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I’m so swollen my ankles have completely disappeared. Should I be concerned and what can I do about it?

Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply:  As my pregnancy progressed, my ankles started to swell. It was uncomfortable, and I often had to sit down to ease the discomfort.

Compression hose helped. I found that when I wore them, my legs didn’t swell, and I didn’t have to sit down so much. You can buy compression stockings online and at medical supply stores.

Amy J. Derick, MD, a mom of one 15-month-old son. She is 17 weeks pregnant with her second son.  Dr. Derick is a dermatologist in private practice at Derick Dermatology in Barrington, IL

Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply: Remember your ankles? Even if you can hardly bend to look at your ankles, they’re probably so swollen you don’t want to. Swelling is very common in pregnancy, especially toward the end. To meet the needs of your developing baby, your body produces approximately 50 percent more blood and body fluids. All of this extra blood and fluid causes swelling. Normal swelling, which is also called edema, is experienced in the hands, face, legs, ankles, and feet.

I had horrible swelling toward the end of my pregnancies. My cankles had cankles. I was so swollen that I couldn’t fit into any dress shoes, so I simply wore tennis shoes or clogs with

Also, socks with elastic at the top left deep, painful impressions in my calves. Instead, I wore soft fuzzy socks that didn’t have any elastic on top. And just forget the panty hose. That’s crazy!

These days, I see pregnant women wearing tighter clothing than they used to. I think it’s great that women are proud of their baby bumps and not hiding their pregnancies under tents! However, fashion isn’t more important than comfort. During my pregnancies, at home I lived in sweats and stretch pants. And at work I wore scrubs, which are great because they have expanding drawstring waistbands.

Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH, a mom of three sons, family practice physician, and coauthor of The Mommy MD Guide to Pregnancy and Birth

When to call the doctor: If you notice a sudden, marked increase in swelling, especially if it’s combined with other symptoms such as dizziness or vision changes, call your health care provider immediately. These can be signs of dangerously high blood pressure, called preeclampsia.

The information on MommyMDGuides.com is not intended to replace the diagnosis, treatment, and services of a physician. Always consult your physician or child care expert if you have any questions concerning your family's health. For severe or life-threatening conditions, seek immediate medical attention.