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Pregnancy is marked by numerous changes to the body of a woman. On one hand, many changes that happen within the body might not be felt. On the other hand, there are visible changes which alter our daily lifestyle during pregnancy. Excessive sweating is one such physical change that a pregnant woman is most likely to experience.
Is Sweating An Early Pregnancy Symptom?
Sweating, just like mood swings, swollen chests and extreme fatigue is a symptom of pregnancy. To have sweaty hands and feet during pregnancy are common as a frequent change in hormone levels and secretion of new hormones can cause those hot flashes.
Causes of Sweating When Pregnant
Pregnant woman experience heightened sweating during the course of pregnancy. The rate of sweating is particularly high during the night time. Here are the causes that lead to excessive sweating among women.
- Changes in Hormones: Hormones cause a lot of fluctuation and changes in the body during pregnancy and they are responsible for excessive sweating as well. The change of hormones is caused as a result of sperm and egg mating confuses hypothalamus. Due to the changes in the body hormones, hypothalamus perceives heat in the body even when there isn’t any and releases sweat as a reflex to cool the body.
- Medications: Taking medication for fever, nausea or anti-depressants can cause variations in the body temperature and result in sweating, especially during the night. The release of sweat can also be caused by side-effect from these medicines.
- 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 that the pregnant woman is suffering from. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a type of cancer which develops during pregnancy in the area of the lymphatic system.
- Changes in Thyroid Gland: Pregnancy can lead to hypothyroidism. This condition can be a cause of excessive sweating.
- Consumption of Spicy Food and Caffeine: Food items which contain spice, caffeine or excess sugar are bound to increase the body temperature by generating more heat. These foods increase the metabolism rate of the body and lead to excessive sweating.
When Do You Feel Excessive Sweat During Pregnancy?
In addition to changes in hormones, the body is put under immense pressure during pregnancy. Your body needs to double up the efforts during this phase to support and develop the new life. The extra effort causes the body to generate more heat and in order to cool it off, the body releases sweat as a reflex. Experiencing sudden bouts of hot sweats during pregnancy is normal.
What About Night Sweats Or Nocturnal Hyperhidrosis in Pregnancy?
Pregnancy can cause excessive sweating during the night time while you are asleep. This condition is known as nocturnal hyperhidrosis and is common during menopausal transition years of the woman as well.
It is important to determine and distinguish the real reason for it. Night sweating can be caused due to changes in the hormones as a result of pregnancy or due to warm surroundings, which is completely normal. However, it can also be caused due to an underlying illness or infection which would need treatment.
How to Get Rid of Excessive Sweating in Pregnancy?
While there is no cure for sweating, the following are tips which you can reduce its impact and feel better:
- Drink water to stay hydrated and consume food items that will keep you cool and reduce the 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 in the evenings.
- Avoid putting on too much clothing. Wear light-coloured clothes which are made of light, soft material. Ensure that the material of your clothing allows breathability and does not trap heat.
- Apply talcum powder on your body, especially that areas that are prone to friction. Talcum powder will absorb sweat.
- Keep away from direct sunlight during the daytime, especially during the summer season. Spending time in air-conditioning will keep your body cool and reduce sweating.
- Sleep on a bath towel or line up extra layers of bed-sheets on your bed. This will help absorb extra sweat and keep you dry.
- Avoid eating spicy food and drinking hot beverages as they will trigger your sweat reflex. Consuming alcohol, caffeinated drinks, eating chocolates or sweets should be avoided.
- Do not lock yourself. 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 necessary nutrition and also keep you cool. Avoid sodas and packed juices that contain a lot of sugar.
- Do not apply too much oil, makeup or body lotion on the skin. Let it breathe.
- Applying antiperspirant can also help reduce sweating.
- Lengthy hair can add on to sweating. Braid your hair so that they are not all over.
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 which is out of your control. You can take necessary precautions to ensure that the sweating is minimised and you are not affected too much by it.