Please enjoy the first installment of a new blog series that was inspired by our Facebook followers when we recently asked what they wish they had known about pregnancy, birth, and postpartum before they had a baby. Having a child is often accompanied by many surprises, and while you can’t always plan for everything, sometimes it helps to learn from the experiences of people who have already been there.
Postpartum Night Sweats
One commenter shared, “I wish I’d been warned about the hormonal night sweats post delivery. I legitimately thought I was dying when I woke up that first night shaking and shivering, drenched in sweat. Honestly, my postpartum night sweats were horrific. I don’t miss that!” – Alex H.
This is a pretty common complaint among new mothers and while it may be alarming at first, it typically isn’t anything to worry about. Oftentimes, within the first week or two after giving birth, you may find yourself being awoken at night, not only by your newborn, but also by intense sweating, potentially alternating between shivering and hot flashes; however, the increase in sweating probably isn’t from that sweltering Dallas-Fort Worth heat. Let us explain!
During pregnancy, your body retains fluid to support you and your baby. Toward the end of pregnancy, you may even experience swelling in your hands, face, feet, and ankles from the fluid retention. Additionally, during labor you may be given supplemental IV fluids. Once you give birth and you no longer need all the fluid your body has been holding onto, your hormones rid your body of it by causing increased sweating and frequent urination. This generally normal phenomenon can happen at any time during the day, but more frequently happens at night.
Is it dangerous?
While it can be quite uncomfortable, increased sweating after birth is typically a not a cause for worry. If you notice this happening for more than a couple of weeks, you may want to discuss it with your care provider. It’s also important to report it to your doctor or midwife immediately if you experience any other symptoms such as fever, dizziness, intense pain, or difficulty breathing. These may be signs of an infection, and should always be taken seriously.
What can I do to stop sweating?
Unfortunately, you may not be able to prevent this from happening, but you can make yourself more comfortable. Consider dressing in lose fitting, breathable pajamas. Keep an extra set of pajamas within easy reach in case you need to change in the middle of the night. You may even want to make your bed with several sets of sheets, so if you happen to sweat through one layer, you can easily remove it and have another set right underneath. Sleep with a fan on and be sure to keep yourself well hydrated.
This element of the postpartum experience may be something we don’t look forward to, but thankfully it doesn’t last forever and can be a sign your body is functioning properly. Be sure to check back next week for Part 2 of the “What I Wish I Knew” blog series.