Don’t sweat it if you experience night sweat after pregnancy, it is completely normal! If you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night drenched in water as if you’ve just run a marathon, you’re most likely experiencing postpartum night sweats and chills.
According to some studies, approximately 30% of mothers suffer from postpartum sweating. The most common symptoms of postpartum sweating are:
- Strong body odor
- Waking up frequently
- Feeling soaked or drenched
What causes postpartum sweating?
During pregnancy, your body goes through plenty of drastic changes. The most noticeable being hormone fluctuations and excess water retention- swelling. After pregnancy, these two factors influence postpartum night sweats the most.
The two key hormones that are released during pregnancy are progesterone and estrogen.
These hormones are produced in very large amounts, and after giving birth, your body needs time to adjust and balance out your body temperature. Specifically, the low estrogen triggers excessive sweating.
Since quite a bit of fluid is held within the body while you’re pregnant, after birth, sweating and urine help release the remainder of unnecessary water.
How long do postpartum night sweats last?
In most cases, it takes a few weeks for your body to rebalance the hormones. Typically postpartum sweating will be at its worst during the first two weeks and will last approximately until the 6-week mark.
Despite the fact that estrogen levels will continue to be lower than usual while you’re breastfeeding, postpartum night sweats and chills shouldn’t last for the entirety of it.
What to Do?
Sweating can be very uncomfortable, even more so when you have to get up several times during the night to take care of your baby. You can’t avoid or stop sweating, but you can do several things to minimize the hassle of night sweat after pregnancy.
- Stay Hydrated
Your body is working extra hard during the postpartum period. Sweating and breastfeeding can leave you dehydrated if you’re not drinking enough water. Aim to drink at least a few glasses of water as soon as you wake up.
- Wear Proper Pyjamas
Try to wear breathable fabric such as cotton and other natural fibers. Make sure your pajamas are loose and thin so you don’t feel uncomfortable while you are sleeping. Also, try to keep fresh pajamas by your bedside if it gets to a point where you need to change.
- Prep the Bedroom
Try to keep the room you’re sleeping in as cool as possible. Keep the window open or turn up the AC, this will help lower your body temperature. Under the bedding, you might want to consider placing a mattress protector or a towel. You can also keep a towel on your bed stand if you need to wipe yourself during the night.
- Watch your Postpartum Diet
Avoid foods that can stimulate higher body temperatures and hot flashes. Particularly before going to bed. A proper postpartum diet can help you feel better and reduce sweating.
The most common triggers are:
- spicy foods
- hot foods or liquids
When to see a doctor?
In most cases, postpartum night sweats and chills end up going away on their own. If you notice that excessive sweating is accompanied by these symptoms you may want to speak to your doctor. They could be a sign of an infection or another health condition.
If you experience the following symptoms, visit your doctor as soon as possible:
- chest pain
- never-ending headache
- unusual discharge
- trouble breathing, dizziness, or fainting
- warm or red area on your breasts
- fever with a temperature above 100.4°F (38°C)
- loss of appetite
If after giving birth you start to wake up in the middle of the night soaked, you’re most likely experiencing postpartum night sweats. A condition that approximately 30% of new mothers go through for up to 6 weeks postpartum, more or less. The most common causes of it are hormones and excess water. Unfortunately, the sweating cannot be stopped entirely but there are measures you can take to better manage postpartum sweating. Such as drinking plenty of water and staying cool. It usually goes away by itself after a few weeks, however, it can also be a sign of another health condition so it is important to keep an eye out for other symptoms and consult a doctor.