Being a new mother is not easy, especially, if it’s your first time. The first few months are going to be the hardest when you try to adjust to your new routine and learn to stay awake at night to attend to your baby. And if you find yourself sweating at night, you’re likely to wonder if something’s wrong with your health. You may be experiencing postpartum night sweats and it is one of the common issues that most new moms face a couple of weeks after delivery.
What Are Postpartum Night Sweats?
Night sweats are hot flashes that are experienced after giving birth to a baby and postpartum night sweats can be experienced by breastfeeding moms. Most people may often confuse hot flashes as a common complaint during menopause but after childbirth also a woman undergoes several hormonal changes which can also cause night sweats in some cases. Rather approximately 30 per cent of women experience them during pregnancy and approximately 35 per cent experience night sweat after giving birth!
Causes of Night Sweats After Delivery
There are a few reasons that can cause this condition to occur. Following are some of the common reasons or causes of night sweats after giving birth:
- Night sweats post-delivery can be the body’s way of getting rid of excess fluids that body stores during pregnancy. This is because a pregnant woman’s body has approximately 50 per cent more blood and fluid to support the growing fetus. After delivery, there is no more requirement of excessive fluid. The excess blood is then reabsorbed in the body, excreted through sweat, and even through urine!
- Another reason for night sweats is the disrupted hormone levels in the body. During pregnancy, the body produces both progesterone and estrogen in large amounts to support the growing baby. However, post-birth these hormones levels are reduced considerably. This disruption in hormonal levels can prompt changes in body temperatures and may also lead to night sweats.
- Sometimes night sweats may occur as a side-effect of taking certain medications such as obstructive sleep apnea, hyperthyroidism, anxiety, etc.
- Women who have had twins or multiple babies may experience this condition because of a larger placenta and more blood volume.
- Breastfeeding women may experience this condition because breastfeeding suppresses ovaries, which lowers the production of estrogen and thus make them break into night sweats.
- If you had water retention during pregnancy, which means more fluids in the body, then you may experience night sweats post-delivery!
How Long Do the Symptoms of Postnatal Night Sweats Last?
Most doctors and medical professionals believe that the postpartum period usually lasts for about 6 weeks, however, some symptoms can be present for long. A woman’s body undergoes many changes during this phase and some of the common issues that can crop up include night sweats, fatigue, postpartum depression, constipation, etc. As per a study, postpartum night sweats are usually more severe after a couple of weeks after delivery but they begin to subside after this period. However, a low amount of estrogen in the body is one of the major triggers for this condition and breastfeeding reduces the level of estrogen in the body, therefore night sweats may continue as long as you breastfeed your baby or until the lactation ends.
How to Deal With Night Sweats After Pregnancy
Though night sweats usually tend to stop on its on course of time, however, there are certain measures that you can take to make this condition more bearable to ease it up a bit. Here are some of the effective ways that can help you in dealing with night sweats after delivery:
1. Keep Yourself Cool
When you keep your body cool, you can help reduce the sweating bouts at night. You can sleep in an air-conditioned room, keep a pedestal fan next to your bed or open the windows of your room for some fresh air. Doing all this will help your body to stay cool and thus avoid excessive sweating.
2. Increase Soy Intake
According to a study, it has been observed that taking soy supplements can reduce the chances of hot flashes or night sweats. Instead of taking supplements, you can also increase your intake of soy products such as tofu, natto, miso, tempeh, etc. However, make sure you talk to your doctor before making any dietary changes or taking any supplements if you are breastfeeding.
3. Drink Water
Excessive sweating post-delivery can drain you and even lead to dehydration. Therefore, you must hydrate yourself well to cope up with the loss of water in your body by drinking an ample amount of water throughout the day. Keeping yourself hydrated also helps the body to perform all its bodily functions effectively.
4. Keep a Tab on the Trigger Foods
In some cases, hot flashes or night sweats are triggered or worsened by consuming certain kinds of foods. These food items can include, caffeine, hot liquids or foods, spicy food, alcohol, etc. Therefore, you must keep a tab on what you eat as sometimes it may be what is going inside your tummy may be making you all sweaty at night!
5. Use Natural Fabrics and Loose Clothing
The kind of clothes that you may be wearing or the sheets you may be using may make you sweat more! Wear loose-fitted and comfortable clothes, especially made up of cotton or linen that help the body heat to escape. Also, use cotton or linen bedsheets when sleeping so that you don’t sweat much! You can also place a towel on your pillow to absorb the excess sweat and to avoid the discomfort of changing the sheets on an everyday basis. You can also place a rubber sheet underneath your bedsheet to prevent the sweat from reaching your mattress.
6. Eat Healthy and Exercise
Following a good lifestyle that includes eating a well-balanced diet combined with light exercises can prove to be beneficial in improving your physical and mental health post-childbirth. Include more fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meat, and healthy fats to regain your body’s lost strength. Doing all this can help your body in managing any post-delivery side-effects that may occur!
7. Try Breathing Techniques and Yoga for Relaxation
Yoga and breathing exercises are great for keeping the mind and body calm and relaxed. Deep breathing exercises, positive thinking or visualization, meditation or mindfulness, progressive muscle relaxation, etc. can help to relax the mind and body and help you sail effectively through the postpartum phase!
8. Try Body Massage
Getting peaceful sleep at night can sometimes get difficult for you because of several post-delivery side-effects that include night sweats too. However, getting a body massage can help relax your body and help you sleep better at night. You can also try foot massage, head massage, cognitive behavioural therapy for better sleep at night!
9. Use Medicated Powder
Sometimes excessive sweating can take a toll on your skin, which can cause rashes on your skin. You can use any medicated powder to prevent any kind of skin infection or rashes that may occur due to excessive sweating.
10. Consider Taking Valerian Root
Valerian root is often used by people in getting better sleep at night or for treating other sleep-related conditions. However, it is important to consult your doctor before opting for any such home remedies, and also there is not enough scientific evidence available on its usage in treating sleep-related issues or conditions in people.
These are some of the measures that can help you deal with postpartum night sweats. But as motherhood is a delicate phase, you must know that whatever health-related decisions you take will not only impact your health but also your baby’s health. Therefore, make sure you consult your doctor before making any major lifestyle changes!
When to Consult a Doctor
In most cases, night sweats after having a baby are not a cause of any kind of concern and you need not worry about them. However, if you notice that your symptoms do not improve as time passes or you experience any of the following symptoms, it is important to seek medical help at once:
- If you notice any kind of lump or soreness in one or both your breasts.
- If your breasts appear pink or hot.
- If you have a fever of more than 100.4 degrees.
- If you suffer from any burning sensation while urinating.
- If you experience any kind of a pain in your uterine region or lower abdomen.
- If you experience any kind of a pain, discharge or redness that does not subside or gets severe.
- If you have foul-smelling vaginal discharge or lochia.
- If you suffer from any symptoms of depression, which may include sleep disturbance, irritability, anger, nervousness, shame, loss of interest, the feeling of guilt, thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, or other such symptoms.
- If you experience any symptoms of thyroid disorder such as weight changes, dry skin, tiredness, puffy face, shaky hands, frequent bowel movements, etc.
- If you notice any signs of anxiety that may include constant worrying, inability to sit at one place, nausea, racing thoughts, dizziness, etc.
- If you notice any infection at the site of the wound, in case of caesarean delivery.
- If you experience excessive menstrual bleeding.
- If you notice large blood clots or bright coloured bleeding more than three to four days after delivery.
If you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms or any such unusual symptoms, it is advised to seek medical assistance at once.
Taking care of your newborn may become a tad bit taxing for you as a new mother. Getting up several times at night to feed, change, or simply soothe your baby may make it more difficult to handle the night sweats. However, you should stay positive and calm and try some of the above-mentioned remedies to control the condition. But at any point, you feel your symptoms are not improving or are deteriorating further, get in touch with your doctor to rule out any complication!