy?

Dealing with dry skin is common during pregnancy and dry lips in particular can be a challenge to deal with. From your skin stretching out, to dehydration, there are a few reasons you may feel your lips are dryer than normal.

Your pregnant body will see its blood volume almost DOUBLE throughout your pregnancy! This increased blood volume can cause your skin to dry out in a few different ways1.

First off, increased blood volume and water retention will cause the skin on your growing body to stretch. As the skin stretches, the elasticity may be weakened and the moisture will escape as a result. If your skin barrier cannot retain this moisture, it will dry out faster.

Your kidneys also have to work harder to filter through this extra blood, which may lead to frequent urination. If you are urinating frequently, but unable to take in enough fluids, it could lead to dehydration.

Dehydration is ultimately what causes your lips to dry out and crack, so staying hydrated is very important!

And finally, your increased blood flow during pregnancy can also cause congested nasal passages and swollen mucous membranes. Breathing through your nose is optimal, but if your nose is blocked up, it may lead to you breathing through your mouth instead.

And breathing through your mouth will quickly lead to cracked lips.

If you struggle with breathing through your nose at night, try elevating your head when you sleep. This may help keep your nose clear and avoid breathing through your mouth2.

Applying a natural pregnancy-safe lip balm before you sleep will help lock in moisture as well and protect your lips, if you do end up mouth breathing.

Chapped and dry lips during pregnancy

Are Chapped Lips Common In Pregnancy?

Yes! It’s very common for pregnant women to experience chapped lips.

Between a higher blood volume and your developing baby needing a lot of your fluids throughout the nine months, it is likely you will feel like your lips are dry at some point during your pregnancy.

Dehydration is one of the top reasons your lips will become chapped. Many pregnant women struggle to keep up a proper hydration, as their body needs much more fluids now.

While it is common to experience dry lips during pregnancy, it doesn’t mean that it is a trivial to want to treat them. I know how irritating it can be to deal with chapped lips.

Keep reading for my tips on how to best treat and prevent your lips from drying out!

When Do Pregnancy Lips Happen?

Chapped lips may start in early pregnancy and can last for the entire 9 months.

Like I mentioned before, dry and cracked lips are likely a sign that you are dehydrated3. Throughout your pregnancy, your growing baby takes a lot of water from you, so it is important to keep up your fluid intake and stay hydrated!

Your body requires a lot of water to stay healthy, but as the largest organ on your body, your skin especially benefits from staying hydrated. To avoid your stretching skin and lips from drying out, drinking enough water is crucial.

If you are not able to keep much down, severe morning sickness can also cause dry lips. If your body is not able to absorb the fluids it needs, it can lead to dehydration and ultimately dry skin. Because of this, you may notice your chapped lips are worse in your first trimester, when morning sickness tends to peak.

If you suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum (a disorder characterized by severe and persistent vomiting throughout your entire pregnancy)4, then dehydration and chapped lips may be an issue well into your third trimester.

Rarely, chapped lips during pregnancy can be a sign of a more serious issue. If you find that you are staying hydrated and treating with a lip balm, but your chapped lips are not going away, be sure to talk with your doctor!

Some conditions, such as preeclampsia or gestational diabetes, can also increase your chances of your lips drying out during pregnancy. A lack of certain vitamins and minerals could also lead to chapped lips5, so a well-balanced diet is just as important as hydration.

Always check in with your doctor or dermatologist if you have concerns about your dry or chapped lips! No question or concern is too “small” or silly for your healthcare provider.

how to prevent chapped lips pregnancy

How Do You Treat Chapped Lips During Pregnancy?

I know it can feel frustrating to have to deal with dry lips, but luckily there are many different ways to treat them.

Ultimately, relieving dryness and treating chapped lips is all about adding and retaining moisture. However, when you’re pregnant, there are certain skincare products and ingredients you should avoid for safety.

Look for lip balms and treatments with pregnancy-safe ingredients. It’s best to choose a natural lip balm with a short list of nourishing and soothing ingredients, that won’t irritate your lips. Again, the goal is to lock in moisture and protect your skin.

Below is a few examples of some pregnancy-safe ingredients, as well as ingredients you may be better avoiding during your pregnancy. This is not a comprehensive list, but you can read more about unsafe toxic ingredients in my article here.

Safe Ingredients:

  • Shea butter
  • Coconut oil (deep moisturizer for dry skin)
  • Beeswax
  • Cocoa butter (creates a good barrier to keep moisture in)
  • Peptides (stimulates collagen production)
  • Hyaluronic acid


  • Parabens
  • Lanolin
  • Menthol
  • Camphor
  • Flavors (cinnamon, citrus and mint can be irritating to dry lips)
  • Fragrance

If your lips feel uncomfortable, burn or sting after putting something on, they are likely irritated and it’s best to avoid using that product. Stick with a lip balm that has natural ingredients and is fragrance free, for a more soothing, moisturizing treatment.

A good natural lip balm can be applied throughout the day and before bed, to help trap moisture in your lips. If you are using products with ingredients that are natural and pregnancy-safe, you should be able to apply as much as you want or need throughout the day.

What you put on your face will also affect your lips, so use mild skincare products – even if you don’t have sensitive skin. Wash your face with lukewarm water, don’t rub it dry, and always apply a non-irritating moisturizer afterwards. Keeping the skin on your face hydrated is key.

How To Prevent Dry Lips During Pregnancy?

While there are some great remedies and treatments available, prevention is truly the best way to tackle any dry skin issues during pregnancy!

A pregnant woman’s body requires so much more water than her pre-pregnancy self, so stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. Aim for 8 to 12 cups (64 to 96 ounces) of water every day6.

I know that drinking this amount of water while pregnant can be challenging, so get creative with your fluid intake! The more fluids you take in, the more moisture your skin will retain.

Here are some tips for getting enough fluids, aside from drinking plain old water:

  • Eat foods with high water content, such as cucumber, watermelon or spinach.
  • Sip on pregnancy-safe drinks that you enjoy the taste of (to avoid any pregnancy aversions) throughout the day.
  • Add flavors, like lemon, lime or other fruit to your water to make it more exciting.

Tips For Preventing Dry Lips During Pregnancy

1. Avoid Licking Your Lips

I know that licking your lips can be a hard habit to break, but try applying a soothing lip balm instead. Saliva dries out our lips7, and will only make chapped lips worse.

2. Breathe Through Nose

Breathe through your nose as much as possible, not your mouth. If you are struggling with a blocked nose, try using a saline nasal spray to keep nasal passages clear.

3. Use A Humidifier

Invest in a humidifier, if the air in your house is dry. This will prevent your skin from drying out. It will also help your lips keep some moisture if you breathe out of your mouth while you sleep.

4. Breathe In Steam

If you don’t have a humidifier, hang out in the bathroom for a couple of minutes after your shower, to breathe in the steam. Alternatively, you can put boiling water into a mug and carefully breathe in the steam that way. The steam helps add moisture into the air and into your skin.

Note: it is dangerous to take very hot showers during pregnancy! Always be mindful of the temperature. You can run the water hot once you are out of the shower to help create more steam.

5. Protect Lips When Going Out Into Cold Or Hot Weather

Extreme temperatures can steal moisture from the skin, so apply a good lip balm preventatively. Apply lip balm with SPF if you are going out into the sun8, and reapply every 2 hours. Try to keep your lips covered with a soft scarf when going out into the cold as well.

6. Avoid Eating Too Much Sugary Or Salty Foods

Many highly processed foods (such as potato chips, chocolate, ice cream etc.) can actually dry out your mouth!

7. Try Homemade Remedies

Try oil “pulling”! Take two teaspoons of organic coconut oil, and swish it around in your mouth, “pulling” it between your teeth. Swish the oil around in your mouth for as long as you can, but ideally 10-20 minutes. After you’re done, spit the oil out and rinse your mouth with water.

Oil “pulling” will help keep your mouth and lips moisturized. Bonus: this method also whitens your teeth and kills bacteria to freshen your breath!


Dry lips during pregnancy can be a pain to deal with, but rest assured that it won’t last forever. By practicing good prevention measures, staying hydrated and using pregnancy-safe treatments, you will be able to manage it. I promise your soft lips will return again soon!

Article By Macy Tollefson

Macy Tollefson is a full spectrum doula, breastfeeding specialist and prenatal yoga teacher. She is passionate about guiding the modern mama on her journey through the beautiful (and wild) transformation of pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Macy envisions a world where every mother has access to the resources she needs, and follows her intuition to make the best decisions about what is right for her and her baby.

The purpose of this article is informative. It’s not a substitute for professional medical advice or medical care. Remember: safety first! Consult your doctor/pediatrician in case of any doubts. The author of this article does not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here.


About Me - Zooey BarnettHello Moms! I am Zooey. I am a wife and a mother of three amazing kids: almost 5-year-old Haley and 2-year-old twins Jesse and Matthew. I am a jogger, cooker and blogger.

If you have a question or a comment, do not hesitate to write to me! 🙂

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