Sweating and Night Sweats in Pregnancy

Causes, Concerns, and Tips to Get You Through

Girl suffering a heat wave in the bed in the night
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Excessive perspiration and night sweats are common when you're expecting. So, if you're feeling warm and sweaty when everyone around you is comfortable, it's just another part of the pregnancy experience. In this article, you will find why it happens, how long it lasts, and tips to help you find relief. 

Why It Happens

Sweating is nature's way of helping you regulate your temperature. During pregnancy, your body temperature rises. When you start to feel warm, sweating cools you down and prevents you from overheating, which can be dangerous for you and your baby.

Pregnant women sweat for many reasons. Most of the time, it is from normal pregnancy changes and isn't a reason to worry. However, excessive perspiration is sometimes a symptom of something unrelated to pregnancy.

The causes of sweating during pregnancy include: 

Changing Hormones

Hormone levels during pregnancy are responsible for many pregnancy symptoms and discomforts, including a slight rise in body temperature. 

An Increase in Circulation

There is more blood circulating in your body during pregnancy, which can make you feel warmer. 

A Higher Metabolism

You burn more calories and generate more heat when you’re expecting.

Increased Circulation

You burn more calories and generate more heat when you’re expecting.

Weight Gain

It takes more effort to move around when you’re carrying a little extra weight, especially in the third trimester. 

The Weather

You can expect to sweat more when you spend time outdoors in hot, humid weather.

Physical Activity

When you’re pregnant, you may perspire more than usual when you exercise, clean the house, or even going for a walk.

Anxiety

Sweating is a natural response to stress and nervousness. You may experience excessive sweating if you have anxiety.

Illness

A fever or other illness can cause an increase in body temperature along with sweating and other symptoms such as the chills. 

Hyperthyroidism

There is a normal rise in thyroid activity during pregnancy that can increase body temperature and perspiration, but hyperthyroidism is beyond what is considered normal. An overactive thyroid may speed up your heart rate and body systems, causing excessive sweating and other symptoms.

Medication

Sweating is a side effect of some medications, including certain medicines that treat nausea. 

When It Starts and Ends

You might start feeling sweaty very early in your pregnancy. The changing hormones and increase in blood flow raise your body temperature soon after you become pregnant. It may even be one of the earliest signs of pregnancy that you notice. 

Sweating can last throughout your pregnancy, but you may get some relief during the second trimester. However, don’t be surprised if it returns as you get closer to delivery.

Postpartum sweating is also very normal. It is one of the ways your body gets rid of some of the extra fluid it was carrying while you were pregnant.

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

Ways to Find Relief

It doesn't have to be a hot, humid day to feel warm 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 a few things you can do to try to find relief and prevent overheating and dehydration.  

  • Drink plenty of water or other healthy fluids to stay hydrated and replace what 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 if 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 stand near a fan. 
  • Stay away from spicy foods, caffeine, and other foods and drinks that can make you feel warm. 
  • 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. 
  • Try to stay within your doctor's guidelines for weight gain since excessive weight can make you feel warmer.

Cooling Off in Hot Weather

  • Try to stay out of the direct sun, especially during the hottest part of the day.
  • Wear sunscreen when you go outside and seek out the shade.
  • Take your outings in the morning or the evening when it's 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 the mall or the movies.
  • Go for a swim.

Sweating at Night 

Night sweats are more than just feeling hot and sweaty at night. They are drenching sweats that soak through your pajamas and sheets. Not only are they uncomfortable, but they can also interfere with your sleep. Here are some tips to help you get through night sweats during pregnancy.

  • 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 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 it’s possible, you can open a window to allow some fresh, cold air into your room.
  • Sleep on a towel or multiple towels to absorb the sweat and protect your sheets. It’s a little easier to wash the towels rather than change and wash the sheets every day.  
  • Drink plenty of healthy fluids during the day to replace what you’re losing through sweating at night.

When to Call the Doctor

Even though sweating and night sweats are common pregnancy complaints, you should still tell your doctor about it when you go for your prenatal appointment. Your doctor will want to be sure it's just pregnancy related and not something else. Your doctor can also answer any questions, give you more information, advise you on ways to find relief, and follow up with you in order to make sure your body returns to its pre-pregnancy state after you have the baby. 

You should not wait for your routine prenatal visit and call your doctor immediately if:

  • You are itchy all over, especially if you do not have a rash.
  • Your temperature exceeds 100 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 even feel flushed, have hot flashes, or wake up in a puddle in the middle of the night. It can be embarrassing, uncomfortable, and inconvenient, but it’s a normal part of pregnancy, and most women get through it without much of a problem. 

You can’t really control your hormones and your body temperature, but you can do your best to find relief. Thankfully, serious complications from sweating are rare, so as long as you stay hydrated and try your best to keep your skin cool and dry, you should be able to prevent issues such as overheating, dehydration, and heat rash. 

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