Do you have a new baby at home? As you adjust to life as a mom for the first time, or even if you’re a seasoned pro, you might be wondering what changes you’ll experience after birth.
Night sweats are a common complaint in the weeks after baby is born. Here’s more information about this unpleasant postpartum symptom, how to deal with it, and when to call your doctor.
Postpartum Recovery: What’s Happening in Your Body?
Your body goes through remarkable changes during pregnancy. After your baby is born, things don’t necessarily go back to normal immediately, either. You may experience a number of physical and emotional changes that make you uncomfortable.
There’s a lot going on, including:
- vaginal soreness and discharge
- uterine contractions
- urinary incontinence
- bowel issues
- breast soreness and engorgement
- hair and skin changes
- mood shifts and depression
- weight loss
Have you woken up in the night after totally soaking through your clothing or bedding? Along with other postpartum complaints, you might be experiencing night sweats.
Why Are You Sweating at Night?
Sweating in the night can happen for a number of reasons. Sometimes, waking up warm and sweaty isn’t considered “night sweats” at all. Instead, it just means you’re too hot or snuggling with too many blankets. Other times, night sweats might be a side effect of medication or a symptom of a medical issue like anxiety, hyperthyroidism, or menopause.
You may also have excess sweating in the days and nights after childbirth. Your hormones are tasked with helping rid your body of excess fluids that supported your body and baby during pregnancy. Along with sweating, you may notice that you’re urinating more frequently, which is another way your body flushes out all that extra water weight.
How Long Will These Symptoms Last?
Night sweating is most common in the days and weeks after birth. It typically doesn’t signal any more serious medical issues. If your sweating persists for longer, contact your doctor to rule out infection or other complications.
Treatment for Postpartum Night Sweats
Waking up drenched may be extremely uncomfortable. There are a few things you can do to feel better when your night sweats are at their worst. First, try to remember that this postpartum symptom is only temporary. Your hormones and fluid levels should regulate soon enough.
In the meantime:
- Drink plenty of water. All that sweating can leave you dehydrated. It’s important to keep up with your fluid intake, especially if you’re breast-feeding. How can you tell if you’re drinking enough? You should notice you use the bathroom frequently and produce urine that’s pale in color.
- Change your pajamas. Even before you start sweating, you can help keep yourself cool by wearing loose, light layers instead of heavy pajamas. Cotton and other natural fibers are better than synthetic fabric at letting your body breathe.
- Cool down the room. Whether you turn on the fan, air conditioning, or open a window, letting the temperature in your bedroom lower a bit should help ward off some sweating.
- Cover your sheets. You may need to change your clothing often, but you can limit sheet changes by covering your sheets with a towel. Worried about your mattress? You can protect it with a rubber sheet underneath your regular bedding.
- Consider using powder. If your night sweats are causing skin issues, you can try sprinkling some talc-free powder on your body to prevent rashes.
When to See Your Doctor
Contact your doctor if you notice that your night sweats last longer than several weeks after delivery, or if they are accompanied by fever or other symptoms. A fever may be an indication of an infection, so it’s important to get checked out.
Complications after childbirth might include:
- wound infection (at caesarean delivery site)
- blood clots, specifically deep vein thrombophlebitis
- womb infection (endometritis)
- breast infection (mastitis)
- excess bleeding
- postpartum depression
Be sure to call your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- fever over 100.4 ºF
- unusual or foul vaginal discharge
- large clots or bright red bleeding more than three days after delivery
- pain or burning with urination
- pain, redness, or drainage at incision or stitches sites
- warm, red areas on your breasts
- severe cramping
- trouble breathing, dizziness, or fainting
- feeling particularly depressed or anxious
You should also keep your 4-6 week appointment after delivery so your doctor can ensure you’re healing properly. This appointment is also a great time to discuss birth control, postpartum depression, or any other concerns you may have.
Waking up in the night to feed, change, and soothe your newborn may feel difficult if you are also sweating through your clothing. If you believe your night sweats are unusually heavy or have lasted a long time, you may want to ask your doctor:
- How long do night sweats typically last after giving birth?
- Is what I’m experiencing normal?
- What other symptoms should I be on the lookout for?
- Could any of my other existing medical conditions be causing night sweats?
- Could any of my medications be causing night sweats?
You don’t need to suffer alone. That being said, your body is likely just continuing its tremendous transition from pregnancy to postpartum. Take care of yourself and your growing baby. You should be back to feeling more like yourself soon.