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Is it safe to take sleeping pills during pregnancy?

Is it safe to take sleeping pills during pregnancy?


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While it's best not to take prescription sleeping pills regularly when you're pregnant (especially in the first and third trimesters), occasional use of some sleep medications is considered safe. Here's the deal.

The over-the-counter antihistamines diphenhydramine and doxylamine are safe at recommended doses during pregnancy, even for extended periods. (These are the ingredients found in Benadryl, Diclegis, Sominex, and Unisom, for example.)

The only caveat is: If you take diphenhydramine, don't take it with Restoril (temazepam). The combination of these drugs has been linked to stillbirth, so you'll want to wait until the first drug is out of your system before taking the other one. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to find out how long this will take for you.

If you're suffering from severe insomnia or anxiety, your healthcare provider may recommend that you take a prescription sleep medication. If you're considering taking one, you and your doctor will have to weigh the risks and benefits and determine exactly how often it's safe for you to take it. Here's what we know.

A 2015 research analysis suggested that two types of sleeping pills – benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepines – could raise the risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, small-for-gestational-age infants, and cesarean birth. Studies have also raised the possibility that using these medications while pregnant could cause breathing problems in newborns.

Benzodiazepines used for sleeping are Restoril (temazepam), ProSom (estazolam), Dalmane (flurazepam), Doral (quazepam), and Halcion (triazolam). Nonbenzodiazepines include Ambien (zolpidem), Imovane (zopiclone), Lunesta (eszopiclone), and Sonata (zaleplon).

There are also three barbiturates used as sleep aids: amobarbital, pentobarbital, and secobarbital. Although the data are limited, birth defects have been reported with amobarbital when it was taken in the first trimester. In addition, using any barbiturate near delivery can cause sedation in the newborn that can last for several days.

Other prescription sleeping pills include Chloralum (chloral hydrate), Amidate (etomidate), Rozerem (ramelteon), Belsomra (suvorexant), and Hetlioz (tasimelteon). The risk of these drugs in pregnancy is not known but could be similar to those observed with the benzodiazepines, non-benzodiazepines, and barbiturates discussed above.

Avoid taking prescription sleeping pills during late pregnancy. There have been cases of breathing and muscle tone problems reported in infants exposed to these medications at that time.

Finally, be aware that taking more than the recommended dose of any sleep medication can harm you and your developing baby. For example, high doses of diphenhydramine have caused uterine contractions that may lead to uterine rupture or placental abruption.

Learn more
Sleep aids during pregnancy


Watch the video: Is it safe to take Unisom on a regular basis? (May 2022).


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