Can I Take Melatonin While Pregnant?

While taking melatonin while pregnant may be beneficial, there are some considerations to keep in mind. Keep reading to learn more.
Can I Take Melatonin While Pregnant?
Maria del Carmen Hernandez

Written and verified by the dermatologist Maria del Carmen Hernandez.

Last update: 05 December, 2022

The administration of melatonin while pregnant produces great uncertainty among the population. However, it has become a popular supplement for people who have a hard time falling asleep. This is due to its natural characteristics and few serious side effects. However, in pregnant women, there aren’t enough studies to support its use. Are you interested in knowing more about it?

In the following article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know on the subject.

What is melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone that the body generates physiologically. Among other functions, it’s responsible for maintaining the biological clock in a constant 24-hour cycle.

The cycles are circadian rhythms that guarantee sleep and rest at night and waking up and being active in the morning. In turn, it’s generated from the essential amino acid tryptophan, through the transformation of a pineal gland.

During pregnancy, melatonin is produced by the ovaries and placenta. In fact, levels increase significantly in the 24th week and even more after the 32nd week. Pregnancy, therefore, requires the coordination of multiple physiological systems, including the endocrine, metabolic, and circadian systems.

Melatonin functions

Melatonin has important functions in the body. One of them is, together with oxytocin, to promote labor, according to publications in the academic journal Reproductive Sciences. In addition, we can mention the following:

  • Regulating the biological clock
  • Stimulating the secretion of growth hormone
  • Acting as a powerful antioxidant
  • Improving the immune system
  • Regulating appetite

Melatonin tends to increase its serum values during the night. In addition, it can also easily cross the placenta and enter the circulation of the fetus. It’s even found in the amniotic fluid.

A bottle of yellow pills.
Melatonin is considered safe for short-term use. However, there’s no scientific evidence regarding its effects down the road.

The regulation of natural supplements

Unfortunately, there are no studies that provide strong conclusive evidence on the effects of melatonin supplementation during pregnancy in women. Because this type of natural supplement isn’t regulated, the doses to be administered often vary radically. It doesn’t even require a prescription to be purchased.

Is it safe to take melatonin during pregnancy?

Whenever any medication is taken, whether natural or not, your family doctor should be informed to be aware of the possible implications. Metabolism, which is circadian regulated, is altered during pregnancy in order to meet the needs of the growing fetus.

The side effects of melatonin

Some of the possible side effects that can be triggered by melatonin are as follows:

  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache

Beneficial effects on the baby

Studies investigating the effects of melatonin on babies and pregnancy are in the early stages. However, some animal testing has shown the following possible benefits for the fetus:

A pregnant woman sleeping peacefully.
Melatonin contributes to falling asleep while improving placental function and decreasing the risk of having a premature delivery.

The benefits of melatonin for pregnant women

Some of the positive effects posited for the pregnant woman include the following:

  • Increases fertility
  • Decrease the risk of pre-eclampsia
  • Improves sleep
  • Decreases the risk of premature delivery
  • Improves placental function

Ways to generate melatonin during pregnancy

Due to little evidence in this regard, it’s best to try to increase melatonin in the body naturally. Some of the most effective lifestyle behaviors are as follows:

  • Dim the lights and turn off luminous screens one hour before going to sleep
  • Keep the bedroom clean and tidy, with an optimal room temperature
  • Pillows should be comfortable
  • Maintain stipulated sleeping and waking schedules so that the circadian rhythm is in tune
  • Adopt relaxation routines before going to sleep, such as meditation or a warm shower
  • Avoid caffeinated or sugary stimulant beverages

Final considerations about taking melatonin while pregnant

Melatonin is a popular supplement to aid sleep. It’s generally considered safe for short-term use, but there’s no good evidence that it’s safe during pregnancy. For this reason, it’s always best to consult with your healthcare provider before taking melatonin or any other supplement during pregnancy.

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