can you take melatonin while pregnant

Pregnant women experience different symptoms. One of the most common symptoms experienced by 46% – 78% of pregnant women is loss of sleep. Most pregnant women consider taking melatonin supplements to improve their sleep cycles, which raises the question, “Can you take melatonin while pregnant?” So, in this article, we will learn everything you need to know about melatonin, whether it is safe during pregnancy, its benefits and side effects, alternatives, and some other tips to sleep well in pregnancy. Let's explore!

What Is Melatonin?

Usually, people think that melatonin is a synthetic supplement. But do you know what exactly melatonin is? The exact answer is that melatonin is a naturally occurring sleeping hormone in the human body that induces and regulates sleep. The hormone is produced by the brain primarily by the pineal gland. It also comes from the ovaries and placenta. The hormone level increases in response to darkness, which makes us sleep, and decreases in the light. 

How Melatonin Works In Pregnancy?

Do you know how melatonin hormones work in pregnancy? If you are pregnant, the level of melatonin will naturally increase, especially around 24 weeks and after 32 weeks. Melatonin is important for healthy pregnancy as it stimulates the immune system, regulates circadian rhythms, and provides information to the fetus through the placenta.

But when the process of making melatonin gets disrupted, and the melatonin level decreases due to reasons such as stress, long screen time, caffeine, or other serious health conditions that pregnant women suffer, such as preeclampsia, the sleep cycle of pregnant women also gets disrupted. So, most women start taking melatonin supplements to increase their melatonin levels. But is it really safe to take melatonin during pregnancy? Let's know in the next section.

Can You Take Melatonin While Pregnant?

Well, no evidence claims that melatonin supplements are not safe for pregnant women. The aim of such supplements is just to increase the melatonin level to pass it to the fetus. However, taking melatonin supplements is only safe if your doctor recommends it. 

Though melatonin supplements are safe, doctors usually do not recommend them to pregnant women. However, according to a rat study, melatonin might help prevent premature birth in mice and increase the health of the placenta. Some research suggests that it helps in fetal development and may improve pregnancy outcomes. However, human studies are not enough, so doctors are not sure whether melatonin is safe for pregnant women. 

Why Melatonin May Not Be Safe for Pregnant Women? 

Below, we will discuss some reasons why taking melatonin may not be safe during pregnancy:

  • Limited Human Research on Safety: There is more animal research on melatonin supplementation than human research. The human studies of the effect of melatonin on pregnancy are still in progress. Hence, safety is not guaranteed. 
  • No Standard Dosage: No standard dosage of melatonin supplement is confirmed for pregnant women. According to MIT, .3mg is recommended for adults over 50 to help increase sleeping hormones. 
  • Not Regulated by FDA: Melatonin is a dietary supplement and is not regulated by the FDA. The supplements may contain some ingredients not listed on the bottle, which may not be safe for pregnant women. 

How to Use Melatonin Safely During Pregnancy?

Due to a lack of research, melatonin is not recommended. However, according to some studies, it can be safe for short-term usage during pregnancy. So, if you are considering its supplements, be mindful of the following things:

  • Consult your Doctor: The first important step is to take the supplement under the supervision of your doctor. Inform your doctor about all the medications you are taking to avoid any interactions. Also, they will help you with reputed brands of supplements for safety. 
  • Aware of your Selection: Next, while purchasing the supplement, be mindful of the labels, such as its ingredients, dosage advice, and any warnings mentioned on the bottle. Consider the one with a USP (United States Pharmacopeia) label.  
  • Mindful about Dosage: There is no specified dosage for pregnant women, so it is mandatory to be careful. Adults take 1 to 5 mg 1 hour before bed. Using melatonin for the long term and in higher dosages can be harmful. Consume it the way your healthcare provider recommends it. 
  • Monitor Your Body's Response: Next, always listen to your body. So, monitor and check the effects of melatonin on your body. Consult your doctor for any side effects, such as dizziness, headaches, etc. 
  • Regular Prenatal Checkup: As the effects of melatonin supplements are still not well known during pregnancy, visit your doctor for regular prenatal checkups to monitor your and your baby's development and well-being. 

Possible Benefits of Taking Melatonin During Pregnancy

Although doctors do not recommend melatonin supplements, according to some studies and reviews, they may improve the pregnancy journey beyond sleep. For instance:

  • According to a study of rats, melatonin can decrease the risk of neural tube abnormalities.
  • According to a review, the short-term use of melatonin can reduce the risk of pregnancy complications, such as the risk of preeclampsia, preterm birth, and intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). 
  • Another evolving research shows that melatonin supplementation is helpful in circadian rhythm regulation, which solves the problem of infertility in couples. However, there is no confirmation till now. 
  • According to some author's reviews, melatonin helps to protect fetal brain development, but still, due to not enough studies, it is not sure whether it is safe for pregnant women or not. 

Side Effects of Taking Melatonin During Pregnancy

Melatonin supplements are considered to help people with insomnia and pregnant women fall asleep faster, and it is recommended to use them for the short term. One should stop taking this medication after they find the results. But it is consumed overdose and used for a long time, and it can show some adverse side effects, including:

  • Drowsiness.
  • Daytime sleepiness.
  • Headaches.
  • Dizziness.
  • Nausea.
  • Nightmares.
  • Upset stomach.
  • Irritability.

Who Should Not Take Melatonin?

However, melatonin reduces the symptoms of jet lag and helps increase melatonin levels in the human body so that people can fall asleep faster. However, people taking other medications such as blood thinners and benzodiazepines or being treated for epilepsy should not take this medicine without a doctor's consultation. Melatonin can interact with other drugs or medications and can lead to some severe health issues in adults or pregnant women.

Also, people suffering from certain health conditions such as organ transplants, kidney disease, and autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis should avoid using melatonin. 

Some Pregnancy-Safe Alternatives to Melatonin

As the real story of melatonin is still being researched, some alternatives to melatonin are safe during pregnancy and help moms-to-be regulate their sleep cycles. The alternatives include:

  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl): It is an antihistamine often prescribed by doctors during pregnancy to be safely used as a sleep aid. 
  • Doxylamine (Unisom): It is an antihistamine often prescribed by doctors to manage the sleep cycle of pregnant people, especially those experiencing nausea and vomiting.

Some Tips To Sleep Well During Pregnancy

There are so many natural ways to manage sleep cycles other than non-pharmaceutical ways. Some sleep tips to improve your sleep during pregnancy include:

  • Maintain Sleep Hygiene: It is important to maintain proper sleep hygiene. For that, you need to build a habit of sleeping and waking up at the same time daily. Find a wind activity, such as a warm bath, book reading, or yoga practice, that helps you fall asleep faster. 
  • Limit Exposure to Artificial Light: As stated above, melatonin levels increase when it's dark. So, limit your exposure to room lights or your electronic device lights so they do not disturb the body's natural sleep-wake cycle. 
  • Limit Stimulants: Stimulants such as caffeine can disturb your sleep cycle. So, avoid coffee, tea, or energy drinks and consider decaffeinated beverages or herbal tea to manage your sleep. 
  • Maintain a Healthy Diet: A healthy diet is important for overall well-being during pregnancy and promotes good sleep. Include carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats throughout the day. 
  • Find the Right Sleep Position: Doctors recommend sleeping on your left side, promoting better circulation and improving overall sleep quality. You can also use maternity pillows for comfort. 
  • Consider a Prenatal Vitamin: Prenatal vitamins support your and your fetal health and can indirectly help you sleep better. 


Hopefully, from the above article, you get the answer to your question, “Can you take melatonin while pregnant?” Here, we understand that melatonin is safe for sleep until your doctor prescribes it. It does not have any severe side effects if consumed in a limited dose for a short period of time. However, doctors usually don't recommend this supplement because fewer studies of animals prove its effectiveness, and there are not enough studies for humans on whether they are safe during pregnancy or not.

So, it is recommended that you move towards some natural tips to fall asleep faster. They are pharmaceutical-free and maintain your and your baby's overall health. Remember to always consult your doctor before starting any medication, especially if you are pregnant. 


1. What food is high in melatonin?

Ans: Foods such as eggs, fish, mushrooms, legumes, and cereals are higher sources of melatonin. 

2. Is 5mg of melatonin safe during pregnancy?

Ans: No, it is neither safe nor recommended by doctors. Consider 0.3mg—1mg only for short-term use. 

3. Is melatonin a sleeping pill?

Ans: Melatonin supplements are safe and promote sleep when used in limited dosages and for the short term. They also treat delayed sleep phase, circadian rhythm sleep disorders, and insomnia.

4. What can I drink for insomnia during pregnancy?

Ans: Consider drinking a warm cup of milk. The amino acid L-tryptophan is found in milk, promotes sleep, and increases the level of melatonin. 

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Oliver Nelson

Oliver Nelson is a New York based Health Specialist Writer who completed his graduation from Syracuse University back in 2015. His writings were published in the top Healthcare brands in the United States.

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