'Bachelorette' alum Emily Maynard says she had Bell's palsy while pregnant with her fifth child

Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY
·2 min read

"Bachelorette" alum Emily Maynard had Bell's palsy while she was pregnant with her fifth child last fall, she revealed.

The former reality show star, 34, opened up over the weekend in a series of Instagram Stories about realizing that she was experiencing the same symptoms as when she was diagnosed with the condition as a teenager.

"It started with a bad headache that got progressively worse and went into my jaw," she recalled. "Thought it was an ear infection but then woke up one morning and couldn't spit out my toothpaste or put on mascara."

Bell's palsy is described by the Mayo Clinic as a "sudden weakness in your facial muscles," making half the face appear to droop. It can occur at any age and is temporary, "rarely" recurring though a small number of those diagnosed can continue to experience some symptoms for the rest of their lives.

Former "Bachelorette" star Emily Maynard opened up about having a Bell's palsy relapse while she was pregnant with her fifth child this fall.
Former "Bachelorette" star Emily Maynard opened up about having a Bell's palsy relapse while she was pregnant with her fifth child this fall.

Maynard said she "knew exactly what it was" and had a doctor prescribe her a steroid, but experienced worsening symptoms before it was fixed.

"I thought by age 34, I was free from the vanity I cherished so much in my 20s but there's something very humbling about being 9 months pregnant and not being able to move half your face!" she added. "I cried a lot and felt horrible but thankfully it got better day by day."

Maynard and husband Tyler Johnson announced on Oct. 21 that she had welcomed her fifth child, daughter Magnolia Belle Johnson.

"You are the most perfect addition to our family and to say your brothers and sister are already in love would be an understatement," Maynard wrote on Instagram. "My sweet Nola Belle, you are absolute magic and I can’t wait to see God uncover your personality each day. I’m so happy He picked me to be your mommy!"

They also have Gatlin, 3; Gibson, 4; Jennings, 5; and Josephine, 15, the daughter of NASCAR driver Ricky Hendrick, Maynard's fiancé who died in a 2004 plane crash.

Maynard first appeared on the 2011 season of "The Bachelor," where she got engaged to star Brad Womack before the two split a few months later. The following year, she starred on "The Bachelorette" and got engaged to Jef Holm, again calling it quits a few months after the show completed airing. She and Johnson married in 2014.

More stars including Angelina Jolie, George Clooney and Pierce Brosnan have opened up in the past about their own experiences with Bell's palsy.

“Sometimes women in families put themselves last until it manifests itself in their own health,” Jolie told Vanity Fair in 2017, noting she had temporary facial paralysis the year prior and recovered fully thanks in part to acupuncture.

Bell's palsy: The facial paralysis that's affected A-listers like Angelina Jolie and George Clooney

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Bachelorette': Emily Maynard had Bell's palsy while pregnant