Sweating after Childbirth

The condition Sweating after Childbirth refers to either day-time or night-time sweating. After childbirth, Qi and Blood are deficient and skin pores are open. Sweating is likely to occur when eating or during sleep. It usually stops spontaneously in a few days. Profuse sweating that continues for a long time is pathological. Sweating after childbirth is one of the three acute conditions, called san ji, during the post-partum stage. Thus it should be arrested as soon as possible lest collapse of Yin or collapse of Yang develop.


  • Excessive strain during labor
  • Prolonged labor taxes the woman’s Qi greatly. Deficient Qi fails to hold the fluids in the space between skin and muscles and they leak out in the form of sweat.
  • Severe blood loss
  • Profuse blood loss during labor may induce a state of deficiency of Blood and Yin. Deficient Yin-Qi fails to hold the fluids which are close to the bones and night-time sweating ensues.


The pathology of Sweating after Childbirth is always one of deficiency. Qi deficiency causes sweating in day-time and deficiency of Yin sweating at night. The type of fluids lost in day-time is different from that lost at night. In day-time sweating, it is the superficial fluids that circulate with the Defensive Qi in the space between the skin and muscles that leak out; in night-time sweating, the Yin essence from the Yin portion. Because these fluids come from the deep, Yin, energetic layers, this type of sweating is also called ‘steaming from the bones’. Sweating is always taken seriously in Chinese medicine because it is a self-perpetuating pathological process. In fact, in day-time sweating the loss of fluids from the space between skin and muscles induces a deficiency of Qi because that is where Defensive Qi circulates. In night-time sweating, the fluids leaking from the Yin energetic layers represent a loss of precious Yin essences. Because of this, night-time sweat is supposed to taste sweet being composed of Yin essences, whereas day-time sweat tastes salty. The organs affected are mostly the Lungs and Kidneys: the Lungs are affected in day-time sweating as they govern Qi, control the Defensive Qi and the space between skin and muscles. In night-time sweating, the Lungs and/or the Kidneys are affected.

Identification of patterns and treatments

The patterns discussed are:

  • Qi deficiency
    • Clinical manifestations
      • Day-time sweating after labour
      • Pallor
      • Shortness of breath
      • Weak voice
      • Tiredness
      • Tongue: Pale
      • Pulse: Weak
    • Treatment principle
      • Tonify Qi, consolidate the Exterior.
  • Yin deficiency
    • Clinical manifestations
      • Night-time sweating after delivery
      • nsomnia
      • malar flush
      • dry throat
      • dizziness
      • tinnitus
      • five-palm heat.
      • Tongue: without coating; Red if there is Empty-Heat.
      • Pulse: Floating-Empty.
    • Treatment principle
      • Nourish Yin, strengthen the Lungs and stop sweating.

Prognosis and prevention

Both acupuncture and herbs are very effective in stopping sweating after childbirth and in most cases, there should be results within 2 to 3 weeks. The pattern of Yin deficiency is slightly more difficult to treat, and in this case, herbs may be slightly more effective than acupuncture. A woman suffering from sweating after childbirth should not overexert herself. Although sweating itself depletes the body's Qi or Yin, it may not be perceived as a problem by most people, and patients should be advised accordingly. There is no Western view on this condition.