If you’ve just had a baby or are expecting soon, you’re probably aware of some postpartum symptoms. One lesser-known, but still very common symptom is postpartum night sweats. Postpartum night sweats can last anywhere in the range of a few days to several weeks or even months – sorry! Don’t get caught off guard by postpartum night sweats. Here’s why they happen, and what you can do about them.

What are postpartum night sweats?

With postpartum night sweats you can expect to wake up drenched in what seems like an ocean of sweat. While you’re pregnant, your body retains a lot of extra fluids. Water retention accounts for a large portion of weight gain during pregnancy, and you have water retention to thank for swollen feet and fingers during pregnancy. After you give birth, your body needs to get rid of all those extra fluids it saved up during pregnancy. Postpartum night sweats (in addition to peeing a LOT) is how your body does this.

You might feel like you're waking up in a pool of your own postpartum night sweats
You might feel like you’re waking up in a pool of your own sweat.

Tips for managing postpartum night sweats

If you’re one of the lucky mamas experiencing postpartum night sweats, here are a few things you can try to alleviate the discomfort.

Use a towel or mattress protector

Use a mattress protector or lay down a towel under your sheets while you sleep. This will help wick the excess moisture away from your skin, keeping you dry at night, while also protecting your mattress from an ocean of sweat.

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Getting plenty of rest and relaxation will help speed up your recovery.

Choose breathable bedding and clothing

Wear breathable, loose fitting clothing that keeps you cool and doesn’t retain moisture to bed. Sleep under an afghan or loosely stitched blanket at night – the holes in the blanket allow better ventilation so sweat can evaporate while maintaining warmth.

A loosely knit blanket will alleviate discomfort of postpartum night sweats
A loosely knit blanket will keep you warm and minimize sweating at night.

Keep one foot or arm out from under the covers

Keeping one limb out from under the covers can help you regulate temperature while you’re sleeping. It also allows air to move easily in and out from under the covers, preventing heat from building up to the point where you feel overheated – which is easy to do while postartum! Make it easy to cover and uncover limbs while sleeping: When you make the bed, don’t tuck the top sheet or duvet under the mattress.

Drink lots of water to alleviate postpartum night sweats

This may sound counter-intuitive: Why add more water to the pond? As you’re sweating, you’ll need to keep hydrated to prevent dehydration – it is even more important to stay hydrated while breastfeeding. Postpartum night sweats is your body’s way of getting rid of toxins and fluid retention leftover from pregnancy. Adding more water to the equation will encourage this process along, which (in theory) means the postpartum night sweats will stop sooner.

Drinking plenty of water will help postpartum night sweating along.
Image courtesy of Medcare Moms

When to worry about postpartum night sweats

It’s completely normal for postpartum night sweats to last for several weeks, and even longer if you’re breastfeeding or pumping. What isn’t normal is if you’re experiencing a fever or other symptoms like chills and dizziness too. Take your temperature, and if you’re running a fever call your doctor – it could mean an infection.

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