Postpartum sweating

During pregnancy your body retains extra water, then sheds it after delivery through excess sweating and increased urination. Postpartum sweating and night sweats are very common, and usually stop after a few weeks. 

Woman sweating in the night
Photo credit: © Jodie Johnson Photography / Stocksy United

Why am I sweating postpartum?

Many women sweat a lot in the weeks after giving birth, especially at night. Sweating is one way your body gets rid of the extra water you retained during pregnancy, so your pores work overtime after delivery.

You may notice you're not just sweating: Your kidneys actually eliminate most of this fluid, which means you'll also be urinating more than usual for the first week or so after you give birth.

Advertisement | page continues below

The emotional stress of new motherhood can make you sweat more too. And though no one knows for sure, it's possible that the dramatic drop in estrogen right after delivery also contributes.

Even after the water weight is gone, you may continue to sweat more than usual if you're nursing. Again, the cause is not well studied or understood, but theories include hormonal and metabolic changes associated with the postpartum period.

Is postpartum sweating common?

This type of sweating is very common and can come in the form of hot flashes and night sweats, similar to what many women experience during menopause.

According to research, about 35 percent of women experience hot flashes during pregnancy and 29 percent have these flashes postpartum.

Postpartum night sweats: Why do they happen?

Night sweats are often connected to hormonal changes, especially the drop in estrogen that occurs postpartum. Similar to menopause, the shift in these hormones can be particularly problematic at night and cause enough of a temperature fluctuation to increase sweating, followed by feeling chilled.

You may also experience a rapid heartbeat and feelings of anxiety. Frequency and intensity of night sweats varies among women and may last only a few seconds, or up to a few minutes.

How long will postpartum sweating last?

Postpartum sweating can last several weeks after delivery, and it tends to last longer if you're breastfeeding – possibly because of a lower estrogen level.

Advertisement | page continues below

Some research suggests postpartum night sweats are most frequent for about two weeks after delivery, and then decline over the following month.

Is there anything I can do about postpartum sweating ?

Drinking plenty of water and other nonalcoholic beverages speeds up the process of eliminating extra fluid (and keeps you from getting dehydrated), so don't cut back on how much you drink in the hope of sweating less.

Wearing lightweight cotton clothing may be cooler and more comfortable than synthetic materials while you're waiting this out.

If you sweat profusely at night, try taking a lukewarm or cool shower before bed. You can also try placing a towel over your pillow, using a cotton mattress protector, and placing a fan at your bedside.

Should I ever be concerned about postpartum sweating?

Postpartum sweating is completely normal, but if you also have a fever, this could indicate that you have an infection. Increased sweating can also be a sign of other medical problems, such as an overactive thyroid gland.

Advertisement | page continues below

Contact your healthcare provider if you have a fever or if you think your sweating is excessive.

Follow your baby's amazing development

BabyCenter's editorial team is committed to providing the most helpful and trustworthy pregnancy and parenting information in the world. When creating and updating content, we rely on credible sources: respected health organizations, professional groups of doctors and other experts, and published studies in peer-reviewed journals. We believe you should always know the source of the information you're seeing. Learn more about our editorial and medical review policies.

Fertility and Sterility. 2013. Prospective Evaluation of Hot Flashes during Pregnancy and Postpartum. a new window [Accessed February 2022]

Mayo Clinic. 2021. Hot Flashes. a new window [Accessed February 2022]

Elizabeth Millard
Elizabeth Millard is a freelance journalist specializing in health and wellness. She’s also a yoga teacher, and lives in a cabin in northern Minnesota with her partner, Karla, and their two very spoiled potbellied pigs.