Postpartum night sweats can be an uncomfortable – and sometimes surprising – experience for new moms, but did you know they serve a beneficial purpose?
The body is an amazing, brilliant machine that knows exactly what it needs to do to help postpartum parents heal and recover as efficiently as possible, and night sweats play a role in that.
We understand how unpleasant and frustrating night sweats can be, but try and remember that they are temporary. Today, we will discuss postpartum night sweats – what they are, why they occur, how long they typically last, and their often unheard-of benefits.
What are postpartum night sweats?
People might experience night sweats for several reasons throughout their life, such as being sick, medications they’re taking, and menopause.
Postpartum night sweats are a specific type that is common in those who have recently given birth; night sweats affect around 29% of postpartum moms.
This type of sweating can occur during the day when you’re awake, but they mostly happen while you’re asleep throughout the postpartum period – generally considered to be the six to eight weeks after giving birth.
If you weren’t aware of this postpartum symptom before it started, it could be a big surprise, and we’re here to ease your mind about it.
Night sweats during the postpartum period are normal and serve a unique purpose while your body heals and returns to functioning as it did pre-pregnancy.
The cause of postpartum sweating
When you enter the postpartum stage, you might start noticing night sweats within the first 1-2 weeks immediately following birth, with their peak often being around the 2-week mark.
A drop in the hormones estrogen and progesterone causes postpartum night sweats.
Read next: Your Postpartum Hormone Timeline
These hormones are higher throughout pregnancy, and once you give birth, they decrease exponentially since they aren’t as needed anymore. The lower amount of these hormones affect how your body regulates its temperature in the early weeks postpartum.
Still, the levels will eventually taper and return to the normal range on their own, and the night sweats will stop being regular.
It’s also good to note that breastfeeding moms also tend to experience night sweats a bit more and for a more extended period than those formula feeding.
If night sweats impact how well you can sleep, you can wear very light, thin pajamas to bed, use breathable bedsheets (cotton or bamboo is good), knock your air conditioning down a couple more degrees, and use a fan.
It’s also believed that consuming caffeine and spicy food can intensify night sweats, so consider lowering your intake to reduce your sweating.
How long do postpartum night sweats last?
Once you start experiencing postpartum night sweats, you might feel uncomfortable and as if they will stick around forever. Don’t worry; this isn’t the case at all!
Night sweats typically last up to six weeks, with the peak of it often occurring around the two-week mark. As the hormone levels start to regulate after a few weeks, the severity of sweating should decrease.
However, as we mentioned earlier, it is common to experience some still sweating as long as you’re breastfeeding. The postpartum period is considered to be six to eight weeks following birth.
If you’re experiencing night sweats and they’ve been going on for more than six weeks, then reach out to your doctor to ensure nothing else is happening health-wise – especially if the sweating is severe.
The benefits of postpartum night sweats
We’ve learned all about postpartum night sweats by now, but how in the world are they beneficial?! These night sweats are helpful because they aid the body in getting rid of excess fluid needed during pregnancy.
The blood volume in the body rises about 50% during pregnancy, so once you give birth, you certainly don’t need all of this excess fluid. Sweating is one of the body’s primary ways of eliminating excess water and toxins.
So if your night sweats are waking you up in the middle of the night or your pajamas and sheets feel damp in the morning, know that it’s not for no reason, and your body is hard at work getting all that extra fluid out of your system.
Even though this is your body’s way of ridding itself of excess fluid, you must stay rested and hydrated, especially if breastfeeding. It’s vital to stay hydrated, but it’s of the utmost importance when sweating more than usual and constantly producing milk for your baby.
Final thoughts on postpartum night sweating
Postpartum night sweats might be causing you frustration, either because it’s interfering with your quality of sleep, your sheets and clothes feel like they constantly need to be washed, you feel like you need a shower, or all of the above.
You could even be one of the chosen ones who don’t notice the sweats.
Either way, it’s important to remember that they are only temporary and serve an essential purpose. Your body needs some time to heal and regulate itself to its post-pregnancy state, and getting rid of the excess fluid is one of the essential steps in this process.
Try and be as patient as possible if you are experiencing postpartum night sweats – your body has done so much to bring your little one into the world and is doing so much now to heal from that.
You might not be able to prevent night sweats from occurring after you’ve given birth since fluctuating hormones cause them, but you can be prepared and utilize some of the helpful methods we listed to alleviate them.
When it comes to night sweats, educating yourself ahead of time can be a game changer; remember that they should only last six weeks at most, and remember that you are doing so great and be mindful of giving your amazing body the time it needs to recover.