Pregnancy is an emotional time. Excitement, fear, joy, and anxiety are just a few of the emotions running high during those first weeks and months of a new pregnancy, along with the physical changes that the female body undergoes when preparing for a child. Some of these changes – increase in breast size, for example – may be welcome to many expecting mothers, but most are in agreement that night sweats during pregnancy (especially in the first trimester) are an unpleasant experience.
Understanding Night Sweats during Pregnancy
Night sweats, whether during pregnancy or menopause, are characterized by sudden, intense perspiration due to the body’s attempt to expel perceived heat. Women experiencing night sweats during pregnancy (first trimester) usually wake up cold, wet (from the sweat) and shivering. It is nearly always necessary to change bed sheets and nightclothes and many women complain of being unable to go back to sleep afterward.
What Causes Night Sweats During the First Trimester of Pregnancy?
Otherwise known as nocturnal hyperhydrosis, night sweats during pregnancy (first trimester) are brought about by rapidly fluctuating hormone levels that naturally accompany this period. Estrogen levels rise and fall unpredictably, causing the hypothalamus (the part of the body that regulates body temperature) to interpret the fluctuations as an abnormally high body temperature. It then sends signals to the body to release a large amount of heat quickly, resulting in night sweats during pregnancy.
What Can be Done About Night Sweats during Pregnancy?
It is important to learn ways in which to combat night sweats, particularly during the first trimester of pregnancy, when stress levels may already be running high. A woman suffering from night sweats, during pregnancy has an array of treatment options available to her.
It is of great importance to remember that pregnancy is a delicate time and as such it is important to nurture your body as much as possible as you prepare for your baby’s birth. Hormone levels will fluctuate regardless of any action taken, but the symptoms resulting from these fluctuations can still be effectively managed.
Below are several ways of preventing or eliminating night sweats during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Diet & Exercise: It is important to exercise during pregnancy but only to an extent that is both possible and safe. This will aid overall health and well-being. Pregnant women should eat a balanced diet and consume foods high in fiber, vitamins B, C, and D, and calcium. These nutrients have been shown to reduce night sweats during the first trimester of pregnancy. Pregnant women should avoid saturated fats, spicy and sugary foods, caffeine, and of course all alcoholic beverages. Increasing consumption of soy-containing products may also be beneficial as soy has been proven to help reduce night sweats during pregnancy.
Get Comfortable: Pregnancy can at times be an uncomfortable experience, and night sweats are an unwelcome addition to this general discomfort. Night sweats during the first trimester of pregnancy can be alleviated by wearing lightweight, soft, comfortable pajamas, and by avoiding too many or too-heavy blankets. Keeping a towel and cold water near the bed to cool down quickly and ensuring you get enough sleep are also important Pregnant women should get at least eight hours of sleep per night.
Herbal Remedies: If night sweats during the first trimester of pregnancy are severe enough to consistently disrupt sleep, herbal remedies (combined with the lifestyle changes already discussed) may provide relief. Herbal remedies serve to restore the balance of estrogen levels, and may reduce night sweats frequency.
Every pregnancy and every woman is different. The tips and information above are meant to serve as a guide for women in early pregnancy. Night sweats during the first trimester of pregnancy can be difficult and trying, and alleviating the symptoms associated with this condition can ease any stress a woman may experience during this time.
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