Swollen ankles and fingers

As you near the end of your pregnancy, you might notice more swelling than you had before, especially in your ankles, fingers and face. This is called edema and is due to fluid retention. Continue to drink lots of water and rest when you can with your feet elevated.

Some other things that you can do to battle swelling in your ankles and feet include:

Avoid extended periods of standing
Elevate your legs when you're sitting
Lie down for brief periods when you can, preferably on your left side
Wear comfortable shoes or slippers
Avoid elastic-top socks or stockings
Take regular, practitioner-approved exercise breaks throughout your day
Support panty hose may also bring relief
Paradoxically, drinking at least eight to ten glasses of water a day can help avoid water retention by flushing out waste products

If you notice sudden, extreme swelling in any of these areas, or have a rapid significant weight gain, call your health care provider right away. This could be a sign of preeclampsia or toxemia.

Preeclampsia (also known as toxemia or pregnancy-induced hypertension) is characterized by high blood pressure, fluid retention that first shows up in the second half of pregnancy, and protein in the urine.

It can be either mild or severe, and in more serious cases can restrict blood flow to the placenta. Should the blood flow to the placenta be restricted it could seriously harm your baby.

Preeclampsia is more likely to occur in first pregnancies and beyond the 20th week of gestation. Although preeclampsia is a rare pregnancy complication, if you ensure that you are getting all the right prenatal care and keeping all of your prenatal appointments the chances that your health care provider will pick up the problem early enough to treat it.

Tender breasts and colostrum

Colostrum, a fluid in the breasts that nourishes the baby until the breast milk becomes available, may begin to leak from the nipples. Colostrum is the first milk that your breasts produce for your baby.

It is a thick, yellowish fluid that contains antibodies that protect new babies from infections. If leaking becomes a problem for you, you can purchase disposable or cloth nursing pads (that you can use when nursing your newborn) to place inside your bra.

Your breasts have most likely increased in size and fullness as your pregnancy has advanced. As you near the end of your pregnancy, hormones in your body cause your breasts to increase even more in size, to prepare for breastfeeding. Your breasts can feel full and heavy, and they might be tender or uncomfortable.

Wearing a well-fitting maternity or nursing bra will help you be more comfortable, because these types of bras offer extra support.

Table of Contents
1. Third Trimester
2. Battling swelling
3. Is this false labor?
4. You're almost there!
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