I remember when my wife got pregnant with our first child. There were a lot of ups and downs, excitement and anxiety. But there was one problem, in particular, we kept coming back to.
My wife kept sweating while sleeping during pregnancy.
We were actually worried for a little bit about this. We lived in the hot, humid Ozarks, in the south-central part of rural Missouri in the United States at that time.
The days were hot and humid, but the evenings were almost as bad.
Sometimes it would get over 90 degrees after dark. And the humidity was so bad that we would literally sweat until the bed-sheets were drenched.
Was this going to hurt the baby? Why was it happening? And how could it be fixed?
These were all questions that we dove into. And in this post, I’m going to share what we discovered.
Here’s what you need to know.
Is It Normal to Have Night Sweats While Pregnant?
First off, sweating is a pretty normal part of expecting a baby.
Let’s not forget women have been doing this for eons.
Since the dawn of humankind, women have been carrying children and giving birth to them.
It is the miracle of life but even with all of our modern medical technology, it is still a process that causes a little bit of fear and anxiety and for good reason!
Having a baby is a rather risky ordeal, right?
And while you may not necessarily be used to the changes your body is going through while expecting, keep in mind that many women before you have experienced similar issues.
This may not bring you immediate physical comfort but hopefully, it will bring you a bit of peace of mind!
During pregnancy, it is pretty common for women to experience hot flashes. They may perspire, feel flushed, and wake up in a puddle of sweat.
It may be embarrassing. It may be inconvenient. And it may be a real pain in the butt.
But thankfully, it isn’t usually a cause for concern or something to worry about.
Serious Pregnancy Complications Stemming From Sweating Are Rare
So unless you have other symptoms that lead you to believe that there is some kind of problem, you are usually pretty good to just chalk it up to hormones—and can set about the task of making yourself more comfortable.
With that being said getting comfortable while pregnant can be a pretty serious ordeal.
Your body is changing. You are experiencing all kinds of things that don’t normally happen.
Plus, don’t forget you have an entire little person growing inside of you!
That’s no small thing (well, it is but it’s also a BIG THING).
So let’s break this down a bit and lay out the whole thing.
Sweating While Sleeping Pregnancy – Can You Get Night Sweats In Early Pregnancy?
You can absolutely experience sweating while sleeping during pregnancy.
In fact, experiencing hot flashes and night-sweats is so common when expecting that LiveScience.com calls it one of the 12 early signs of pregnancy.
One study, conducted in 2013, showed that more than one-third of all women reported having either night sweats or hot flashes while pregnant.
What Causes Night Sweats During Pregnancy?
It is commonly believed that rapid fluctuations in estrogen levels are mostly responsible for hot flashes and night sweats in pregnant women.
If you want to get down to the technical aspects of it, these hormonal shifts actually confuse the hypothalamus. This is the area of the brain that deals with regulating body temperature. And as it turns out, the hormonal shifts that occur after conception play havoc with your body’s ability to regulate its temperature.
So when the body tends to become ‘too warm, ‘ this triggers the sweat response, the body’s natural method for cooling you down.
Is There Any Way to Prevent Night-Sweats During Pregnancy?
Unfortunately, sweating during the night is so common during pregnancy that preventing it isn’t really an option.
You are going to have to deal with certain levels of surging hormones and temperature fluctuations. That is just part of being pregnant.
But with that being said, there are some things you can do to help stay cool and comfortable!
How Can I Stop Night Sweats During Pregnancy?
There are a number of things that you can do to try to remain comfortable and cool while sleeping during pregnancy.
Here are some of the techniques that my wife used to use and honestly, they all worked pretty well in different scenarios.
The main thing to keep in mind is that there will be a bit of trial and error to this process. What works for some women may not work for others.
It isn’t an exact science!
That’s just how pregnancy is.
Turn On A Fan
If you are sweating while sleeping during pregnancy, turning on a fan may be the simplest option to make it better.
Get a regular box fan, point it in your direction, turn it up to the desired setting, and enjoy the breeze.
Open A Window
If your bedroom has windows, you may be able to open them up and cool the room down.
Of course, this may not be the best option if you live in a noisy neighborhood, or if you are already running the air conditioner. But in some situations, it can be an awesome option. Especially during the cooler parts of the year.
Avoid Spicy Foods
Not surprisingly, some spicy foods will make you sweat on their own.
And if you’re already having problems with hot flashes and night sweats, you may want to go ahead and pass on that super-spicy Pad Thai this time around!
Even if it doesn’t make things worse, it probably isn’t going to make anything any better!
Cut Out The Hot Drinks
If you normally wind down for bed with a cup of hot cocoa or some hot tea, you may want to consider a different strategy.
A hot beverage is going to increase your body temperature.
And even if this increase is only slight, it is still an increase!
And it is possible that it will push you over the edge and cause you to have to endure another long, tedious, uncomfortable evening of sweating.
Sleep On an Absorbent Towel
Sometimes, it just isn’t possible to stop the sweating altogether.
Therefore, dealing with the moisture is the next logical step.
Sleeping on a towel can actually do a lot to help keep you comfortable while you sleep.
Find a nice, dry, soft towel that feels good underneath you, and place it between you and the bedsheet.
If you sweat, the towel will absorb it much better than the sheets will and this will contribute to a more comfortable, relaxing night’s sleep.
Layer the Blankets
If you normally sleep with a heavy comforter on top of you, think about switching it out for two or three ‘smaller, lighter’ blankets instead.
This way, if you start to get too hot during the night, you can throw one or two blankets off while still staying comfortable and covered up.
Try Wearing Lighter, Looser Clothing
If you normally wear those soft, comfy flannel PJs to bed, consider switching them out.
Go for a large T-shirt, some really light-weight clothing, or a light nightshirt instead.
Wearing heavy clothing will keep your body heat closer to you instead of allowing it to disperse. And that is bad news for your sweating problem!
Try to Stay Cool in the Hours Leading up to Bedtime
You may not be able to completely avoid sweating while sleeping. But the decisions you make leading up to bedtime can certainly impact your quality of rest.
And staying cool before bedtime can do a lot to help.
Try to avoid going out into the hot sunlight. If possible, drink something cool. You can even take a luke-warm shower to avoid overheating.
Taking it easy and staying cool as you get ready for bed will give you your best chance of staying cool after climbing under the covers.
Turn on the Air Conditioner
Of course, having an air conditioner while pregnant is a godsend.
My wife didn’t have an air conditioner in the bedroom when she was pregnant with our first child.
She had to make do with a fan and an open window!
But thankfully, by the time we had our second child, we had a nicely air-conditioned room—and that made a big difference.
Last, But Not Least – Drink Plenty of Cool Water
Whether you end up sweating or not, drinking plenty of cool water will help you to stay cool, hydrated, and comfortable.
One thing that you don’t want to be while pregnant is dehydrated!
So make sure to keep your fluid intake high and drink enough water for you and the baby.
Will Night Sweating Hurt the Baby?
As a general rule, night sweating does not pose any danger to your unborn baby.
What you need to look out for, actually, is a fever—where sweating does not occur.
Pregnant women should be careful not to let their temperature get above 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit. This puts them at a greater risk for dehydration, exhaustion, and heatstroke.
A high temperature like this also puts their baby at a greater risk.
If you begin to develop a fever, the best course of action is to contact your doctor.
Your doctor may instruct you to increase your fluid intake, cool off in a bath of cool water, and/or apply wet cloths to the skin to help absorb the heat.
If in doubt, always contact your doctor. But since your body’s natural heat-releasing mechanism is to sweat, it is usually considered a good sign that you are sweating.
If you’re sweating, you are much less likely to overheat.
When Should I Be Worried About Night Sweats?
If you experience flu-like symptoms while also experiencing night sweats, then you may want to contact your doctor.
Dizziness, nausea, feeling feverish, headaches, and muscle cramps are possible symptoms of a greater underlying problem. So if you are experiencing night sweats in addition to one or more of these symptoms you should most definitely contact your doctor.
In Conclusion – Sweating While Sleeping During Pregnancy
Long story short, sweating while pregnant is inconvenient, uncomfortable, and mildly to moderately problematic.
But is it dangerous?
Not really. In most cases, it is quite normal and you don’t have much to worry about.
Just pay attention to your body, and make sure that you talk to your doctor if you do develop a concern.
But as a general rule, sweating while sleeping during pregnancy isn’t going to be a dangerous phenomenon in most cases. It’s pretty common, and happens to virtually all pregnant women at some point or another.