Postpartum hot flashes are a common occurrence in women after giving birth.
They can be debilitating and uncomfortable, but they don’t have to get the best of you in their quest for attention!
In this article, you are going to learn what postpartum hot flashes are and how to deal with them.
So, let’s dive in 🙂
What Are Postpartum Hot Flashes?
Postpartum hot flashes are a common symptom of postpartum syndrome, which is a condition that can affect women after giving birth. Symptoms of postpartum syndrome can include hot flashes, mood swings, anxiety, fatigue, and trouble sleeping.
Hot flashes, sometimes known as hot flushes, come on suddenly.
They usually occur in the weeks after your baby is born.
You may experience sensations of heat on your face, shoulders, neck, and chest that can cause you to sweat profusely.
This can also be accompanied by redness in those areas.
Sometimes, a slight chill follows this excessive heat, causing you to feel both hot and cold.
Hot flashes at night are called night sweats.
This is when you wake up in the middle of your sleep to find yourself feeling hot and wet with sweat.
Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy are the main reason for postpartum hot flashes. Estrogen and progesterone levels drop significantly after childbirth, which can cause a woman to feel overheated and flushed.
Symptoms of Postpartum Hot Flashes
Hot flashes and night sweats are the classic menopausal symptoms but occur under other circumstances such as pregnancy and postpartum.
- Disturbed sleep
- Irritability and tiredness
- Waking up often
- Strong body odor
- Feeling dehydrated
How Long Do Postpartum Hot Flashes Last?
There is no one definitive answer to this question as postpartum hot flashes can last anywhere from a few weeks (usually around 6 weeks) to a few months. Some things that can contribute to how long they last include your overall health, and your lifestyle habits.
Postpartum Hot Flashes and Breastfeeding
After childbirth, your body begins producing prolactin to stimulate the growth of mammary tissue.
The progesterone and estrogen present during pregnancy suppress milk production, but as those hormone levels drop after childbirth, the body can begin producing milk.
When this happens, your body temperature increases by about half a degree, contributing to hot flashes.
With the return of menses, hot flashes tend to subside
Hot flashes and night sweats can persist until lactation ends in some cases.
Managing Postpartum Night Sweats
Postpartum night sweats are common and can affect up to 35 percent of women during pregnancy and 29 percent of women after giving birth.
They can be so exhausting, but luckily, there are a few things you can do to manage postpartum night sweats:
1. Stay cool
To reduce sweating, sleep on a towel that can be easily swapped out and keep the body cool by putting a cold damp washcloth on your neck, armpits, and groin.
Stay cool during the night by opening windows to boost airflow or using air conditioning in the bedroom.
2. Drink cold water
Drinking cold water is a great way to stay hydrated and cool you down when you are having postpartum night seats.
3. Eat more soy
Consumption of soy isoflavones has been shown to relieve the frequency and duration of hot flash symptoms in postpartum women.
Isoflavones are a type of phytoestrogen, which is a plant-based estrogen that is also beneficial for bone health.
Soy can be consumed in various forms, including soy-based foods.
4. Wear loose, natural fabrics
Wearing loose, natural fabrics helps the body lose heat.
Avoid synthetic materials like synthetics, acrylics, and silks because they can aggravate your postpartum night sweats.
Instead, use cotton clothing to stay cool at night.
5. Limit trigger foods
Certain foods and drinks can worsen the symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats.
For example, you should avoid drinking caffeine, especially in the evenings.
Eating well is always a good prescription for health, but is especially helpful in mitigating these steamy postpartum symptoms.
6. Try relaxation, breathing techniques, or hypnosis
Stress is related to many health conditions, including night sweats.
Relaxation training (focused on relaxing the muscles of each body part in turn), paced breathing, and hypnosis may help with hot flashes.
7. Eat well and exercise
A healthful diet is important for postpartum women.
Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will improve the body’s ability to recover after pregnancy as well as improve physical and mental health.
Exercising regularly can also help with postpartum weight loss and mood swings.
8. Try Pilates or massage
There is some evidence that the following can help people to sleep during the postpartum period:
- Pilates exercises
- Back massage
- Foot reflexology
However, more research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of these techniques in reducing postpartum hot flashes.
9. Ask your doctor about valerian root
Valerian root is an herbal remedy that people often use to encourage sleep or to treat sleep conditions.
It has been found to be a popular choice for people looking for relief from night sweats.
Despite valerian’s widespread use, however, the existing scientific evidence is not clear whether valerian root helps people to sleep or not.
As with any new treatment, it is best to speak with your doctor before starting valerian root as a way to manage postpartum night sweats.
Is It Normal to Have Hot Flashes 3 Months Postpartum?
Postpartum hot flashes normally last 6 weeks, but can even last for months. However, make sure you consult your doctor if you feel like something is not right.
When to See a Doctor
See a doctor if you have a fever, chest pain, shortness of breath, or other concerning symptoms.
Most postpartum night sweats are caused by changing hormones and will go away on their own.
In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, you should also see a doctor if you experience any other unexplained symptoms such as weight loss.
Other conditions that have night sweats as symptoms include:
- Postpartum thyroiditis
Sometimes medication can also cause night sweats.
That is why you should talk to a doctor who can run some tests to ensure your night sweats are not caused by other conditions.
The postpartum period is a time of hormonal flux and physical change. It can be a hard transition for many mothers to go through, but the symptoms will eventually subside on their own.
Knowing about postpartum hot flashes and how to deal with them, can truly help you cope with your night sweats a little better.
As always, make sure you speak to your doctor if you have any concerns!