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Pregnancy Sweats

Pregnancy Night Sweats

By Amalah

Dear Amalah,

I’m pregnant, and actually just a few weeks behind you, which has actually been really cool. Plus the pregnancy calendar! Hugely helpful! But now I’m just about 30 weeks along and I have a new symptom that I could really use a little practical advice about.

I’m so SWEATY. At night, mostly, and it started before the weather started warming up so I know it’s probably hormone related…though now that it IS actually getting warmer at night I am waking up in a literal pool of sweat. Absolutely drenched. It’s gross and it’s uncomfortable and it’s actually messing with my sleep. Which I value HIGHLY right now, since I know I won’t be getting much in just a few more weeks. Short of blasting the air conditioning at night (which actually isn’t even an option yet, since I live in a condo building where the A/C won’t get switched on for at least another month), do you have any advice on staying dry (or drier) and comfortable in the third trimester?

Sign me,
Even My Boobs Are Sweating

Oh my God, THIS. This this this. Right now, exactly how you describe it, is totally happening to me. It’s like a switch was flipped as soon as I hit the third trimester and I started sweating at night like you would not believe. The first time it happened I actually thought MY WATER HAD BROKEN. I was seriously THAT WET.

I’ve written about the hormonally-charged “breastfeeding sweats” before, but yes, the “pregnancy sweats” also totally exist. They are mostly hormonal, of course…though partly just plain physical. Your body’s blood volume increases by 25 to 40 percent, and blood is a pretty warm substance, as these things go. Some women see a natural rise in body temperature — I usually register on the cold side on thermometers, like 97.8, but it’s now more common for me to see something like 99 degrees come up when I take my temperature. Plus the weight and warmth of the baby, fluid, placenta, maternal fat stores and all the other things going on in your abdomen, it’s no surprise that pregnant women often feel like walking hot water bottles.

Here’s how I’ve been combatting the night sweats, though. And any extra suggestions from you been-there-done-that types are more than welcome in the comments.

1) Apply deodorant to all pulse points before bed. I use Dove Clinical Strength, and I swipe not only my underarms before bed, I include the inside of my elbows, my wrists, behind my knees, and most definitely my cleavage. It definitely makes a difference.

2) Take a cool shower or bath. Emphasis on cool. While I don’t usually start sweating until later in the night, after I’ve been sleeping for awhile, cooling my body down as much as possible before bed helps.

3) Surround yourself with lightweight, breathable materials. Check your pajamas, sheets, blankets and (if you use one) body pillow for synthetic fibers. If you’re wearing or sleeping on polyester or other unnatural fibers, you’re more likely to trap and retain all that heat against your body, provoking more sweat. 100% cotton is totally the way to go. My current lineup consists of nothing but a pair of cotton boyshorts, a mens’ cotton undershirt and one single cotton sheet.

My night sweats also started BEFORE it got particularly warm so I struggled to keep a balance between staying warm in the beginning of the night and cool mid-way through — I raided my husband’s stash of moisture-wicking ski wear (results were mixed; cotton was still better) and replaced a fleecy microfiber blanket on our bed with a cotton one and just resigned myself to kicking things off throughout the night.

4) Keep ice water nearby. I always keep a big old cup of water on my nightstand because I ALWAYS wake up parched, but once the sweating happened I switched out the regular semi-cold tap water and filled the cup (I’m talking the 30-ounce lidded variety I stole from the hospital after Ezra’s birth) with as much ice as I could. So when I do wake up and feel my body temperature creeping up, I at least have still-cold water nearby to help cool down.

5) If you have long hair, braid it. Having my hair down and loose absolutely makes me sweat more, especially about my neck and forehead. But! Ponytails are BAAAAD for your hair at night, so go for a French braid or just a long loose braid with a gentle fastener at the very end. If you have bangs, pin them back or wear a stretchy headband. (I also use a powdered dry shampoo all along my hairline, all the way around to the back of my neck — particularly this one spot behind my ears that seems to be especially soaked and matted in the morning.)

6) Buy a damn fan, point it at your side of the bed. Open windows, turn thermostat way down, whatever you can do to make your environment as cool as possible. Yes, the night sweats are coming from something hormonal inside your body, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit there while your spouse insists on keeping everything a toasty 70 degrees in APRIL.

7) Avoid spicy foods, caffeine and (duh) alcohol before bed. These can provoke night sweats even in non-pregnant folk, so if you’re like me and crave the chocolate and the spicy stuff, be aware you might be paying for them in a way you never realized.

8) Skip the body lotions and oils. Particularly if you’re using ones with a lot of fragrance or unpronounceable ingredients that might be leaving residue on your skin’s surface. I swapped my nightly body moisturizer for nice skin-softening things that I can use in the tub (like LUSH bath bombs) while taking my cool-down bath. Then I turn on the shower head at the end and rinse off for good measure. If you’re bothered by dry or itchy skin, use products in the morning (though bathing in cool water should also help with that, too).


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About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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