Consuming Melatonin During Pregnancy: Things You Need to Know

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Pregnancy may sometimes take a toll on the sleep and it may get really difficult to get a good sleep at night. Where some sleep issues do not cause much concern while other issues may require medical intervention. The disrupted levels of melatonin in the body cause many sleep disorders. People having issues or problems with sleep often take it as a dietary supplement. It is currently an over the counter drug, with a high availability and apparently without acute adverse effects.

melatonin while pregnant

In this article:

What is Melatonin?
Is Melatonin Safe to Use in Pregnancy?
What is the Recommended Intake of Melatonin while Pregnant?
Benefits of Taking Melatonin while Pregnant
Side Effects of Melatonin in Pregnancy
Natural Ways to Increase your Melatonin Level

A Guide for Consuming Melatonin During Pregnancy

What is Melatonin?

The pineal gland a type of endocrine gland secretes a hormone called melatonin produced naturally by the body. It plays a very important role in the regulation of a 24 hour (diurnal) rhythm of the body. It helps in maintaining the normal rhythm of sleep wake cycle and body temperature. In addition, it also influences metabolism, pigmentation, the menstrual cycle as well as defence capability. However, sometimes people suffering from sleep disorders and problems often consume melatonin supplements to improve sleep.

Is Melatonin Safe to Use in Pregnancy?

Melatonin is produced in ample amounts by the ovaries and placenta of a pregnant woman. The production of this hormone starts peaking at 24 weeks and it increases further after 32 weeks of pregnancy. Thus, a pregnant woman’s body is already making sufficient amounts of melatonin and whether or not should take melatonin supplements during pregnancy is still a matter of great concern. There is not enough evidence available that supports its safety during pregnancy as a supplement. However, taking small dosage for a short term can be considered safe but long term use may cause harm to the baby by causing various complications.

What is the Recommended Intake of Melatonin while Pregnant?

As melatonin should be taken in small amounts and for a short duration during pregnancy. Around 3 mg or lesser dosage of melatonin per day during pregnancy can be consumed. Make sure to take it with doctor’s proper prescription otherwise avoid it strictly during pregnancy. If the woman is suffering from low blood pressure, diabetes, epilepsy, high blood pressure or other such ailments, taking melatonin during pregnancy may cause severe complications. It should be only taken after consulting the doctor.

Benefits of Taking Melatonin while Pregnant

Benefits for the mother –

  • It aids the function of the placenta
  • It helps in better sleep
  • It reduces the risk of preeclampsia
  • It helps in enhancing fertility
  • It reduces the risk of preterm labor

Benefits for the baby –

  • It may protect the baby from neurobehavioral disorders
  • It protects the baby from oxidative stress
  • It protects the baby from intrauterine growth retardation
  • It is beneficial for the baby’s brain development

Side Effects of Melatonin in Pregnancy

Consuming in small amounts is safe and may not cause any side effects but sometimes following side effects may occur too –

Commonly Experienced Side Effects

It may cause some side effects like abnormal heartbeat, aggression, mood swings, nausea, rash, accelerated heart rate, fatigue, memory loss, delusions etc. First discuss all the pros and cons of the medicine with the doctors before taking it.

The Changing Hormones During Pregnancy

During pregnancy a woman’s body makes several changes and hormonal change is one of them. These changing hormones may sometimes cause various other changes in the body. Therefore, if a pregnant woman is taking melatonin, then the doctor will keep monitoring the hormones. This is because sometimes changing hormones may cause acne, hot flushes, changes in eyesight etc. It is very important for the doctor to establish whether melatonin or changing pregnancy hormones are responsible for such medical conditions.

Sugar Levels and Blood Pressure

During pregnancy it affects the sugar levels and blood pressure of the body which cause severe complications in pregnancy. Therefore, if melatonin is consumed the doctor will keep monitoring the health to check sugar levels and blood pressure.

Natural Ways to Increase your Melatonin Level

The natural way of doing things is the best way and more so during pregnancy. Though melatonin supplements may guarantee a peaceful sleep at night but some natural ways of increasing melatonin levels in the body are –

Lower the Stress Levels

Keep the stress levels low by being happy and relaxed. Listen to good music or do meditation or yoga to relieve any kind of stress. Stress is also bad for the baby.

Prepare for Bed Early

Start sending signals to the mind for sleep by preparing both physically and mentally. Also, refrain from being up till late at night as this may cause a major disturbance in the sleeping schedule.

No Noisy Alarm Clocks

Waking up by a loud and noisy alarm clock can be pretty annoying especially during pregnancy when a woman is struggling to get peaceful sleep. Wake up with nice melodious music or tone that helps to be calm and relax.

Warm Water Bath Before Bed

Taking a warm water bath before bedtime is a great way of getting some quality sleep. Getting into a sleep routine is a great way of getting some good sleep.

Sleep in a Comfortable Temperature

Extreme temperature may disturb the sleep. Therefore, if staying in a place of extreme climate it is very important that the room’s temperature is at a comfortable setting for peaceful sleep.

Get some Morning Sunlight

It is a good idea to bask in some morning sunlight for 15 to 20 minutes. Exposing the body to the morning sun helps the body to regulate its melatonin production.

Say no to Gadgets Before Bed Time

Switch the mind off before going to bed every night. Refrain from using mobile phone, television or computer for almost an hour before bedtime. This will ease the mind and thus induce better sleep.

Avoid Eating Heavy Meals

Heavy food items may the body uncomfortable and restless. Finish eating the meal at least two to three hours before bedtime. Also, do n’t consume caffeine drinks as it may disrupt the sleep.

Foods to Eat

There are some food items that are responsible for melatonin production in the body. Therefore, it may include food items like nuts, whole grains, green leafy vegetables in the diet to naturally spike up the melatonin levels.

Body Massage

It is a way of relaxing the body. Make sure to get it done by an expert.

Conclusion

Melatonin has been in use to treat sleep disorders and it is also safe to take a small dosage of melatonin during pregnancy. However it should be only taken after the doctor’s approval.

References

https://parenting.firstcry.com/articles/taking-melatonin-during-pregnancy

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4316124/

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