The hours and days after having a baby can be described as an exhilarating and joyous time. You may be on a high emotionally but feel a little lower physically. Among the body aches and fatigue you experience postpartum, you may also suffer from body chills. Always consult your doctor when you have questions about your recovery from birth.
Giving birth is hard work, and your body has just exerted itself immensely. With the exertion comes a raise in your body temperature. Once your baby is born, your body's internal thermometer slowly returns to normal. During the process of heat regulation, you may develop body chills and shaking. This physical reaction is common and usually recedes within a few hours of childbirth. Warm yourself with blankets to take the edge off the chill.
Your hormones have fluctuated throughout your pregnancy, and the raging is not quite done yet. Hot flashes -- profuse, yet brief periods of sweating -- are normal in women during the postpartum period and may be followed by chills. These reactions are your body's way of eliminating the excess fluids you retained during pregnancy. Hormonal changes may take several weeks to up to three months after your baby's birth before settling into your pre-pregnancy levels.
Body chills accompanied by a fever higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit may be the indication of infection. Notify your doctor if you are more than 24 hours postpartum and running a fever or experiencing pelvic or breast pain. You could have an infection from unexpelled tissue or mastitis, a blockage of the milk ducts.
Women who have just given birth are more likely to shiver and experience body chills if their blood type does not match that of their baby, according to researchers at Israel's Meir Hospital. Studies of women in the third stage of labor, published in the February 2001 issue of "Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica," found that 48 percent of women whose blood types differed from their newborns' had postpartum body chills. Only 20 percent of women who shared a blood type with their baby suffered from shivering after giving birth.
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- North Carolina Healthy Start; After Pregnancy: Taking Care of Yourself; May 2011
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- "Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica"; Postpartum Chills Phenomenon: Is it a Feto-Maternal Transfusion Reaction?; D. Ravid et al.; February 2001