Excessive Sweating and Night Sweats in Pregnancy

Causes, Concerns, and How to Deal

You know how people often say pregnant women are "glowing?" Well, the secret to that "glow" is likely due in part to sweating. (But don't let that stop you from thinking of it as a compliment.) In fact, excessive perspiration and night sweats are very common when you're expecting.

So, don't worry if you're feeling warm and sweaty when everyone else around you is comfortable—it's a routine part of the pregnancy experience. Read on to find out why all this sweating happens, how long it lasts, and tips on how to get relief. 

Getting relief from sweating during pregnancy
 Verywell / Jessica Olah

Why It Happens

Sweating is nature's way of helping you regulate your temperature. During pregnancy, your body temperature increases slightly. This is a natural byproduct of growing a baby. Hormonal changes, increased blood volume, and weight gain all contribute to this small uptick.

When you start to feel warm, sweating cools you down and prevents you from overheating, which could be dangerous for you and your baby. (The clinical term for this excess sweating is hyperhidrosis.) Additionally, hormonal shifts can trigger your brain's hypothalamus into thinking your body is even hotter than it really is, which can activate more sweating than is needed to keep your body temperature where it should be—and might be why you're sweating bullets and feel like it's 100 degrees when it's only 75.

Most of the time, sweating during pregnancy isn't worrisome. However, truly excessive perspiration is occasionally a symptom of something unrelated to pregnancy. If you are concerned about your sweating, consult your physician.

Causes

Your belly can feel like a little heater—and it is. However, all that perspiration comes from changes in the whole body as well. Below are some of the most common, sweat-inducing factors at play in a pregnant woman's body.

Changing Hormones

Changing hormone levels during pregnancy are responsible for many pregnancy symptoms and discomforts, including a slight rise in body temperature and the resulting increase in perspiration. 

Increased Blood Circulation

There is more blood circulating in your body during pregnancy, which can make you feel warmer. In fact, by the beginning of the third trimester, your blood volume will increase by almost 50%.

Higher Metabolism

You burn more calories and generate more heat when you’re expecting as your body is working harder, which makes sense. You're literally working for two—maintaining your body and growing a new one.

Weight Gain

It can take more effort to move around when you’re carrying a little extra weight, especially in the third trimester, and this extra effort generates more heat. Plus, carrying a baby shifts your body's center of gravity, which can also make your body work harder to keep its balance—and feel hotter.

The Weather

You can expect to sweat even more when you spend time outdoors in hot, humid weather as it will take more effort to cool off your pregnant body.

Physical Activity

When you’re pregnant, you may perspire more than usual when you exercise, clean the house, go on a walk, or participate in any other activity that strains your body.

Anxiety

Sweating is a natural response to stress and nervousness. As a result, you may experience excessive sweating when you're pregnant if you have anxiety or mood swings.

Illness

A fever from a cold, flu, or other illness can also cause an increase in body temperature, which can cause more sweating. 

Hyperthyroidism

There is a normal increase in thyroid activity during pregnancy (in response to hormonal shifts) that can cause higher body temperatures and amounts of perspiration. However, hyperthyroidism is beyond what is considered normal. An overactive thyroid may speed up your heart rate and body systems, causing excessive sweating (beyond the expected increase) and other symptoms.

Medication

Sweating is a side effect of some medications, including certain medicines that treat nausea, which some pregnant women take to offset morning sickness

Food and Drink

Spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine can all trigger sweating, so limiting these in your diet can help keep hyperhidrosis in check. (You should avoid alcohol and avoid or limit caffeine during pregnancy anyway; and spicy foods can trigger heartburn as well as sweating.)

When It Starts and Ends

Increased sweating is normal throughout pregnancy and during the postpartum period. However, the first and third trimesters are when hyperhidrosis is the most common and severe.

Many women start feeling sweaty very early in their pregnancies. The changing hormones and increase in blood flow slightly raise the body temperature soon after you become pregnant and this small increase is enough to make you feel hot—and sweat a lot more then you're used to. Sometimes, it's one of the first signs of pregnancy that a woman notices. 

Some women get relief from sweating during the second trimester. However, don’t be surprised if it returns in the last few months as you get closer to delivery, particularly if you happen to be waiting out your third trimester during the heat of summer. Additionally, research has found that around 35% of women report hot flashes during pregnancy and the postpartum period.

Postpartum sweating is also very normal. It is one of the ways your body gets rid of the extra fluid it was carrying while you were pregnant. Additionally, night sweats (nocturnal hyperhidrosis) due to postpartum hormonal shifts can occur while your body gets back in balance after your baby is born.

After your baby is born, you may continue to sweat for a few weeks as your hormones adjust and your body returns to its pre-pregnancy state. 

Ways to Find Relief

It doesn't have to be a sweltering, humid day to feel hot and sweaty when you're pregnant. Pregnant women perspire during the cold winter months, too. There isn't much you can do about your pregnancy hormones and your body's response, but there are effective strategies you can try to find relief.

Tips for Cooling Down

  • Drink plenty of water or other healthy fluids to stay hydrated and replace what moisture you're losing as you sweat.
  • Dress in light, breathable clothing made with natural fabrics, such as cotton, and avoid warm materials, such as wool.
  • Wear layers that you can remove when you begin to feel warm.
  • Take a daily bath or shower with lukewarm water to cool off and feel fresh.
  • Wear an antiperspirant. 
  • Turn on the air conditioner or set up a fan. 
  • Stay away from foods and drinks that are known to increase body warmth and sweating.
  • Carry a handheld fan with you when you go out.
  • Carry baby wipes in your bag for a quick cool down when you're feeling sweaty. 
  • Splash cool water on your face or hold a damp, cool cloth on your forehead.
  • Aim to stay within your doctor's guidelines for weight gain as extra pounds can make you feel warmer.

Tips for Cooling Off in Hot Weather

  • Try to stay out of the direct sun, especially during the hottest part of the day; when possible, seek out shade.
  • Wear sunscreen when you go outside.
  • Plan your outings in the morning or the evening when temperatures are cooler.
  • If you exercise, stay indoors in the air conditioning or exercise during the cooler parts of the day. 
  • Spend the day in places with air conditioning, such as at the mall or a movie theater.
  • Go for a swim.

Night Sweats

Sleeping while pregnant, particularly in the third trimester, is a challenge for any expectant mom, especially those who experience night sweats. Night sweats are more than just feeling hot and sweaty at night. They can be drenching sweats that can soak right through your pajamas and sheets. Not only are they uncomfortable, but they tend to interfere with your sleep, causing tossing and turning, waking you in the night, and requiring clothing and bedding changes. Here are some tips to help you get through night sweats during pregnancy and the postpartum period:

  • Wear light, loose-fitting pajamas to bed.
  • Change your sheets to a lighter fabric or one that is cooler.
  • Change to a lighter or thinner comforter, blanket, or duvet. You can also layer your sheets and blankets so you can use only what you need during the night. 
  • Turn up the air conditioner to make the room cooler.
  • Turn on the ceiling fan if you have one, or buy or borrow a floor fan for your bedroom. 
  • If possible, open a window to allow some fresh, cool air into your room.
  • Sleep on a towel or multiple towels to absorb the sweat and protect your sheets. It’s easier to wash the towels than to change and wash the sheets every day—or during the middle of the night.  
  • Drink plenty of healthy fluids during the day to replace what you’re losing through sweating at night.

When to Call Your Doctor

Even though sweating and night sweats are common pregnancy side effects, it's a good idea to discuss your symptoms with your doctor during your prenatal appointments. Your doctor can then confirm whether it's pregnancy-related or something else. They can also answer any questions you have, advise you on ways to find relief, and follow up with you to monitor that your body (and perspiration rate) returns to its pre-pregnancy state after you've had your baby. 

You should call your doctor immediately if:

  • You are itchy all over, especially if you do not have a rash.
  • Your temperature exceeds 100.2 degrees F. 
  • You have symptoms of dehydration or illness.
  • You feel dizzy or faint.
  • You are too uncomfortable.
  • The sweating does not get better by six weeks after your baby is born.
  • You have any serious questions or concerns.

A Word From Verywell

Sweating is a common discomfort of pregnancy. You might routinely feel flushed, have hot flashes, or wake up in a puddle of sweat. All this perspiration can be embarrassing, uncomfortable, and inconvenient, but it’s a normal part of pregnancy and usually not a cause for concern. 

While you can’t control your hormones and your body temperature, you can usually find some relief. Thankfully, serious complications from sweating are rare. As long as you stay hydrated and try your best to keep your skin cool and dry, you should be able to prevent potential issues, such as overheating, dehydration, and heat rash. By and large, sweating is a good sign that your pregnant body is working as it should be—and that's something to glow about.

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Article Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Thurston RC, Luther JF, Wisniewski SR, Eng H, Wisner KL. Prospective evaluation of nighttime hot flashes during pregnancy and postpartum. Fertil Steril. 2013;100(6):1667-72. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2013.08.020

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