How To Relieve Night Sweats During Pregnancy
The experience of night sweats varies greatly among women during their pregnancies.
Also known as nocturnal hyperhidrosis, night sweats can be either sporadic or frequent episodes where you wake up wet with sweat. Night sweats specifically happen in either your first or third trimester when there is the most fluctuation in your hormone levels.
Many doctors attribute night sweats to an imbalance in your estrogen levels as this imbalance will influence they hypothalamus in your brain which controls how your body reacts to temperatures.
There are many unpleasant experiences during pregnancy, and night sweats are considered one of the most unpleasant out of all of them.
They are described as having extreme perspiration that covers your entire body with a sudden feeling of heat coursing all over your body. It can happen during the night and even during the day while you sleep.
Night sweats often resolve themselves after the baby is born, but for some women, they can continue for a couple of weeks afterward until their hormones have gone back to normal.
What Causes Night Sweats?
You can pretty much blame everything you go through during pregnancy on hormone changes. In this case, the hypothalamus can get confused when the sperm meets the egg.
The hypothalamus helps to regulate your body temperature and when it gets confused it can think it senses heat even if it isn’t there. In response, your body triggers the sweat function to cool you off.
Caffeinated Beverages, Sugar, and Spicy Foods
Anything that can increase your body’s metabolism like sugar and spicy foods can cause sweating.
When you have a change in your thyroid gland, you can also experience a change in your body temperature. Hypothyroidism can be caused by pregnancy which can increase your possibility of experiencing night sweats.
Depending on the medications you are on, some of them can cause night sweats by raising or lowering your body temperature. If you take aspirin or acetaminophen during your pregnancy, you may also experience night sweats, especially if you take it at night.
Plus, if you are taking anti-nausea medication or anti-depressants, you can also experience night sweats.
Anxiety can actually trigger an increase in your body temperature, so try to stay relaxed throughout the day.
Infections and Illnesses
Obviously, getting sick can cause you to have the night sweats. There are several infections and illnesses that can cause a pregnant woman to have night sweats.
Viruses and infections can increase your body temperature and make you sweat profusely. Other types of illnesses like Hodgkin’s lymphoma that can develop during pregnancy creates malignant cancer cells in your lymphatic system which can increase your body temperature.
Night Sweat Treatment
Although there is no treatment for night sweats, there are a few things you can do to help you get through the night including:
- Do not eat spicy food or drink hot beverages.
- Drink plenty of cool water during the day and have a cup of water with ice near your bed at night.
- Refrain from exercising outdoors especially when it is hot out.
- Refrain from going out in the sun if you can during the day, especially at the hottest times.
- Wear loose, light-colored clothing made of light material. (Related: check out our guides on maternity jeans [link], maternity leggings [link], and pregnancy shoes [link]).
- When you feel yourself overheating, go inside to an air conditioned area that will allow you to cool off. In the colder months, wear layers so that you can remove a few if you start to overheat.
- Use a small amount of talc-free powder in the parts that are friction prone to absorb any excess moisture and prevent heat rash.
- Before you go to bed at night, take a cool bath or shower.
- If you have long hair, braid it before you go to bed to keep your neck and back cool.
- Layer your bed with a blanket and sleep on bath towels to absorb any extra sweat as you sleep. Sleep in breathable materials to help you cool off during the night, and use a pregnancy pillow to get comfortable.
- Place a fan next to your bed or open windows to help cool your body off in the middle of the night.
- It has been reported that some women find it helps to apply deodorant to their pulse points before they go to bed, specifically on the inside of their elbow, on their wrists and cleavage, and behind their knees.
Contacting Your Doctor
If you find yourself suffering from night sweats, especially if they become annoying and uncomfortable, make sure to tell your physician. This is especially important if you find you are having other symptoms like fever or rapid heartbeat or palpitations.
There are other serious illnesses that can accompany night sweats like leukemia, mononucleosis, lymphoma, and other contagious viruses. Your doctor will want to know any serious symptoms you are having to prevent any further complications that could affect you or your baby.
Your doctor may decide that you need to take a certain medication to manage your night sweats. One thing that can be very helpful to your physician is to keep a diary of everything you have eaten, so you can identify which foods you may have eaten that could have triggered your night sweats.
A food diary can also help you to keep a record of the length of your night sweat occurrence and what time it started.
Night sweats can be an extremely uncomfortable part of your pregnancy experience, but it is unfortunately not something you can control.
There are steps to help you deal with night sweats that can help relieve some of the more annoying and uncomfortable parts.
However, the good news is that it is temporary, so you just need to hang on and it will be over soon.