Shivering After Giving Birth - Postpartum Chills
Shortly after giving birth, you may find yourself shivering uncontrollably with chattering teeth. This postpartum shivering phenomenon is known as postpartum chills. It doesn’t matter if you had a vaginal delivery or a c-section, your body has just experienced a full on change and postpartum recovery has kicked in.
During prenatal courses we are taught a lot about how to look after baby after baby is born. We learn less about taking care of ourselves and the postpartum recovery process. Caring for yourself and being prepared for postpartum symptoms is something that should be added to every prenatal course in my opinion – let’s call it postpartum care for mama.
Is it Normal to Have Chills After Giving Birth?
Several friends of mine have experienced postpartum shivers so I realised it is a fairly common experience for mothers shortly after giving birth. Our bodies have just been through a massive change. A case study by doctors of 100 women found that 31% of the women studied experienced postpartum chills.
I only experienced postpartum shivering after giving birth to my second child. Perhaps because I had an epidural towards the end of the birth of my first child and therefore my body was still numbed. I gave birth to my second child without any medication and therefore could feel every stage of his birth naturally.
Normally postpartum chills calm down within a space of a few hours after giving birth. It is good to be aware that your body could go through a shivering stage, so you can prepare for this experience and add it to your postpartum recovery plan and caring for yourself after baby is born. If you experience postpartum chills again, after the initial chills have worn off, please call your doctor as this is a warning sign for an infection that will need to be treated. See patient.info for more details.
Note: shivering and shaking can happen during birth, find out more here.
Why Does Postpartum Shivering Happen?
- Shivering could be due to your body dealing with shock – after nine months of carrying a baby around inside, suddenly baby is out and your body needs to adjust.
- It could simply be due to a change in hormones; hormones regulating themselves or new hormones kicking in following the birth.
- A study performed by doctors of 100 laboring women, found indications that shivering could be linked to blood group incompatibility between the mother and her baby.
- Dr Russell advises that postpartum chills could be a natural reaction to fluid or heat loss whilst giving birth.
- Mommylabornurse suggests that feeling cold could be linked to blood loss during giving birth. During pregnancy our blood volume increases by up to 50%, blood is warm and therefore losing this volume in a short period of time can make a big change to our body temperature regulation.
- Research from TheBump indicates that shivering could be a reaction to anesthesia or a release of endorphins.
- Perhaps you needed extra assistance (c-section or vacuum assisted delivery) with the birth and this has put your body into shock.
Caring For Postpartum Chills
- Caring for yourself: cover yourself up and keep warm until the shivering subsides. Even if the room you are in is already warm, you could still experience chills and it is good to cuddle and wrap yourself up.
- Pack your own cuddly blanket or jumper and long, warm socks, to have with you for after giving birth.
- Ask your partner to cuddle up with you for extra warmth.
- Relax your body and mind – play some relaxing music, use calming drops and essential oils.
- Talk to your doctor to check that you haven’t got a fever. The shivering sensation you have is more a reaction to shock and should not be accompanied by a fever. If you have flulike symptoms and become feverish, this could be a warning sign that indicate an infection. Refer to patient.info for more information about warning signs. Always call your doctor to be extra sure about any postpartum symptoms.