Have you started feeling sweaty now that you’re pregnant? Getting compliments for having a pregnancy glow on your face? Well, since sweating is a part of pregnancy, the glow up is the only good thing that comes with it, otherwise we know how uncomfortable it might be. The excessive sweating is actually due to the increased blood volume and hormonal fluctuation alongside other factors.
Now what are night sweats? That feeling when you wake in the middle of the night drenched in sweat and you feel like changing your clothes, yes that’s exactly what night sweats feel like. Night sweats are pretty common and study shows that they occur in about 35% of the pregnant women. These can occur due to various reasons and we’ll look into it and also let you know of how you can cope with these night sweats.
What are the Causes of having Night Sweats during Pregnancy?
Although night sweats occur due to changes in the entire body but some of the common sweat inducing factors in a pregnant woman’s body are the following:
The hormonal changes during pregnancy, specifically talking, the surge of estrogen and progesterone are the culprits to the night sweats that you experience. Researches suggest that generally, the presence of sex hormones in the body leads to temperature fluctuations. Likewise, the increase in estrogen levels lowers the body temperature by dissipation of heat by sweating where on the other side, progesterone rises the body temperature hence the fluctuations. The sweating could be the body’s way of adjusting to the changes in hormones and metabolism.
Increase in Blood Flow:
Comparatively, a pregnant woman’s blood plasma increases up to 40% to that of pre-pregnancy and would continue to increase till 60% until the end of pregnancy. to supply more blood to your skin, the blood vessels dilate and that is how you get that warm feeling. Where the body temperature decreases throughout the sleep cycles during the circadian rhythm. The temperature change is regulated by the outer temperature of the skin which adjusts the blood flow to the skin hence coping with the temperature change.
During pregnancy, there’s a rise in body temperature naturally which interferes with the body’s natural mechanism of the decrease in body temperature during sleep. This can partly explain why you suddenly wakeup drenched in sweat.
When talking about the hormonal imbalances, we meant it in reference to estrogen and progesterone but thyroid hormones is a slightly different story. Thyroid glands are basically responsible for the regulation of metabolism and body temperature and overproduction of the thyroid hormones can generally have you feeling over heated.
According to a study regarding physiological changes linked to pregnancy, during the first trimester of your pregnancy, two of the thyroid hormones increase, namely the thyroxine (T4) and tri-iodothyronine (T3) and drop back slightly in the remaining two trimesters. On the contrary, the thyroid stimulating hormone decreases in the first trimester and increases before even the second trimester begins.
As many nutrients are required by your body to supply your baby as well as to carry out your body functions, the body may face deficiency, like that the body can have iodine deficiency that can further lead to the alteration of the thyroid functioning. Apart from the thyroid hormone fluctuations within the normal range during pregnancy, the temperature regulatory issues can be due to more severe problems, diseases or disorders which leads to night sweats. If you tend to experience severe night sweats, you may potentially have thyroid issues and you should consult your OB/GYN about it.
Side Effects of Medications:
Many drugs have the potential to cause night sweats and excessive sweating whether they’re OTC (over the counter) medications, anti-depressants or decongestant medications. During pregnancy, if you’re taking any medications for any conditions, even cold, let your OB/GYN know about it for your night sweats.
You may have medications for the nausea that you experience during your pregnancy, or more commonly called as morning sickness. One specific medications that you should be aware of is Zofran which is usually prescribed for the morning sickness and if you’re taking it, you’re probably experiencing night sweats.
Night sweats could be an indication of an underlying disease or infection and is a classic symptom of lymphoma and tuberculosis. Although rare during pregnancy but it can still be a possible reason for the night sweats. Keep in mind that during pregnancy, there is change is the immune systems due to the other bodily changes which make you more vulnerable to certain types of infections. Some of the organisms that pregnant women are more vulnerable to are as follows:
- Herpes simplex virus
- Malaria parasites
- Hepatitis E virus
- Influenza virus
A woman can easily get foodborne infections during pregnancy caused by Listeria monocytogenes, a type of bacteria. If you observe having night sweats in combination with other signs and symptoms such as diarrhea, flu, nausea, you should immediately talk to your gynecologist.
Low Blood Sugar Level:
Your metabolism increases during pregnancy in order to provide your baby with all the necessary nutrition in order to nourish and grow. If you eat as much as you used to eat before you got pregnant, you may be deficient of the required calories which can lead to you suffering from hypoglycemia or more commonly known as low blood sugar. Night sweats could be a symptom of the low blood sugar level. Pregnant women who are diabetic should be more aware of the risk factors than those who are not.
When should you be Concerned about the Night Sweat?
Although not alarming but if you’re worried about the night sweats, you should definitely talk to your doctor about it. Night sweats are common during pregnancy but these could also indicate of an underlying disease or disorder. If you observe any of the following signs, immediately seek professional attention:
- Sustained high fever
- Extreme itching
- Postpartum night sweats extending 6 weeks
- Fainting or feeling dehydrated
If you keep your body hydrated, you can avoid dehydration and overheating but if severe symptoms experienced, be sure to get help. You shouldn’t be embarrassed of these as it is the job of your healthcare workers to take care of you and give the best advice regarding your concerns.
How to find Relief?
You can’t really help the hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy, but you can look into some effective ways to reduce feeling uncomfortable and sweaty. You can adopt the following ways to reduce the sweatiness during pregnancy:
- Keep yourself hydrated by drinking enough water and fluids throughout the day.
- Wear comfortable clothes that are loose fit and not tight on the skin.
- Wear removable light layers so if you feel warm, you can remove them.
- Take showers or specifically baths in lukewarm water to refresh yourself.
- Wear antiperspirant.
- Turn on fan or other air conditioners.
- Avoid foods that elevate body temperatures.
- Have a portable hand fan when going outdoors.
- Splash cool water on your face when feeling warm.
- Follow your doctor’s guidelines for the best results and to avoid problems.
When the weather gets hot, other cooling techniques can be adopted such as:
- Use sunscreen outdoors.
- Select mornings or evenings for outdoor activities when the temperature is cooler.
- Avoid direct sun.
- Go for a swim.
- Prefer going to cool or air-conditioned areas such as theatres or malls.
As for the postpartum night sweats, you can use the following techniques:
- Breathable clothing/pajamas.
- Light weight bedsheets.
- Use light sheets and comforters which you can remove when feeling warm.
- Let cool air ventilate your room by opening the windows.
- Hydrate yourself by adequate intake of fluids and water.
- Turn of the fan or air conditioner of the room.
Having night sweats is pretty common during pregnancy usually due to the fluctuations in hormones but be careful that they could also act as an indication of an underlying serious illness which can prove to be a problem in the future. It is better to get checked by your OB/GYN and consult them for proper diagnosis and advice. Follow your doctor’s guidelines and avoid the usual night sweating by keeping yourself hydrated and keep a cool environment around yourself.