Is It Safe to Take Melatonin During Pregnancy?
When you’re pregnant, it can sometimes be tough to get a good night’s sleep. And since a number of medications are contraindicated for pregnant women, you may be tempted to turn to various natural products. Melatonin is the most commonly used natural product for sleep disorders, but is it the right product when you’re pregnant?
What is melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone that is produced naturally in the brain, and that plays several important roles in human health. Its role in promoting sleep is the most well known and the one that tends to generate the most interest.
How does melatonin act on sleep?
Darkness triggers a signal in the brain that increases melatonin production, promoting sleep, while an increase in brightness halts production of the hormone, thereby promoting wakefulness.
In other words, melatonin helps align your biological clock (also known as circadian rhythm) with the earth's day-night cycle.
Can melatonin supplements improve your sleep during pregnancy?
Several studies have been conducted to determine the effects of melatonin supplements on sleep in people suffering from prolonged insomnia associated with a health problem such as dementia or depression, or due to a circadian rhythm problem, e.g., blindness, variable work schedule, or jet lag.
Melatonin has proven to be beneficial primarily in improving disrupted circadian rhythms. Its effects on sleep quality are very modest: It appears to slightly reduce the time needed to fall asleep, but has no significant effect on sleep duration or on falling asleep again after waking during the night.
Since none of these studies were conducted on pregnant women, it is unclear whether melatonin might have a positive or negative effect on pregnancy-related sleep problems.
Is melatonin safe for pregnant women?
While melatonin is generally well tolerated, with few serious side effects, no studies have been done on pregnant women. It is therefore not known whether pregnancy alters a woman’s tolerance to melatonin.
It has been shown that melatonin naturally produced by the mother passes from the placenta to the fetus, helping regulate the baby's circadian rhythm. Some experts fear that melatonin supplements could also reach the fetus, and that such excess melatonin could have a negative impact on the baby's circadian rhythm.
Consequently, experts recommend that women who are pregnant or nursing avoid taking melatonin.
Your pharmacist is always there for you during your pregnancy.
Your pharmacist is available to answer any questions you may have about taking medications, natural products, or vitamins during pregnancy or breastfeeding, and to offer advice on how to ease certain pregnancy-related symptoms like sleep disorders, nausea, or reflux. Some pharmacies offer private consultations with a pharmacist who can assess your personal situation. Feel free to schedule an appointment!
The pharmacy services presented in this section are offered by pharmacist owners who are affiliated with Proxim. The pharmacists are solely responsible for the professional activities carried out during the practice of pharmacy.
The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide complete information on the subject matter or to replace the advice of a health professional. This information does not constitute medical consultation, diagnosis or opinion and should not be interpreted as such. Please consult your health care provider if you have any questions about your health, medications or treatment.