If you are experiencing night sweats during pregnancy, don’t worry!
It’s quite normal and very common in pregnancy to wake up drenched in sweat.
If your night sweats persist and you also have other symptoms, you might want to have a chat with your midwife or doctor and ask for medical advice.
Nights sweats during pregnancy
Sweating during pregnancy at night can be very annoying for you.
Waking up drenched is not fun – especially when it coincides with having to pee every five minutes and when a little person is kicking you in the ribs.
We will discuss why you have night sweats in pregnancy and suggest some remedies to help with the discomfort.
What causes night sweats during pregnancy?
Most pregnant women experience nights sweats at some stage of their pregnancy. This type of sweating is known as nocturnal hyperhidrosis, and it’s a very common symptom of pregnancy.
When you sweat, it’s because your body is trying to regulate your body’s temperature. During pregnancy, it’s normal for your body temperature to increase. But there are some situations when your body temperature is affected by other factors, and you should have this checked.
These are some of the causes of night sweats in pregnancy.
Hormone changes in pregnant women
Surprise, surprise! Pregnancy hormones being responsible for even more symptoms. During pregnancy, estrogen and progesterone go on a rollercoaster ride, causing hormonal shifts that affect your body heat.
This study looked at how hormones affected thermoregulation. Estrogens lower body temperatures by increasing the body’s ability to remove heat through sweating. Progesterone can also increase your body’s temperature.
The increase in night sweating you’re experiencing during pregnancy is most likely due to your body adjusting to these changes.
Increased blood volume
During pregnancy, your blood volume can rise by up to 40% compared with when you’re not pregnant.
In the third trimester, the blood volume continues to rise by up to 60% or more.
The increased blood volume means there’s more blood in all parts of your body, including your skin surface. This causes you to feel warmer and then, of course, your body will try and cool itself by increased sweating.
At night, your body’s core temperature decreases, so why do you wake up drenched in sweat?
This research shows your temperature is controlled by your skin’s outer temperature. Increased blood volume seems to interfere with that mechanism.
The thyroid gland’s job is to regulate metabolism and temperature.
The thyroid hormones (thyroid-stimulating hormone) can be overactive or underactive, depending on how well regulated the thyroid gland is. Too much thyroid hormone can make you feel overly warm, especially at night.
Pregnancy can bring about normal fluctuations in thyroid hormones but it’s worth getting checked if you experience ongoing night sweats that won’t go away. Your doctor will assess whether or not you have any other symptoms of hyperthyroidism and test your hormone levels.
Sweating at night is a known side effect of many medications, including cold and flu medications, some antidepressants, and medications for heartburn in pregnancy.
One popular medication used for the treatment of hyperemesis gravidarum in pregnancy is Ondansetron or Zofran. This medication in particular can cause night sweats in pregnancy.
It’s best to avoid taking any medications during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. Before taking any medications for colds or heartburn, speak to your pharmacist, doctor or midwife about them – just to be on the safe side.
Night sweats in pregnancy are more likely as a result of having a fever or chills. Sometimes they can be a sign of infection.
Very rarely, sweating can be caused by tuberculosis or lymphoma.
Pregnant women might be more susceptible to infection due to changes in their immune system.
Some of these infections include:
- Influenza virus (flu)
- Hepatitis E virus
- Herpes simplex virus
- Malaria parasites.
Pregnancy night sweats in isolation usually aren’t something to be concerned about. However, if you have other symptoms like fever, nausea, or muscle aches, contact your midwife or doctor immediately.
Nocturnal hypoglycemia refers to blood sugar levels dropping at night.
Diabetes in pregnancy can cause an elevation in temperature. It must be noted, though, a drop in blood sugar is usually accompanied by other symptoms, such as:
- Feeling cold and clammy
- Being disoriented
- Feeling really sleepy
- Low blood sugar or hypoglycemia
- Headaches and dizziness
- Unusual thirst
- Blurred vision
- Wanting to pee all time.
Please read Gestational Diabetes | Diet and Symptoms for more information.
When are night sweats more common in pregnancy?
Your body temperature changes in pregnancy due to increased blood flow, hormones, and a growing baby.
You might feel slightly warmer than usual, almost as though you’re in the hot zone!
Night sweats can occur right from the time of conception to three months after giving birth.
Are nights sweats an early pregnancy sign?
Some women experience night sweats or hot flashes as signs of early pregnancy.
You can check whether or not you really are pregnant with a home pregnancy test and a visit to your midwife.
Read How Early Can You Take A Pregnancy Test to find out more about your chances of an accurate test.
Most women have an increased temperature when they release an egg from the ovary. This might cause them to feel warmer and sweat more at night.
You might like to read Pregnancy Symptoms | 17 Signs Of Pregnancy for more information.
Night sweats in the first trimester
It’s most common for women to experience night sweats during the first trimester.
This is because of the sudden increase in the hormone estrogen the pregnant body produces during this time.
You’re at your hottest in the first trimester. Your temperature decreases into your third trimester and three months beyond.
For more information, please read Pregnancy Week By Week – The First Trimester.
Night sweats during the second trimester of pregnancy
Much like the first trimester, night sweats occur due to hormonal shifts. Your body temperature is slightly lower than in the first trimester as your hormones level out.
You have increased blood volume in the second trimester, though, so you can still have night sweats.
We thought you might like to read 10 Ways You Know You’re In Your Second Trimester.
Night sweats in the third trimester of pregnancy
Trying to get into a comfortable position for sleep when pregnant is tricky at the best of times in the second and third trimesters. Night sweating doesn’t make it easier.
Hormone changes, weight gain, and increased blood flow can cause you to have night sweating after 36 weeks gestation.
You might also like to read 10 Ways You Know You’re In Your Third Trimester.
How long do pregnancy night sweats last?
How long night sweats last varies, and will be different for each woman.
Some women experience intense sweating only at the beginning of pregnancy; others might have night sweats on and off throughout the pregnancy.
Is excessive sweating in pregnancy normal?
For most women, excessive sweating is one of the normal physiological changes during pregnancy.
The increased blood flow, hormone levels, and a growing baby all contribute to the night sweats for pregnant women.
Excessive sweating during pregnancy | remedies
Excessive sweating and hot flashes can interrupt your sleep, which is hard to get enough of, especially in the latter part of pregnancy.
Although you can’t do much about having nights sweats, you can take steps to make yourself more comfortable.
Try these methods:
- Dress at night in light, breathable clothing, such as cotton. This wicks moisture away from your skin’s surface
- Avoid warm materials, such as wool. They will make you feel hotter on the skin’s surface
- Exercise throughout the day and this might help you fall asleep a bit more easily
- Dress in layers
- Stay hydrated; it will help replace the fluid loss
- Sleep on a towel to absorb sweat
- Avoid caffeinated drinks and spicy foods; they could trigger your sweat reflex
- Turn on a fan
- Use air conditioners in moderation; air conditioning can really dry you out.
When should I be concerned about night sweats?
Night sweats during pregnancy are usually not something to worry about. It’s part of the fun of being pregnant and dealing with all the changes happening in your body.
It’s recommended to contact your health care provider if your night sweats:
- Are persistent
- Include fever (this registers on a thermometer as a higher core body temperature)
- Include nausea
- Include diarrhea.
Night sweats after pregnancy
After birth, your hormones will shift again. The hormones progesterone and estrogen, which are needed in pregnancy, will start to decrease after birth. This could cause postnatal night sweating (nocturnal hyperhidrosis)
It can take a couple of weeks for these hormones levels to readjust to your normal pre-pregnancy state.
You might be interested in reading 14 Things New Mamas Need After Birth.