It’s normal to struggle to sleep during pregnancy, and you might be looking for help from melatonin, a popular supplement that is used to aid sleep.
If you’re pregnant and are struggling with a lack of sleep, you might be curious to know: Can you take melatonin while pregnant?
In this article, I will cover some key information about taking melatonin, including whether you can take melatonin while pregnant.
Keep reading to find out more.
What Is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone that the human body naturally produces and is released by the pineal gland at night. It is primarily responsible for keeping your body clock on a 24-hour cycle.
People take melatonin as a supplement to help improve their quality of sleep, and it is used as a short-term solution to insomnia caused by jet lag or shift work.
Can You Take Melatonin While Pregnant?
Taking melatonin as a supplement is considered mostly safe for short-term use, but it has not been proven safe for pregnancy.
Bearing this in mind, you will need to talk to your doctor before taking melatonin during pregnancy if you are struggling with your sleep.
As your body produces its own melatonin, taking melatonin long term is not recommended.
Other methods to aid sleep when you’re pregnant include:
Implementing A Sleep Schedule
Getting yourself into a good sleep schedule can be tricky when you lead a busy life.
However, the best way to ensure that you fall asleep at a regular hour each night is to wake up at a regular time each morning.
Getting into this sleep schedule works with your body’s hormones to keep your circadian rhythm in tune.
Screen Time Curfew
In this day and age, it’s pretty easy to rack screen time hours up, especially when it comes to using computers during the day at work and smart devices at night.
The light emitted from these devices affects your body’s natural hormones and circadian rhythms for sleep.
This means that if you’re spending too much time on them before you try to sleep, they can easily have a negative impact on your sleep.
Using More Pillows
You might have heard of pregnancy pillows as being a pregnancy essential, but you don’t need to spend a ton of money to make sure that you get a good night’s sleep.
Simply propping yourself up with a variety of different pillows behind you, between your knees, and under your stomach can work to make you feel more comfortable when you’re pregnant.
Calming Activities Before Bedtime
Getting in the habit of doing calming activities before bedtime can do a world of good for helping you to wind down and prepare your body for sleep.
This can be a different ritual for everyone, but can involve writing in a journal, doing yoga, meditating, taking a warm bubble bath, or reading a book.
The great thing about reading a book before bedtime, for instance, is that you are occupied without the need for screen time, and as it’s stimulating, it’s also a good way of making you sleepy!
Cleaning Your Environment And Reducing The Amount Of Light
Creating a calm, relaxing environment is essential for you to unwind. Making sure that you clean your bedroom is a good way to ensure that you are able to do this.
In addition, you will want to make sure that you limit the amount of light that is in the room, as light exposure can reduce the quality of sleep and can be a big distraction when you’re trying to drift off to sleep.
To achieve this, you can try investing in blackout curtains or blackout blinds to make the room as dark as possible.
Is It Safe for Pregnant Women To Take Melatonin?
While your brain naturally produces melatonin, there's a lack of research into how it could affect pregnant people.
When you are pregnant, your ovaries and placenta produce higher levels of melatonin and use it throughout your pregnancy and the delivery of your baby.
As your body already has a higher level of melatonin during pregnancy, taking more melatonin on top of this will result in your melatonin levels being much more elevated than pre-pregnancy.
Due to the limited research and to ensure that you are being as safe as you can be, you should always make sure that you check with your doctor before taking melatonin supplements.
Not only will they be able to provide you with more information in relation to your specific pregnancy and health, but they will also be able to provide you with advice on how to deal with your insomnia.
The Potential Benefits Of Taking Melatonin
There are a variety of potential benefits associated with taking melatonin. These potential benefits include but are not limited to:
- Melatonin may help to improve sleep quality
- It may help increase fertility
- It may help to improve the functioning of the placenta
That being said, the emphasis should be placed on potential benefits, as the research on the effects of research is still limited. As a result, more research is therefore needed before these benefits can be taken more seriously.
The Common Side Effects Of Taking Melatonin
Despite the benefits, there are some common side effects of taking melatonin that you should be aware of and may experience.
The common side effects of taking melatonin include but are not limited to:
- Feeling sleepy or tired during the daytime
- Nausea or stomach aches
- Feeling restless or irritable
- Feeling dizzy
- Having dry or itchy skin
- Having a dry mouth
- Night sweats
- Pains in your arms or legs
As some of these symptoms overlap with pregnancy, it might be difficult for you to spot what is causing you to feel this way.
Regardless, you should always make sure that you speak with your doctor if you’re interested in taking melatonin supplements during pregnancy.
Hopefully this article has provided you with some useful information on taking melatonin. The research on whether it’s safe for pregnant women to take melatonin is limited, as more studies are required.
Before taking melatonin when you are pregnant, you should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider.