What Every Woman Wants to Know About Taking Melatonin when Pregnant?
Lots of women experience sleep disruptions during pregnancy. This is the reason the phrase “get some sleep when you still can” was coined for pregnant women.
While expecting a child, getting enough sleep is quite challenging. Body changes, constant aches and a growing belly that makes sleeping on the stomach require a lot of effort are the contributors to these sleeping deficiencies.
To get intervention, these women use some types of medication to solve the insomnia problem. Most of these drugs are over the counter and are effective some of the time. While some simplychoose to use the drugs, other women do inquire about some of these drugs, melatonin included.
It is the use of melatonin that has elicited a lot of debate within the medical fraternity, especially its use by pregnant women and any potential side effects. The data and research so far is very sketchy and inconclusive.
What exactly is melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone which aids in the
regulation of sleep. It is secreted by the pineal gland in the brain. When darkness sets in, the brain stimulates the pineal gland to produce the hormones to make us sleep.
A drug supplement of this hormone is sold over the counter as a natural remedy for insomnia. It is popular among pregnant women who cannot get enough sleep.
The Food and Drug Administration does not monitor the production of the dietary supplement as it is classified as neither a drug nor a hormone. The vagueness of the topic and possible uncertainties maybe the reasons why some doctors may suggest different remedies to insomnia.
Is melatonin unsuitable for pregnant women?
When pregnant, not all natural products are really safe for your health or the baby’s.The body naturally produces melatonin but at only the needed quantity. No more, no less. The drug supplement prescribed over the counter has more melatonin than those produced by the body.
Take an example of a typical dose of melatonin of about 1-3 milligrams. It, in turn, hikes the melatonin levels to 20 times the normal levels.
Very little is known about the impacts of melatonin when used. In fact, the available research says that taking the recommended dose of 3 mg or even less has no effects at all. Possible complications may only rise when you take an overdose of the drug.
Women who have certain medical conditions are also not advised to take supplements of melatonin while pregnant.Some of these medical conditions are diabetes,high blood pressure,haemophilia, depression and epilepsy. However, the effects are not limited to these conditions. When you are on drugs for preventing organ rejection, you are advised not to take melatonin.
Taking an overdose of melatonin can potentially lead to an effect on the blood sugar levels of pregnant women. Since it is a hormone, it may interfere with the numerous hormonal changes that a woman normally goes through during pregnancy.
What are the benefits of melatonin?
Melatonin is an excellent natural remedy for insomnia in expectant women who find it nearly impossible to find the much-needed sleep.The FDA does not monitor melatonin showing that there is no tangible evidence against its use within the recommended doses.
Recent research being done on the importance of melatonin (the research is done on animals apparently) shows that it behaves like an oxidant, thereby reducing the effects of oxidative stress (the inability of the body system to detoxify the products of oxidation in the body)
Further research also shows that melatonin improves the embryo quality and elevates the rate of fertilisation.This is therefore essential to a normal pregnancy that is very healthy.
Melatonin passes from a mother to the foetus, thereby creating sleeping cycles in foetal organs.This is known as circadian rhythm.
The jury is still out on this one. From the little available research, it is evident that there are no serious health complications resulting from the use of melatonin. The so said negative effects are just speculative and are not accompanied by hard hitting, concrete evidence. More so they only result from an overdose of the drug supplement. Another basis of thecritics is the lack of clear-cut information about melatonin.
Taking melatonin at the recommended dosage is helpful in intervening in cases of insomnia. Getting good sleep requires a lot of effort when you are expectant. Lack of sleep makes one very restless, and this would be detrimental to the baby’s health.
Further researches being done will hopefully be more enlightening on this divisive subject.Since melatonin is natural and is produced by the body in either way.
A final thought is, just take the right amount of melatonin (3 mg daily) and do not overdose. Consult your doctor regularly and monitor your blood and sugar levels and also your hormonal changes and you will be just alright.