There is a lot that most of us aren’t told about the postpartum period before we have a baby.
We get so focused on the last leg of pregnancy that we don’t think about what’s coming – the recovery phase, the postpartum sweating, hot flashes, and everything else that occurs in the first few weeks postpartum.
Many postpartum women, if not most, have experienced night sweats.
Experiencing postpartum night sweats is normal, but that doesn’t mean we should love it. Understanding why night sweats occur and how long they can last is enough for most women to accept it.
Postpartum night sweats
This article is all about postpartum night sweats. We’ll cover what causes postpartum night sweats, women’s health and normal body functions, other postpartum symptoms you may encounter, and how long you can expect to keep experiencing night sweats.
What causes postpartum night sweats?
Night sweats in the weeks following your baby’s delivery happen to many women. It has to do with spiked hormone levels during pregnancy starting to fall, eventually leveling out.
Giving birth requires a lot of extra help from your hormones, namely progesterone, and estrogen. Those hormone levels are at their highest during pregnancy.
After your baby is born, estrogen and progesterone levels fall, producing symptoms such as vaginal dryness, increased body temperature, hot flashes, and postpartum night sweats. Normal, but not fun, and sometimes stinky.
Extra fluid buildup
We have much more blood and fluids in our bodies when pregnant. It doesn’t all just disappear the moment we deliver the baby. The excess fluids need somewhere to go.
Your body temperature, especially at night, will increase in the first few weeks postpartum, and you’ll sweat. This helps the body to rid itself of those excessive fluids.
Excessive sweating isn’t exactly glamorous, but it’s a necessary concern you need to deal with.
How long will I experience postpartum night sweats?
Postpartum night sweats are perfectly normal and essential to women’s health in the first six weeks or so of the postpartum period.
For about six weeks, you can expect to experience night sweats, hot flashes, excessive sweating postpartum, and more.
If you don’t end up with any night sweats or hot flashes symptoms, count yourself lucky, as many women try and fail to escape postpartum night sweats.
However, If you deal with postpartum night sweats, which go on longer than six weeks, it may be worth calling your doctor to ensure your hormone and thyroid levels are healthy.
What can I do about postpartum night sweats?
No one wants to deal with waking up in a lake of sweat on a nightly basis. Hot flashes can strike any time of the day or night, which is bad enough.
Having to deal with night sweats on top of it all seems especially cruel to many moms.
This has led a lot of new moms, who much rather be spending time with their new baby than trying out remedies to alleviate or at least better deal with postpartum night sweats.
As it turns out, there are a few ways to deal with postpartum night sweats:
1. Avoid spicy foods
Some specific foods and drinks trigger hot flashes and are precursors to night sweats when you are postpartum.
After a few bouts with hot flashes and postpartum night sweats, you will likely start to be able to feel them coming on before they actually do.
When this is the case, avoiding trigger foods and drinks like spicy foods, coffee, hot liquids, and alcohol can help you to avoid those terrible hot flashes that will mean you’ll wake up in the wee hours of the morning in a pool of sweat.
2. Drink plenty of water
Most women want to lose water weight. While you may think it makes sense to avoid water if you’re trying to lose the excess fluid, that’s not the case.
Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated will help you flush out those hormones and feel cooler.
3. Use air conditioning or a fan
Keeping your bedroom cooler than the rest of your home may help with postpartum sweats. You can do this by turning down the air conditioner as bedtime approaches, sleeping on cotton or linen sheets, and turning on a fan in your bedroom to keep night sweats and other symptoms at bay.
Also, wear loose cotton or linen pajamas so that your skin can get proper circulation and your body heat can escape.
4. Wear clothes made of natural fabrics
Exclusive breastfeeding affects the levels of hormones in your body, which can, in turn, produce worse night sweats.
While having some strong body odor isn’t worth stopping your chosen feeding method, you should be aware that if you breastfeed, you can expect to be a bit sweatier than a bottle-feeding mom.
Rest assured, though, that the hormones will gradually decline as your body continues to regulate itself. Wear clothing and pajamas made of breathable natural fibers such as cotton and linen, eat well, and get rest.
Other postpartum period symptoms and issues
Postpartum night sweats, high body temperature, and a tendency to lose sleep easily are all parts of the postpartum phase of motherhood.
Kind of like menopause, postmenopausal women don’t have a lot of options aside from staying as healthy as possible, getting rest and hydration, and trying safe, natural remedies when they can find some.
Eating healthy fats and lean protein, getting exercise, relaxation training, and getting enough sleep can all aid in the body’s ability to regulate itself.
But women experience other issues with the postpartum period that can occur before those hormones return to pre-pregnancy levels.
Please pay attention to the following symptoms that are not conducive to typical symptoms of the postpartum phase of pregnancy and recovery.
If you’re losing weight, losing heat, and have a fever, you need to contact your healthcare provider and be checked. You may have an illness or infection that has nothing to do with recovering from pregnancy.
While you wait to be seen, note any similar symptoms to the flu or other illness you may suspect you have, drink lots of cold water to prevent dehydration, and get plenty of rest.
Your brain is a body part.
You should pay attention to rising hormones that crash and affect your mental health. If you suspect depression, you should speak to your doctor.
You can be taught relaxation methods, paced breathing, or be put on birth control that can help level out hormones by suppressing ovulation. Sometimes introducing supplements can also help.
About one in eight mothers struggle with this postpartum form of depression. You are not a bad mother or a bad person for having depression or intrusive thoughts.
Your brain is a body part. Your mental health is your health. Don’t ignore the signs, and don’t ignore the feelings.
Reach out for help. It can get better.
It’s not pleasant and tends to get a bit stinky, but hot flashes, sweating in the night, and feeling like a volcano about to erupt are normal parts of life when you’re a mother.
As if pregnancy and delivery weren’t quite enough, we also get plagued with what feels like spontaneous combustion on a nearly nightly basis.
Just remember that it won’t last. Do what you can to stay cool. Wear cool clothing, sleep in a layered bed, get all the rest you can, and enjoy your little one.
One day the stinky, sweaty moments will be a distant memory.