While most people think that sweating at night usually occurs during menopause, many women experience night sweats during pregnancy. The night sweats pregnancy triggers in expectant mothers can be disruptive. Despite the joys of carrying a new life in the womb, some of the symptoms that accompany pregnancy are less than joyous. One unpleasant symptom many expecting mothers experience is night sweats during pregnancy.
This type of sweating while sleeping can vary from mild to severe and it is the most common cause of night sweats in women under 40.
But even mild sweating can be disruptive for a woman’s sleep, and getting enough sleep is very important for overall health, especially during pregnancy. She either wakes up from the high body temperature or from being drenched in sweat, and drifting back to sleep is often difficult because of the discomfort. Why do night sweats and pregnancy often go hand in hand? And what are the healthy solutions to bring more comfort and better sleep?
What Causes Night Sweats During Pregnancy?
The hormonal imbalance that takes place during this time is the primary cause of pregnancy night sweats, much like hot flashes during menopause. During pregnancy estrogen levels change, and this change can trigger some of the low estrogen symptoms commonly associated with menopause.
These changing estrogen levels cause the hypothalamus to react somewhat erratically. The hypothalamus is what regulates the body’s temperature, releasing heat through sweat and dilated blood vessels when the body is hot, and retaining heat when the body is cold. When the change in hormones impacts the functioning of the hypothalamus it often leads to hot flashes and night sweating.
Sleep And Pregnancy
Sleep is very important during pregnancy, but there are a number of reasons why it is more difficult to sleep well during this time, besides sweating at night. The constant need to get up and go to the bathroom, the discomfort of an expanding belly and the added stress of this life change can all interfere with sleep. It is important to take steps to improve sleep during this time as there is evidence to suggest that women who experience more sleep disturbances during pregnancy are more prone to postpartum depression. Not to mention pregnancy is already tiring and energy levels may already be lower during this time.
Are There Any Solutions?
Unfortunately there is no magic cure for night sweats during pregnancy, but there are some things that may help reduce the severity or frequency of them. Certain natural remedies for night sweats in women and hormone replacement therapy aren’t an option for treating night sweats caused by pregnancy, but there are other options.
Keeping the thermostat a few degrees cooler is the first place to start as pregnant women tend to feel overheated already. Wearing cool, cotton pajamas, using a fan in the bedroom, limiting bed coverings to light weight cotton sheets, and avoiding a heavy blanket may also provide help for night sweats. Many doctors and midwives believe that proper diet and exercise during the course of pregnancy can help lessen the severity of symptoms, and there is some evidence to indicate this is true, however no major research has been done to prove this.
Eating more antioxidant rich foods and avoiding processed foods and unhealthy fatty foods may help, plus it will provide better nutrition for mom and baby. Avoiding spicy foods at night is important as spicy foods can cause a rise in body temperature. It is also important to avoid caffeine in the evening; in general caffeine should be limited during pregnancy.
Exercising early in the day is best. Exercising too close to bed time can raise body temperature and lead to sweating, and it can also increase energy levels making it difficult to fall asleep. But getting regular exercise can foster better sleep.
Drinking something soothing, like chamomile tea, or practicing relaxation techniques can set the stage for a better night’s sleep.
If you struggle with night sweats during pregnancy, be sure to discuss your symptoms and night sweats treatment options with your pregnancy health care provider. He or she may have some helpful advice. Keep in mind it’s not uncommon to experience night sweats after pregnancy, but if they are severe or if they last for several months after pregnancy talk with your doctor.
Thankfully, even in the worst case scenario, if the symptoms persist throughout the entire course of the pregnancy, there will be an end to them at some point after the baby is born, and he or she will have certainly been worth it._____________________________________