Why You're Dealing With Postpartum Night Sweats

If sweats and chills are keeping you up at night post-baby, you’re not alone. Here’s what you need to know.
save article
woman turning fan on in bedroom
Image: My July | Shutterstock

It’s no secret that babies can keep you up at night, especially during the newborn period. But if baby’s not the only reason you’re waking, you’re not alone. Postpartum night sweats—a result of post-baby hormonal changes in your body—are pretty common. But how long do postpartum night sweats last? And what can you do to feel more comfortable throughout the evening hours? Here’s what you need to know about this annoying, but temporary phenomenon.

What Are Postpartum Night Sweats?

Postpartum night sweats is a term for when you sweat more than usual at night in the weeks after having a baby, according to the Cleveland Clinic. “During the first weeks postpartum, you may wake up feeling drenched with sweat and even in need of a change of clothes or bedding,” says Julie Lamppa, APRN, CNM, a certified nurse midwife at Mayo Clinic and co-author of Obstetricks. Postpartum night sweats are pretty common, affecting about 29 percent of women after delivery, according to research.

Unfortunately, this can happen more than once a night, says Asima Ahmad, MD, MPH, FACOG, a reproductive endocrinologist and co-founder of Carrot Fertility. “It can be uncomfortable and cause loss of sleep,” she adds.

What Causes Postpartum Night Sweats?

As you can probably guess, all of those changing hormones are the culprit behind postpartum sweating. “After baby is born, there’s a sudden drop in both estrogen and progesterone,” Lamppa says. “This decrease in estrogen triggers your body into thinking it’s too hot. Your body then responds by attempting to cool down, which is done through sweating.” (This is similar to how hormone changes in the perimenopausal phase can cause hot flashes.)

Related Video

But exactly how your hormones affect your temperature is “not yet precisely understood,” says Kirstin Leitner, MD, an assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

How Long Do Postpartum Night Sweats Last?

While every new parent is different, there’s a general range for how long postpartum night sweats last. “Many women experience postpartum night sweats in the first few days to weeks postpartum,” says Leitner. Most experts say they resolve within a few weeks, although Lamppa adds that they might continue for longer if you’re breastfeeding.

What to Do About Postpartum Night Sweats

There isn’t a treatment for postpartum night sweats, but there are a few things you can do to stay more comfortable. “Generally treatment is ‘supportive,’” Leitner says. “There are no recommended medication or supplement treatment options.” That said, Lamppa recommends doing the following:

  • Cool down your bedroom. “Keep your bedroom at a cooler temperature than usual,” she says. If you find that your postpartum night sweats are particularly bad, you can try having a fan blow directly on you, she says.
  • Dress lightly for bed. Minimal clothes or loose-fitting PJs are ideal. “Change anything that becomes wet versus continuing to sleep in [it], which will get uncomfortable,” Lamppa says.
  • Layer a towel or folded blanket underneath you while you sleep. That way, you can peel off any wet bedding easily and get back to sleep, she says.
  • Keep ice water at your bedside table. This can help you stay cool and also improves hydration—a perk for nursing moms in particular, Lamppa says.

When to See Your Doctor about Postpartum Night Sweats

Postpartum night sweats on their own are normal and common. But if you also experience fever, chills, an increase in pain (in your breasts, incision or uterus), an increase in postpartum bleeding and/or odorous vaginal discharge, reach out to your doctor. Lamppa says that these could be signs of infection.

As unpleasant as it may be, postpartum sweating is par for the course. Fortunately, postpartum night sweats will likely go away within a few weeks. And that’s great news—after all, you need all the sleep you can get since it’s likely baby’s already working overtime to keep you up.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.


Asima Ahmad, MD, MPH, FACOG, is a reproductive endocrinologist, infertility specialist and co-founder of Carrot Fertility. She earned a combined medical and public health degree from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Julie Lamppa, APRN, CNM, is a certified nurse midwife at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and co-author of Obstetricks. She’s also a clinical instructor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science and a contributing editor of Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy.

Kirstin Leitner, MD, is an assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, where she also earned her medical degree.

Cleveland Clinic, Postpartum Night Sweats, January 2023

Fertility and Sterility, Prospective Evaluation of Nighttime Hot Flashes During Pregnancy and Postpartum, December 2013

save article

Next on Your Reading List

best postpartum pads and underwear
7 Best Postpartum Pads, Tested by a Mom of a Newborn
By Jennifer Wirth
pregnant woman sitting on couch at home
Over $100 Million in Funding for Maternal Health Signed Into Law
By Wyndi Kappes
mom holding baby with skin-to-skin contact
7 Ways to Prepare for the Reality of the Fourth Trimester
By Chaunie Brusie, BSN, RN
kate middleton announces cancer diagnosis march 2024
How Kate Middleton Discussed Her Cancer Diagnosis With Her Kids
By Wyndi Kappes
jessica pettway dead at 36 from cervical cancer
Momfluencer Jessica Pettway Dies of Cervical Cancer After Misdiagnosis
By Wyndi Kappes
woman with cramping in bed
Postpartum Cramping: What's Normal (and What's Not)
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
Bradley Cooper and Lea De Seine Shayk Cooper attend Netflix's "Maestro" Los Angeles Photo Call at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on December 12, 2023 in Los Angeles, California
Bradley Cooper Admits He Intially Struggled to Bond With His Daughter
By Wyndi Kappes
New mom holds her newborn on her chest.
The Fourth Trimester: How Baby Adjusts to Life Outside the Womb
Medically Reviewed by Dina DiMaggio Walters, MD
sick woman blowing her nose at home
Peak Season for Respiratory Viruses Has Passed, CDC Data Shows
By Wyndi Kappes
Scheana Shay at the "Vanderpump Rules" Season 11 Premiere held at the Hollywood Palladium on January 17, 2024 in Los Angeles, California
Vanderpump Rules’ Scheana Shay Opens Up About Postpartum OCD Diagnosis
By Wyndi Kappes
BOTB Best Postpartum Kits-hero
9 Best Mom-Tested Postpartum Kits for Care and Recovery
By Elizabeth Narins
father hugging breastfeeding mom and newborn baby
Mom Makes Postpartum To-Do List for Partners Who Want to Help
By Wyndi Kappes
elyse myers shares her 4 month old son needs heart surgery
Elyse Myers Reveals Her Son Will Undergo Surgery for Hole in His Heart
By Wyndi Kappes
mom and toddler brushing teeth in bathroom
Can Mom "Pass Cavities on" to Baby? Study Reveals Possible Connection
By Wyndi Kappes
mother wearing postpartum underwear and holding baby
9 Best Postpartum Underwear, According to New Moms
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
little girl sleeping in hospital bed with teddy bear
How the Red Cross Emergency Blood Shortage Could Impact Kids
By Wyndi Kappes
mother holding newborn baby while sitting on couch at home
The Baby Pinks: What to Know About Postpartum Euphoria
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
mother and baby looking at smartphone on the couch at home
Why Does My Baby…Google Releases 2023's Trending Searches
By Wyndi Kappes
father bathing newborn baby in kitchen at home
How Often Should You Bathe a Newborn?
Medically Reviewed by Loretta Cody, MD
overhead view of newborn baby and mother in hospital bed after giving birth
How a Sitz Bath Can Help You Heal Postpartum
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
Article removed.
Article removed.
Name added. View Your List