Postpartum night sweats occur after you give birth due to changing hormone levels. They typically resolve on their own within a few weeks.
Postpartum night sweats are when you sweat excessively at night in the weeks following childbirth (known as the postpartum period). While it’s possible to sweat during the day, most sweating occurs at night. Postpartum sweating typically goes away on its own after several weeks.
The dramatic drop in hormone levels after you give birth causes postpartum night sweats. During pregnancy, hormone levels are high, but after you give birth, hormone levels decline. This fluctuation — and your body’s attempt to regulate itself — leads to night sweats.
The most obvious sign of postpartum night sweats is waking up from sleep drenched or soaked in sweat. It may keep you awake at night and leave you tired and irritable in the morning. You may also have body odor and sweat so much you need to change your clothes and sheets in the middle of the night. As the name implies, postpartum night sweats occur in the postpartum period, or the first six weeks after giving birth.
Yes, postpartum night sweats are a normal and natural reaction to changing hormone levels. It’s common to wake up soaked in sweat in the first few weeks after you have a baby. Some research suggests 35% of people who’ve just given birth claim to have postpartum night sweats.
The cause of postpartum night sweats is mostly due to hormones and losing excess fluid after delivery.
Estrogen and progesterone levels plummet after you give birth. Sweating is a reaction to hormonal fluctuations. Specifically, hormonal changes affect your hypothalamus, the part of your brain that controls your body temperature. For reasons that researchers don’t completely understand, low estrogen makes your hypothalamus (sometimes known as your body’s thermostat) believe you’re too hot. Your brain tells your body to cool you off. This results in excessive sweating.
Night sweats also happen to people with low estrogen due to entering menopause (when menstruation ends).
Your blood volume increases by about 50% during pregnancy. Night sweats could happen because your body is shedding the extra fluid that you needed during pregnancy.
Yes, people who are lactating tend to sweat a little more. This is because prolactin, the hormone responsible for producing breast milk, keeps estrogen levels low. Sweating is one of the main side effects of low estrogen. Even people who feed their baby with formula can experience night sweats. However, their night sweats usually end sooner than people who breastfeed (chestfeed) because they aren’t producing prolactin.
Postpartum night sweats are temporary, but can be frustrating to deal with. Some recommendations that may help sweating at night are:
Be sure to drink plenty of water as excessive sweating could lead to dehydration. Some supplements claim to help regulate your hormones during the postpartum period. Be sure to speak with a healthcare provider before taking any supplements if you’re breastfeeding.
Postpartum night sweats tend to be the worst for the first two weeks after giving birth. It takes a few weeks for your body to readjust itself to its pre-pregnancy hormone levels. Once this process is complete, night sweats typically end.
You may have night sweats longer if you’re breastfeeding, as this keeps estrogen levels low. Low estrogen levels tend to make postpartum night sweats last longer.
No. you can’t prevent night sweats after giving birth. It’s a common side effect of changing hormone levels.
Postpartum night sweats are rarely a sign of anything serious. Contact your healthcare provider if you have fever, chills or pain as this could be a sign of an infection. Medication and other health conditions can also cause night sweats. Other conditions that can cause night sweats include:
Check with your provider if you have night sweats that last longer than three weeks.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
The best treatment for postpartum night sweats is often patience. Excessive sweating at night is common after giving birth because your body just went through some major hormonal changes. Fortunately, night sweats resolve on their own after a few weeks. Allow your body time to adjust, try to get some rest and drink a lot of water. If night sweats continue beyond a few weeks, talk to a healthcare provider to make sure an underlying condition isn’t causing it.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/18/2023.
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