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Sleeping Pills and Pregnancy

Are Sleeping Pills Safe to Get Rid of Insomnia During Pregnancy?

When getting sleep becomes a distant possibility, is it safe to take the help of sleeping pills during pregnancy? The following article tries to answer this question in some detail.
Nicks J
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
Sleeping problems are nothing new in pregnant women. In fact, poor sleep is a common complaint during pregnancy. The increasing belly size as the pregnancy progresses can make it quite difficult to get a good night's sleep. This happens because the protruding stomach puts excessive strain on the lower body. This can cause persistent leg pain, thereby giving a hard time in sleeping. So, is a sleeping pill an option to induce sleep during pregnancy? What are the sleeping pill's side effects? Let's find out.
Pregnancy and Sleeping Pills
As lack of sleep that occurs during pregnancy can be quite frustrating, pregnant women might be tempted to pop a pill to get some quality sleep. However, will it be safe to have a sleep inducing medication, especially when it is known that whatever is pushed down the throat during pregnancy affects the developing baby. The answer is a 'Probable No'.
First of all, no human study confirms the safety of these pills during pregnancy. As we all know, every medication developed has to first undergo clinical trials, in which humans are given the drug under consideration, and depending upon the results, it will be decided whether the medication is worthy of use. Unfortunately, clinical trials on pregnant women regarding the usage of these pills have not been conducted. So, there is uncertainty about the safety status of sleeping pills during pregnancy.
Yes, animal studies are suggesting that these pills are safe. Hence, there is assumption that the same result will be observed in humans too. However, there have been instances wherein human and animal studies have shown contradictory results. Therefore, simply on the basis of animal studies, one cannot guarantee safety of sleeping pills during pregnancy. Also, the use of prescription sleeping pills for pregnant women have not received approval from the FDA.
When there is no data that indicates whether sleeping pills are good or harmful to the developing baby, taking these medication would not be a wise decision. Women need to refrain from taking these pills during pregnancy. However, when it becomes difficult even to get short-term sleep, the doctor may prescribe medicines like Benadryl, Unisom, and Tylenol PM. All these medicines contain diphenhydramine, a drug that displays sedative properties. 
On the other hand, Tylenol PM not only promotes sleepiness but also relieves aches associated during pregnancy. These medicines that may help to get some restful sleep are found to be safe on animals, which means no serious side effects were detected in animal studies, but they have not been tested on humans. So, even if the doctor has recommended these pills, one must use it occasionally and not on a daily basis. 
Taking a 25 mg tablet once in a while after consulting a doctor is enough to fall sleep. Overdose or taking it regularly may produce damaging effects on the developing fetus. Too much dependence on sleeping pills like barbiturates that act as sedatives can put the baby in the risk zone of jaundice after birth. The baby's IQ may also drop down due to the regular intake of barbiturates.
Knowing some of the best ways to sleep while pregnant may help to relieve symptoms of insomnia. On the whole, be it a sleeping pill or a cough medicine, one should think twice before taking any sort of medication during pregnancy. Wrong choices in food or medication is bound to create complications in the pregnancy. A better option would be to make a conscious effort to get some sleep. Relaxation techniques like deep breathing are found to be helpful to induce sleep. Just concentrate on your breathing activity, and within a few minutes, sleep will come naturally to you.