Melatonin and pregnancy

Melatonin and pregnancy
January 06 12:16 2017

Among the many changes that come with pregnancy is insomnia. Insomnia during pregnancy happens as a result of hormonal changes that disturb the sleeping cycle. For many pregnant women, the sleep disturbances that occur can be so severe that they need assistance in form of medication or other interventions to be able to fall asleep correctly. Since pregnant women generally shy away from using drug medications during pregnancy period, some have resorted to using a natural substance called melatonin to solve their sleep problems. The question that everyone asks is: is it safe to take melatonin during pregnancy?

In order to be able to answer this question, let us have a quick look at what melatonin is and how it affects the body.


Understanding Melatonin

Melatonin is a natural hormone secreted into the blood stream by a small gland found in the brain called the pineal gland. The hormone works to regulate the sleep cycle. The natural hormone is secreted at night or when it is dark, there by inducing sleep. Dietary supplements of the hormone are available and sold over the counter without regulation. The supplement is useful is solving issues related to sleeping disorders.

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The melatonin supplement is not classified as a drug and as such its use and dosage is not monitored. In general taking a dose between 1 and 3mg can raise the levels of melatonin circulating in the blood stream by about 20 times.


Melatonin and pregnancy

Since melatonin supplement is a natural substance, it is common to assume that it is safe for use during pregnancy, but the high dosage and the amount of melatonin it causes in the blood stream can have an impact on the developing baby. Whenever a hormone exceed the normal levels that are produced by the body there are bound to be implications. Studies are still going on to determine the actual effects of increased melatonin to a developing fetus.

However, early results on studies done on animals show that increased melatonin tends to decrease the risk of pre-eclampsia. The hormone also reduces chances of preterm birth and lowers the percentage of intrauterine growth retardation. Other results suggest that melatonin supplementation acts as a neuroprotective agent to the fetus during the brain developments stages of embryo growth.

Since most of this information is yet to be officially certified and confirmed when the studies conclude, pregnant women suffering from sleep disturbances are advised to use other proven and well-regulated medications.



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