Sleep is a major concern for pregnant women. The hormonal changes can often make it difficult to sleep peacefully at night. Hence pregnant women often resort to easy sleep solutions like sleeping pills or sleep aids to get enough sleep while pregnant.
Sleep aids can help you stay calm at night, leading to better sleep. However, not all sleep aids are safe for pregnancy. Luckily, there are some safe sleep solutions that might help you sleep better.
Is it safe to take OTC sleep aids during pregnancy?
Both prescription pills and over-the-counter sleeping aid are best to avoid during pregnancy. However, the occasional use of sleep aids such as Unisom and Benadryl is considered safe while pregnant.
Unisom: Recognized as safe by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Unisom Sleep Tabs are effective for treating nausea and vomiting. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has listed Unisom as a Class B category medication, meaning there is no evidence of a risk to the fetus.
Benadryl: Benadryl is another Category B medication by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Occasional use of Benadryl is considered safe during pregnancy to induce drowsiness and combat allergy symptoms.
Melatonin: It is a dietary supplement that comes in the form of pills, liquids, and chewable. There has been little research out there on the effectiveness and risks associated with taking melatonin during pregnancy. However, some research points out a possible correlation between melatonin and fetal development and encourages the use of melatonin supplements for improving sleep quality. Since melatonin is not regulated closely by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), consult with your healthcare provider before taking melatonin supplements while pregnant.
While sleep is important, you shouldn’t take unnecessary risks during pregnancy. Before taking any sleeping pill, we highly recommend that you discuss it directly with your OB/GYN.
Natural Sleep Aids During Pregnancy
Whether you’re suffering from back pain or dealing with discomfort at night due to your growing belly, know that you aren’t alone. These experiences are common among pregnant women. Luckily, there are some natural yet effective sleep aids that are safe for pregnancy.
Like countless expecting moms, they might turn out to be lifesavers for you.
Thanks to the soothing and calming properties of essential oils, aromatherapy or essential oil therapy have been a proven-effective holistic healing practice for thousands of years. Even scientific studies have shown that aromatherapy can help ease stress, anxiety, and depression. Hence many professionally-qualified aromatherapists often recommend essential oils for better sleep at night. However, for pregnant women, it’s important to be mindful when it comes to using essential oils during pregnancy.
Some usage of essential oils is strongly prohibited for pregnant women, such as ingestion of essential oils or mixing them with food. While some essential oils are safe during pregnancy when diluted in a carrier oil such as coconut or almond oil. However, putting essential oils in a diffuser is the safest option for pregnant women.
We recommend that you try calming or down-regulating essential oils like lavender, chamomile, or ylang-ylang in a diffuser to get better sleep during pregnancy.
Get the Right Nutrition
According to John Hopkins Medicine, a healthy, well-balanced diet should get your first and foremost attention during pregnancy to mitigate symptoms such as nausea and constipation.
A simple change in your food intake and drinking habits could greatly improve your sleep quality. If your sleep is disrupted by bad dreams, headaches, or full-body sweats, choose healthy protein-based snacks during the night. Eat a lot of vegetables, fruits, grains, and dairy products.
It would be best if you steer clear of raw and undercooked foods, unpasteurized milk and foods, and large meals later in the evening. Take in enough water during the day, including juices and soups.
It is widely believed that drinking a glass of warm pregnancy milk before bedtime might help you doze off quicker while pregnant. Even researchers suggest that the ritual of drinking a glass of warm milk before bed can be as comforting as a favorite old blanket. However, don’t go overboard with taking warm milk during the night.
Make Yourself Comfortable
You can simply choose to place a pillow between your legs for added comfort. Pregnancy body pillows are some great ways to get comfortable during the night. These pillows come in different shapes and colors. You can either opt for a full body-length pillow, a C-shaped, a U-shaped pillow, or a wedge.
The combination of a quality mattress and a pillow can also make a difference between a sleepless night and a peaceful slumber.
Check out our curated picks of high-quality pregnancy pillows to know which one may support you best. You can easily order one of these pregnancy pillows on Amazon.
Apply Relaxation Techniques
Some relaxation techniques can help reduce stress and relax your muscles. These techniques include deep breathing, visualization, stretching, prenatal yoga, massage, and more. Here is a good video you can add to your stretching routine.
Check out the above relaxation techniques below to calm your mind and improve your sleep quality during pregnancy.
Do Regular Exercise
Exercise is probably the last thing you worry about during pregnancy. However, regular physical exercise not only help you sleep better at night but also helps you lose baby weight after having a baby. Exercise is considered one of the best non-pharmacological alternatives to enhance sleep quality.
There are some simple and pregnancy-safe exercises you can do without worry. However, you should avoid strenuous exercise within four hours of bedtime. Check out American Pregnancy Association Guidelines before choosing an exercise program during pregnancy.
What sleep position is best for pregnant women?
Expecting moms should be mindful of their sleeping position. Uncomfortable sleep positions lead to tossing and turning all night and put unnecessary strain on the body. Most obstetricians and pediatricians advise pregnant women to sleep on their left-hand side during pregnancy. Sleeping on one side with one pillow between the knees is likely to be the most comfortable position. You can use a belly wedge under your belly and a pillow behind your back for further support.
Experts always advise avoiding these two sleeping positions during pregnancy.
- Sleeping on your back
- Sleeping on your stomach
Well, managing adequate sleep during pregnancy can be hard. But that doesn’t mean you have to use prescription sleeping pills or OTC sleep aids during pregnancy. We recommend practicing patience and trying safer alternatives like aromatherapy, relaxations, and pregnancy pillows.
Even if you intend to use OTC sleep aids, speak to your doctor and always follow expert recommendations before trying something new during pregnancy.