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Pregnancy is marked by numerous changes in the body of a woman. On the one hand, many changes that happen within the body may not be felt. On the other hand, there are visible changes which alter a woman’s daily lifestyle during pregnancy. Excessive sweating is one such physical change that a pregnant woman is most likely to experience.
Sweating, just like mood swings, swollen breasts and extreme fatigue is a symptom of pregnancy. To have sweaty hands and feet during pregnancy is common, as frequent changes in hormone levels and the secretion of new hormones can cause hot flashes.
Pregnant women experience excessive sweating during the course of pregnancy. The rate of perspiration is particularly high at night. Here are the causes that lead to excessive sweating among pregnant women.
- Changes in Hormones: Hormones cause a lot of fluctuations in the body during pregnancy, and these fluctuations are responsible for excessive sweating as well.
- Medications: Taking medication for fever, nausea, and depression can cause variations in body temperature and result in sweating, especially during the night. The release of sweat can also be a side-effect of these medicines.
- Increased Blood Flow: During pregnancy, your blood plasma volume increases by a vast amount, increasing the blood level delivered to your skin’s surface. The rise in body temperature could be a reason for excessive sweating.
- Performing Activities That Cause Stress: Activities that involve a lot of movement like exercising can result in excessive sweating.
- Infection and Illness: Another cause of sweating during pregnancy can be an infection or illness. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a type of cancer which develops during pregnancy in the lymphatic system.
- Changes in Thyroid Gland: The changing hormones in a pregnant woman’s body can increase the thyroid hormone levels. This condition can be a cause of excessive sweating.
- Consumption of Spicy Food and Caffeine: Food items that contain spices, caffeine or excess sugar are bound to increase the body temperature by generating more heat. These foods increase the metabolic rate of the body and cause excessive sweating.
What Is Nocturnal Hyperhidrosis or Night Sweats?
The changing hormones during pregnancy can cause excessive sweating during the night while you are sleeping. This condition is known as nocturnal hyperhidrosis and is common during the menopausal transition years of the woman as well. It is vital to determine and distinguish the real reason behind it. Night sweating can be caused due to changes in the hormones as a result of pregnancy or due to warm surroundings, which is normal. However, it can also be caused due to an underlying illness or infection which would need treatment.
While there is no cure for sweating, here are some tips which can help you reduce its impact and make you feel better:
- Drink water to stay hydrated and consume food items that will keep you cool and reduce body heat.
- Avoid heavy exercise, especially when it is too hot. Give preference to exercising in air-conditioned rooms and go out for walks early in the morning or the evenings.
- Avoid putting on too many layers of clothing. Wear light-coloured clothes which are made of soft material. Ensure that the material of your clothing allows breathability and does not trap heat.
- Apply talcum powder on your body, especially in areas that are prone to friction. Talcum powder will absorb sweat.
- Keep away from direct sunlight during the day, especially during the summer season. Spending time in air-conditioning will keep your body cool and reduce sweating.
- Sleep on a bath towel or pile up extra layers of bed-sheets on your bed. This will help absorb extra the sweat and keep you dry.
- Avoid eating spicy food and drinking hot beverages as they can trigger your sweat reflex. Consuming alcohol, caffeinated drinks, and eating chocolates or sweets should be avoided.
- Do not lock yourself inside. Keep the windows open to allow ventilation and fresh air. Fanning yourself continuously will dry the sweat.
- Take frequent baths, especially before going to bed.
- Drink natural fresh fruit and vegetable juices. They will provide the necessary nutrition and also keep you cool. Avoid sodas and packed juices as they contain a lot of sugar.
- Do not apply too much oil, makeup or body lotion on the skin.
- Applying antiperspirant can also help reduce sweating.
- Long hair can contribute to sweating. Braid your hair so that they are not all over you.
- Keep a spray bottle near you and spritz your face with water when you experience these hot flashes.
When Should You Consult the Doctor?
Consult your doctor if the sweating is accompanied by high fever, palpitation or rapid heartbeat. Sweating can be a sign of severe illness like cancer or leukaemia. Keep your doctor informed about any discomfort that you feel. The doctor will decide if you need any tests or medication to control your sweating.
Sweating during pregnancy is not unusual. It can get uncomfortable at times, but this is something that is out of your control. You can take the necessary precautions to ensure that the sweating is minimised and you are not affected too much by it.