Can You Take Melatonin While Pregnant: What Experts Say?

There is no need to lose any sleep over the safety of your little one.

Written by Manal Yahya

On Jan 30, 2024 – 7 minutes read

Melatonin while pregnancy

Melatonin serves more than just a sleep aid for many individuals. However, can you take melatonin while pregnant? What dosage is considered safe during pregnancy? These questions are crucial for expecting mothers who are melatonin users. It’s essential to understand that melatonin and pregnancy don’t blend well. If you seek further information on using melatonin while pregnant, continue reading for the answers you need.

How Much Melatonin Is Too Much Melatonin During Pregnancy?

During pregnancy, sleep troubles often rank among the most challenging issues. While not every pregnant woman experiences them, the majority encounter some degree of difficulty. From tossing and turning due to back or leg pain to restless nights filled with anxious thoughts, finding relief from sleep disruption can feel like a blessing. Various factors, from esophageal reflux to increased urination, can contribute to restlessness and disrupted sleep. If you’re wondering, “Can you take melatonin while pregnant?” it’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider for guidance on managing sleep during pregnancy.

can you take melatonin while pregnant

It’s no surprise that individuals with severe sleep issues reach for the natural sleep supplement known as melatonin. However, if you’re wondering, “Can I take melatonin while pregnant?” it’s important to note that melatonin has not yet been proven safe for use during pregnancy. Despite its natural origins, you may need to refrain from using melatonin while pregnant. Wondering why? Let’s delve into the details of melatonin and its effects during pregnancy.

What Is Melatonin?

As you might already know, melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by your body that helps regulate and normalize the sleep-wake cycle. It is produced by the pineal gland within your brain and hence regulates your circadian rhythm to relax to slumber. When it’s dark, our bodies produce more melatonin, which helps us to feel sleepy.

This is why melatonin is available to buy as a dietary supplement to help you sleep better. While it may be safe to use and not have adverse side effects for any adult, it may not be safe during pregnancy. To understand the reason clearly, you need to know a bit more about melatonin production while pregnant.

Melatonin While Pregnant

Under normal circumstances, the brain naturally produces melatonin at adequate levels. However, in pregnant women, there is an increase in melatonin production. Notably, both the placenta and ovaries produce higher levels of melatonin, with levels peaking at 24 weeks and escalating further by 32 weeks. Given these changes, the question arises: is it safe to take melatonin while pregnant?

is it safe to take melatonin while pregnant

Since babies don’t produce their own melatonin until they are 9-12 weeks old, they depend on their mothers while in utero, which is why melatonin is found in amniotic fluid. Your body uses this melatonin while pregnant throughout. In fact, the hormone helps induce labor and delivery by working with oxytocin.

Is It Safe to Take Melatonin During Pregnancy?

Now you know the importance of melatonin. However, the problem with melatonin during pregnancy is when taken as a supplement to relieve periodic insomnia. As retail melatonin is a supplement and not a drug, it is not regulated nor monitored by the FDA. So, is it okay to take melatonin while pregnant?

This means there is no standard dosage and the manufacturers can make claims without substantiation on the packaging. They are made in a lab with synthetic ingredients that mimic the natural hormone and also doses range widely. Some even contain ingredients that are not listed on the label. This is why melatonin is not recommended during pregnancy.

is it okay to take melatonin while pregnant

More significantly, there is insufficient research on the safety of taking melatonin while pregnant. Studies are either in the early stages of testing or conducted on animals rather than humans, rendering the conclusions inconclusive or inadequate. While there is no definitive evidence of harm, the safety of melatonin during pregnancy cannot be entirely confirmed either. The response of pregnant women to additional melatonin remains uncertain. In conclusion, further research is necessary to ascertain the safety of taking melatonin while pregnant.

However, some doctors do recommend melatonin for those pregnant women with persistent sleep disruption. That may be because it’s only recommended for short-term use since short-term use is considered relatively safe. But keep in mind that it is always better to not take any risk during pregnancy. Just because it may not have severe side effects does not mean it’s completely safe to use. So, don’t use it at all. No matter how manufacturers claim it as natural because “natural” does not always mean safe, especially in pregnancy.

Melatonin While Pregnant: Safe Dosage

Many ask if 5mg of melatonin is safe while pregnant or not. For pregnant women, it is safest to start with the lowest dose. If you are taking it, the recommended safe dosage is between 1 mg and 3 mg. This dosage raises melatonin levels 20 times your normal levels. So, you have to stop using melatonin as soon as the sleep troubles resolve.

For adults, the recommended dose is between 0.2 and 5.0 milligrams to be taken at the same time every day.

Certainly, melatonin should not be taken independently. It should only be used after consulting with your doctor or under their close supervision. Additionally, it’s crucial to adhere to safety precautions, including purchasing from a reputable brand and monitoring for any potential side effects.

Taking melatonin during pregnancy can lead to severe complications, particularly if you have pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, low or high blood pressure, epilepsy, or other similar ailments. In summary, consider melatonin supplements as a last resort after attempting non-pharmacological strategies, such as lifestyle changes, to alleviate sleep issues.

Potential Benefits of Melatonin Supplements

Are there benefits to taking melatonin while pregnant? Courtesy of the ongoing research on the potential benefits of melatonin supplements during pregnancy, some believe them to be beneficial to the developing fetus.

Potential Benefits Of Melatonin Supplements

According to the research done on animals, the positive correlations between melatonin and pregnancy are the following:

  • Help decrease the risk of preeclampsia
  • Protect against oxidative stress —damage to cells
  • Protect against neurobehavioral disorders
  • Aid in healthy brain development
  • Help decrease the risk of intrauterine growth restriction
  • Increase fertility
  • Improve outcomes of artificial reproductive technologies, such as Vitro fertilization
  • Decrease the risk of preterm birth
  • Improve the functioning of the placenta
  • Improve sleep
  • Reduce pregnancy complications

These are the potential benefits some researchers claim. But keep in mind that all of these are mere possibilities based on studies done on animals. Of course, human studies are absolutely necessary. Though it’s safe for short-term use, its long-term effects have not been studied yet.

Now, let’s talk about the side effects of using supplemental melatonin during pregnancy.

Side Effects of Taking Supplemental Melatonin While Pregnant

Since some doctors recommend melatonin, it’s quite important to consider the potential side effects more than the potential benefits. Besides the obvious elephant in the room, i.e. unnecessarily raising the levels of melatonin, there are other issues to keep in mind.

Side Effects Of Taking Melatonin During Pregnancy

They include the following:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Interactions with your medications (prescription medicines and supplements)
  • Drowsiness, nausea, and fatigue
  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Mood swings
  • Memory loss and delusions
  • Hormonal changes and their symptoms, such as hot flashes, acne, changes in eyesight
  • Unspecified ingredients can cause severe additional effects
  • Change in sugar levels and blood pressure

If you have been taking melatonin before discovering your pregnancy, there’s no need to panic. Simply discontinue usage and consult your doctor for further guidance. Your doctor will assess your individual medical history and the health status of your pregnancy to provide appropriate guidance regarding the use of melatonin or any other highly effective drugs.

All of the possible side effects of taking melatonin while pregnant suggest you opt for other alternatives to treat insomnia during pregnancy. What are the available alternatives?

Alternatives To Treat Sleep Troubles During Pregnancy

There are several different alternatives and sleeping tips that are effective in treating sleep disruption.

Alternatives To Treat Sleep Troubles During Pregnancy

Before going for melatonin, try the following:

  • Cut off all electronic screens an hour before you go to bed
  • Declutter your room before you jump on your bed
  • During the second and third trimesters, use a pregnancy pillow to improve sleep quality while providing support
  • Stick to a regular bedtime
  • Have a relaxing routine before bedtime, such as yoga, meditation, reading, or a warm bath
  • Sleep in a dark, cool room with a comfortable temperature and without distracting screens
  • Eat the right food for pregnancy
  • Avoid eating heavy meals
  • Exercise during the day to lower stress levels
  • Keep noisy alarm clocks away
  • Do a full-body massage
  • Use safe sleep aids sparingly —commonly prescribed sleeping medications include diphenhydramine (Benadryl), Doxylamine (Unisom), Tylenol PM, or Nytol

Here are some helpful strategies to enhance your sleeping environment and achieve better sleep quality. You should avoid using any medication without consulting a healthcare provider first. Since every pregnancy is unique, it’s essential to consult your doctor before taking melatonin while pregnant, especially in the third trimester. This ensures they are informed about any potential complications and can provide personalized guidance.

Final Words

Sleep plays a crucial role in pregnancy, yet 3 out of 4 pregnant women experience sleep disturbances. Given the potential links between sleep quantity and birth complications, it’s essential for every pregnant woman to address sleep issues and prioritize good sleep hygiene. This includes considering whether you can have melatonin while pregnant. I trust this article has assisted you in deciding whether using melatonin during pregnancy is a safe choice for you.

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information.(n.d).Physiology of the Pineal Gland and Melatonin. (Online). Available at
  2. ResearchGate. (2008- 2021). Changes of serum melatonin level and its relationship to feto-placental. (Online). Available at
  3. Preeclampsia Foundation. (2021). PREECLAMPSIA FOUNDATION. (Online). Available at

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Manal is a lifestyle influencer who has spent years delving into the world of beauty, fashion, and wellness- a pro when it comes to anything woman.

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