Being a new mother is not easy. The first few months are going to be the hardest when a mother tries to adjust in her new routine and learn to stay awake at night to attend to her baby. There are many postpartum changes in a mother’s life and among them, night sweats are one of them.
This article explains the causes and 7 home remedies for postpartum night sweats.
What are postpartum night sweats?
Hot flashes that are experienced after giving birth to a baby are night sweats and a breastfeeding mom can experience postpartum night sweats. Hot flushes can be confused with a common complaint during menopause, but in some cases, after childbirth, a woman undergoes several hormonal changes which can also cause night sweats. Approximately 30 percent of women experience night sweats during pregnancy and approximately 35 percent experience them after giving birth.
Postpartum sweating often happens when a mother is sleeping and takes the form of postpartum night sweats.
Causes of postpartum night sweats
This condition can occur due to a few reasons. The following are the causes due to which there are night sweats after delivery:
- The body’s way of getting rid of excess fluids that the body stores during pregnancy is through night sweats after delivery. This is because to support a growing fetus there is 50 percent extra fluid in a pregnant lady’s body. There is no more excessive requirement of fluid after delivery. The excess blood after delivery is then reabsorbed and excreted as sweat or in the form of urine.
- Disrupted hormone levels are another cause of night sweats. During pregnancy, levels of estrogen and progesterone rise, and after giving birth to a baby, the levels of these hormones reduce considerably. Due to this, there is a change in body temperature which may lead to night sweats.
- Certain medications such as obstructive sleep apnea, hyperthyroidism, anxiety can also cause night sweats sometimes.
- Breastfeeding suppresses ovaries, which lowers the production of estrogen, so breastfeeding moms can experience night sweats.
- If there is water retention during pregnancy, which means more fluids in the body, then a mother can experience night sweats post-delivery.
How long do the symptoms of postpartum night sweats last?
According to some doctors and medical professionals, the postpartum period usually lasts for about 6 weeks, however, some symptoms can be present for long. A woman’s body undergoes so many changes after pregnancy and among them, some common issues that can crop up include night sweats, fatigue, postpartum depression, constipation, etc. postpartum night sweats are usually more severe after a couple of weeks after delivery according to some studies but they begin to disappear after this period. A low amount of estrogen in the body is one of the major triggers for postpartum night sweats and breastfeeding reduces the level of estrogen in the body, therefore night sweats may continue as long as the mother breastfeeds her baby or until the lactation ends.
7 home remedies for postpartum night sweats
When a woman wakes up drenched, it is extremely uncomfortable. When night sweats of a woman are worst, then there are few things that can help. It should be remembered that these postpartum changes are temporary, and when the level of hormones returns to normal, they subside. The following are some effective ways that can help a woman to deal with night sweats after delivery.
Drink plenty of water
Due to excessive sweating, there can be dehydration, so a mother should drink plenty of water throughout the day to cope with the loss of water. How can a mother tell if she is drinking enough? She should be using the bathroom frequently, and her urine should be a light or clear colour. If her urine is dark, then she is probably not drinking enough water. Drinking plenty of water also helps the body to function effectively.
Cooldown the room
When a mother keeps her body cool, she can help reduce the sweating bouts at night. She can sleep in an air-conditioned room, keep a pedestal fan next to her bed, or open the windows of her room for some fresh air. Doing all this will help her body to stay cool and thus avoid excessive sweating.
Use loose clothing
The kind of clothes that a mother may be wearing or the sheets she may be using may make her sweat more. She should wear loose-fitted and comfortable clothes, especially made up of cotton or linen that help the body to escape the heat. She should also use cotton or linen bedsheets when sleeping so that she doesn’t sweat much. She can also place a towel on her pillow to absorb the excess sweat and to avoid the discomfort of changing the sheets on an everyday basis. She can also place a rubber sheet underneath her bedsheet to prevent the sweat from reaching her mattress.
Consume healthy food and exercise
Adopting a good lifestyle that includes eating a well-balanced diet combined with light exercises can prove beneficial in improving her physical and mental health post-childbirth. Include more fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meat, and healthy fats to regain strength that her body. Doing all this can help her body to manage all the side effects that occur after delivery.
Increase intake of soy
It has been observed that taking soy supplements can reduce the chances of hot flashes or night sweats according to a study. She can also increase her intake of soy products such as tofu, natto, miso, tempeh, etc instead of taking supplements. However, she should consult with her doctor before making any dietary changes or taking any supplements if she is breastfeeding.
Yoga for relaxation
The body and mind can be kept relaxed by doing yoga and breathing exercises. Deep breathing exercises, positive thinking or visualization, meditation or mindfulness, progressive muscle relaxation, etc. are some measures that can help to relax the mind and body and help a mother to sail effectively through the postpartum phase.
Because of several postpartum side effects, getting peaceful sleep at night can sometimes be difficult for a mother. Getting a body massage can help her to relax her body and help her sleep better at night. She can also try foot massage, head massage, cognitive-behavioural therapy for better sleep at night.
Waking up in the night to feed, change, and soothe a newborn may feel difficult if a mother is also sweating through her clothing. If she believes her night sweats are unusually heavy or have lasted a long time, she should consult her doctor.
A mother doesn’t need to suffer alone. That being said, that a mother’s body is likely just continuing its tremendous transition from pregnancy to postpartum. A mother should take care of herself and her growing baby. She should be back to feeling more like herself soon.