Postpartum Night Sweats: How To Deal With Hot Flushes

Sleep in lightweight nightclothes, underwear, or even naked to minimize night sweats after giving birth.
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Here at Kidadl, we know how much time and effort goes into raising children, whether you're a new mom or a long-time parent.

Each age and stage of development brings more questions and a whole new batch of related challenges to overcome. So whether you're looking for help with the toddler years and need advice on night time potty training, or you have older kids and you're after an article that can help you relate to parenting today's teens, Kidadl has a resource for you.

And never is information-packed, easy-to-read, and supportive content needed more than when you have a newborn baby on your hands! Pregnancy, and the long list of pregnancy-related conditions we often find ourselves with, can really take their toll! Are they normal, not normal; who knows?

One area of postpartum health that your OB-GYN might not have told you is the truth about postpartum night sweats. Yes, they are real! If you're waking up hot and miserable in the middle of the night, don't panic, it's a normal side effect of a post-pregnancy hormonal change for many women. This article will explain everything you need to know about postpartum night sweats.

What Causes Postpartum Night Sweats

Women's bodies go through a lot during pregnancy, labor, and birth. And unfortunately, it doesn't end once the baby has been born, full recovery can take months or even years!

But in the weeks after delivery, many women experience a particular group of symptoms, with one of the key things to look out for being night sweats, caused by post-baby hormone changes.

During pregnancy, your body needs high levels of estrogen and progesterone, but it doesn't need as much once your baby is born. So, in those first few days and weeks post-birth, estrogen and progesterone levels go down. That quick decrease impacts your normal body temperature at night time and so causes postpartum night sweats and chills.

It usually takes a period of weeks after giving birth for your estrogen hormonal levels to find their balance and return to the normal pre-pregnancy levels.

As well as the changes to your hormones, the anxiety, lack of sleep, and sheer emotional rollercoaster of it all can also cause you to feel hot, bothered, and more likely to sweat. Some people even think that postpartum sweating is one way your body releases all the extra water you retained during pregnancy.

Although postpartum night sweats are nearly always down to these common factors, occasionally they could be related to a separate condition. Infection is a key cause for concern, especially for women who have stitches following an assisted birth. As well as infection, hot flashes, or cold sweats, may also be symptoms of health conditions such as hypoglycemia or hyperthyroidism. If your postpartum night sweats are accompanied by any other unusual symptoms, like rapid weight loss, fever, or extreme fatigue, contact your doctor.

How To Deal With Postpartum Night Sweats

Drinking cold water before bed can help new moms to manage postpartum night sweats.

Typically, postpartum night sweats last a few weeks before they eventually disappear on their own, as your hormones balance themselves out. But they may well make life miserable for you until that point. Hot flashes and night sweats can make it difficult for you to sleep (and you need all the sleep you can get with a newborn!), which can leave you irritable and with low energy, ultimately taking a toll on your mental and emotional health.

But don't worry, there are lots of different tricks and techniques that you can try to make yourself more comfortable.

Firstly, you can try lowering the temperature of your bedroom slightly. Sleeping with a window cracked or using a fan or air conditioning unit in your bedroom could help, especially in the summer months. However, as your baby is likely to be in the bedroom with you, be conscious of the overall room temperature and making it too cool. The optimal temperature for your baby's room is between 68-72 F (20-22.2 C).

You can also try some techniques to lower your own body temperature. Drinking cold water before bedtime, and keeping a bottle or flask, that keeps water cool, to hand on your bedside table will help keep you hydrated and refreshed throughout the night. You could also take a cool shower before bedtime or keep a bowl of chilled water by your bedside with a washcloth to lay onto your forehead, neck, or wrists during hot flashes.  

If you can, avoid food and drink before bed that will raise your internal body temperature. A cup of hot tea or coffee, or a spicy meal, may worsen your hot flashes.

And don't forget to sleep in lightweight nightclothes, in your underwear, or even naked, if you're comfortable doing so! Therefore you're not covered with unnecessary extra layers.

Make sure you're not using thick or heavy bedsheets and covers. There are some amazing lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking bedding options on the market, made from everything from cotton and linen to eucalyptus and bamboo.

If you find that your sheets are being soaked through with sweat, you could try sleeping on a towel. Not a big fuzzy bath sheet though, that would probably make hot flashes worse! Instead, use a thin, absorbent towel, like a travel towel. If you're a light sleeper and often toss and turn, a cotton mattress protector might be an even better solution.

You might also find that, as bedtime gets closer, you start to get stressed at the thought of what's to come, and, in a vicious cycle, the anxiety could actually make your postpartum chills and night sweats worse. So why not explore some different relaxation techniques to aid your mental health? You could try gentle yoga or stretching before bed; and in bed, experiment with meditation or sleep apps that play soothing sounds. Getting your mind and body into a more calm and relaxed state might help to deter the onset of those postpartum hot flashes.

Sweating During Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding women often continue to experience excess sweating at night for longer.

Breastfeeding women often continue to experience excess sweating for longer, even after those first few weeks post-delivery. No one is completely sure why, but it may well be because nursing continues to impact your hormone balance and metabolism.  

It's also important to note that breast milk is around 90% water. So when you're drinking, you're not only hydrating yourself, you're also creating milk to nurse your baby. So don't be tempted to drink less in a bid to curb sweating; it may impact your milk supply and ability to breastfeed. If anything, nursing women should drink more to stay healthy and hydrated, regardless of sweat!

If you're getting worried about sweating whilst breastfeeding when you're out and about, why not keep a deodorant, clean shirt, washcloth, and bottle of water in your diaper bag, alongside what you need for your baby? You can be ready for a quick change at any time. But remember, try not to worry or feel self-conscious, your body is doing a wonderful thing by feeding your baby, and you should feel proud.

Again, although sweating during breastfeeding is normal, if your sweating is accompanied by any other symptoms, there could be another reason behind it. Contact your doctor, who can run some simple tests to get to the bottom of your symptoms, so you can get back to full health and take care of your growing baby.

If you found this article helpful, then why not take a look at how to get rid of stretch marks after pregnancy or find out all about the pick up put down method?

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