Is melatonin safe to use when you’re pregnant? To understand whether melatonin and pregnancy can safely go together, it’s first necessary to have a good grasp of what melatonin is, and what it does. It is also crucial to know if it has side-effects, and if such effects are especially detrimental to women anticipating the birth of a child. It is only by keeping an open mind about such considerations, that we may be able to judge for ourselves whether or not taking melatonin during pregnancy is safe for both the mother-to-be and her unborn child.
Getting to Know Melatonin
Melatonin, a hormone that is naturally produced in our bodies has been proven useful in instances when you need to get your body clock functioning properly again, after a disruption. For example, if you had traveled overseas to a place with a much different time zone from what you are used to, your sleep patterns could become upended.
Coming home, you might experience jet lag, and in such a situation, taking a melatonin sleep aid could help you recover quickly and avoid the health problems associated with sleeplessness or disrupted sleep such as tension headaches or migraines, a general feeling of malaise, and a lowered immune system.
However, that is generally applicable only to adults who are already healthy or at least passably so – meaning they have no existing debilitating medical conditions – to begin with. As for the use of melatonin during pregnancy, there are still various matters to take into account.
Safety of Mother and Child
A pregnant woman would normally take a lot of precautions, so as not to compromise the health and life of her unborn child. It is due to that fact that many prescription drugs which would otherwise be safe to take by a non-pregnant woman, suddenly become off-limits.
It is the same case even with OTCs or medicine that can be brought over-the-counter, without a prescription. As the saying goes, “better safe than sorry,” as far as the safety of a mother and her unborn child. Even then, there are women who consider that melatonin and pregnancy are not hostile to each other. These are mostly women who have been experiencing serious sleep disturbances due to various stresses in their personal life or environment.
So, what’s the verdict? Is it all right to take melatonin during pregnancy or not?
The most commonly reported side-effects related to melatonin use are dizziness, fatigue, and irritability. It must be taken into account, though, that these very same symptoms are also symptoms observable in people who lack sleep. So, it can be dubious to completely attribute these effects to melatonin use.
However, there are other side-effects that are more serious:
- Seizures – Although not commonly reported, there is a risk of having a seizure, especially in the case of children with grave neurological disorders. The general judgment is still out on this.
- Disorientation – This ordinarily only happens when you take melatonin in high amounts.
- Moodiness – Some users of melatonin adversely react by being moody, experiencing both euphoria and dysphoria in alternating periods.
- Blood clotting irregularities – These are mostly observed in those who are taking warfarin alongside melatonin.
- Behavioral changes associated with a psychotic break – Again, these usually happen to people who take melatonin in excessive amounts.
- Hormonal changes – For men, the most common reported hormonal change is gynecomastia or an increase in their breast size, and a lowered sperm motility. For women, their reproductive, thyroid, and growth hormones are affected.
As for melatonin and pregnancy the risk could lie with an interruption in the standard development of the fetus. But that has yet to be clinically proven.