After the euphoria of having your baby in your arms and the sweet relief of not having to push anymore your body starts to react to the strenuous effort it’s just made. Postpartum chills and shakes are believed to be your nervous system reacting to the end of all that strenuous labour, and possibly be related to fluid shifts in your body and your adrenal hormones kicking in. Women usually get the chills within two hours of childbirth, and these are considered a normal response when there’s no accompanying fever. The chills don’t last long; you just need to be somewhere comfortable, make sure baby is safe, and keep yourself warm and hydrated. However, when you’ve been discharged home with your baby, chills that accompany uncontrolled bleeding, shortness of breath, cold clammy skin, dizziness, heart pain, and racing heart can be a sign of shock and needs immediate medical attention. Mastitis can also cause shivering.
The shakes are also totally normal and can occur whether you have had a vaginal birth or a C-section. The shaking begins after you’ve delivered the placenta and while it’s not harmful, it could be slightly awkward or uncomfortable.
The shakes are caused by your hormones, particularly your adrenal hormones. After giving birth to your baby, the fluid shifts and the shaking is your body’s reaction to those changes happening within your body. They could also be a reaction to any anaesthesia you’ve had, or an endorphin release. Don’t worry; they’ll go away within a few minutes or, at most, a few hours.