Have you found yourself drenched in sweat as you’re drifting off to sleep since your bundle of joy was born? As if giving birth and the pains that come along with it weren’t enough, some moms also experience postpartum night sweats. Yes, it’s a real condition. If you’re sweating more than usual after giving birth, don’t worry, you’re not alone!
To help you understand what’s going on in your body, this article will walk you through postpartum night sweats, what to expect and how you can get some relief!
What Are Postpartum Night Sweats?
The postpartum period is full of changes and uncomfortable symptoms. While you’re healing from either a vaginal or C-section birth, your body’s hormones are still raging. This is especially true for mothers who choose to breastfeed.
Many women also experience urinary incontinence, bowel issues, changes in breasts, hair and skin changes, mood shifts and either fatigue or a surge of energy. In addition to all of this, you may also experience night sweats. But, what are these sweats?
Postpartum night sweats are just what they sound like…excessive sweating at night after childbirth. You may sweat as if you just completed a strenuous workout. The most frustrating part? For many new mothers, the sweating begins just as you lie down to go to sleep at night.
Despite how strange it may seem, postpartum night sweats are actually quite common. Let’s take a closer look at what’s happening in your body to explain this phenomenon.
Why Am I Experiencing Excessive Sweating?
One study showed that up to 29% of new mothers reported postpartum sweating. That means that night sweats are a relatively common symptom of postpartum life. Why does this occur so frequently?
Although there hasn’t been a lot of research, most doctors and scientists agree that excessive sweating can be explained by a few factors:
- Hormones: During pregnancy, your body is filled with hormones that help grow and protect your newborn. After giving birth, hormone levels fluctuate significantly. Breastfeeding mothers are more likely to report hot flashes and excessive sweating. This is likely due to the additional hormonal changes, notably a drop in estrogen, that occurs to help the body continue to produce milk.
- Water Weight: Your body accumulates up to 50% more fluids and blood during pregnancy than what it would usually hold. This additional liquid helps with the development of your baby. However, after pregnancy, your body no longer needs quite as much blood and body fluids. Over the period of a few weeks, your body gets rid of the additional water weight through urination and sweating. While some women tend to get rid of the excess fluids mostly through their kidneys and urination, others also sweat more.
While most postpartum night sweats are a completely normal response to giving birth, sweating can also be a sign of an underlying issue. Sweating along with fever can be part of the body’s response to an infection. Long-term sweating that continues beyond a few weeks or months can also indicate an abnormality in your thyroid function. If you’re concerned about your postpartum night sweats, see your medical professional for an evaluation.
For most women, postpartum night sweats clear up within a few weeks. However, feeling hot, sticky and having to cuddle your newborn is the perfect recipe for an uncomfortable situation. If you’re hot, flushed and sick of sleeping on soaking bedsheets, there are some measures you can take to get some relief. Read on to learn how you can combat postpartum night sweats.
Relief from Postpartum Night Sweats
The good news about postpartum sweats? They should only last a few weeks and sweating out that water weight will help you get your pre-pregnancy body back. Who doesn’t want a helping hand with that?
The bad news is that no magic pill will make your hot flashes and sweats go away. Unfortunately, hot flashes can add more to your already overflowing laundry basket and make it hard to get to sleep. However, you can manage them a bit with a few strategies that should help minimize your discomfort and the amount of laundry, too.
Try sleeping in cotton pajamas. This material is more breathable than synthetic alternatives. The same goes for your sheets.
Put a soft towel over your pillow to avoid drenching it in sweat. You can also use a rubber mattress protector and cotton sheets to protect your mattress and stay comfortable.
Cool it Down
If you’re in a warm climate, use a fan or air conditioning to keep things fresh. In colder climates, you can at least turn the heat down at night so that you won’t feel overwhelmed by the warmth.
Take a lukewarm to cool shower before bed so that you feel nice and fresh. This may help curb some of the sweating and give you relief from the heat.
Don’t Stop Drinking Water
You may think that by avoiding liquids, you can reduce the amount that you sweat. However, you can speed up the process of excess fluid elimination by drinking as usual. If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll also need plenty of water, so don’t limit your liquids.
If the excessive sweating starts to affect your skin, you can reduce the discomfort by using talc-free baby powder. Apply the powder in places where your skin rubs together such as under your arms and between your legs.
Over time, your postpartum night sweats should go away on their own. If you’re still experiencing night sweats a few months after giving birth, consult your doctor. However, for the majority, night sweats are just an annoyance, but one that can help you lose your baby weight in the process. Then, just as they appeared out of nowhere, they mysteriously vanish.
Have you experienced or are you going through postpartum night sweats? Was there anything that helped you through them? Tell us about your experiences in the comments section below.