LivingCan I take melatonin in pregnancy to fight insomnia?

Can I take melatonin in pregnancy to fight insomnia?

More than 85% of pregnant women suffer changes in their sleep pattern at some point during pregnancy and even suffer from insomnia. But it is not always easy to find a solution, especially when you cannot take anything. Is it the case with melatonin?

It is a hormone that is produced in the brain and intervenes in the regulation of biological rhythms, helping to fall asleep, but it can also be found as a supplement. In fact, this synthetic hormone has become one of the most popular remedies for different sleep disorders.

Can synthetic melatonin be used to fall asleep in pregnancy? Dr. Alicia Esparza, gynecologist at the Vithas Medimar Hospital (Alicante), clears our doubts and gives us advice to sleep better.

What is melatonin and what is its function

Melatonin is a small hormone that is usually made by the pineal gland (a small gland in the brain) at night. It helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle, is an antioxidant (which protects cells from damage caused by free radicals), and interacts with the immune system (the structures and processes in the body that protect against disease).

Melatonin helps promote sleep by signaling to our brain that it is time to sleep.

So at first glance it could be thought that the use of supplements of this hormone would be beneficial in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy to rest better and combat insomnia.

The Cochrane scientific library even speaks of evidence that melatonin, administered to the mother during pregnancy, can help protect the brain of the fetus, which would show that a supplement of this hormone is not only not harmful during pregnancy, but also it is even beneficial.

However, the gynecologist at Hospital Vithas explains that the fact that something is natural does not mean that it is completely safe and does not advise it .

“There are not enough scientific studies to recommend the safe use of melatonin during pregnancy.”

Also, remember that our body tends to produce its own melatonin all the time and you cannot take any medication or supplement on your own during pregnancy , or heed “grandmother’s advice” to improve the quality of your sleep. At this stage, any substance not supervised by a health professional could harm the mother or the baby.

Recommendations for sleeping in pregnancy

It is common for pregnant women to feel exhausted during the day, especially at the end of pregnancy, and this risk must be minimized as much as possible. To achieve this, it is essential to sleep well.

Dr. Alicia Esparza points out that the therapeutic approach to insomnia must always be multidisciplinary and include non-pharmacological methods , such as sleep hygiene, physical exercise and diet. In fact, drugs for insomnia are not recommended in pregnancy.

  • It is advisable to go to sleep at the same time every night ; that is, keep a fixed time to go to bed and get up, including weekends and holidays.

  • Take a hot shower before going to bed.

  • Avoid visual stimulation with electronic devices at least one hour before turning off the light.

  • Do not drink drinks that contain caffeine and theine, as well as stimulant drinks, carbonated drinks, sugary …

  • Stay active , avoiding exercise in the two hours before going to sleep. You can walk, do exercises in the water, swimming, yoga for pregnant women …

  • Keep the bedroom at a comfortable temperature and with minimal levels of light and noise, ventilating it for a few minutes during the day.

  • Include in the diet foods that provide melatonin naturally: eggs, legumes, dairy, tomatoes, bananas, nuts and rice …

  • Take occasionally an infusion of chamomile , linden or pennyroyal, for its relaxing power.

  • Drink a glass of warm milk before going to bed.

  • Do not eat a lot of dinner or immediately before bed or go to bed hungry.

Photos | iStock

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