Pregnancy is an amazing period in every woman’s life. The feeling of having a tiny human growing inside you is magical. And although getting a good restful night’s sleep during this time is crucial, it may be challenging.
The aches, heartburn, growing belly, disturbing dreams, and frequent urination can prevent a good night’s sleep. Many women resort to sleep aids like Zzzquil to get quality eye-shut. But is it worth it? Can you safely take Zzzquilwhen pregnant? Stay tuned!
What Is Zzzquil?
Diphenhydramine HCL, Zzzquil generic name, is an antihistamine used to relieve hay fever, the common cold, and allergic symptoms. These symptoms include runny nose, sneezing, cough, itchy nose/throat/eyes, rash, watery eyes, and body itchiness. Diphenhydramine HCL is also used to prevent and treat dizziness, vomiting, nausea, and movement/motion sickness. Zzzquil can also help you relax, calm down, fall, and stay asleep.
Zzzquil comes in many forms. Capsules, tablets, powder, dissolving strips, syrup, and liquid-filled capsules. The dosage depends on your age, medical condition, and treatment response. Adults and children above 12 years are recommended to take a single dose of two capsules or 30 ml liquicaps in 24 hours.
Is Zzzquil Safe During Pregnancy?
Using Zzzquil during pregnancy is considered safe. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Diphenhydramine HCL belongs to H1 antihistamines.
If you are pregnant and have problems falling or staying asleep, it’s best to start by trying out home remedies that improve sleep. If doing so doesn’t help, you may consider taking sleeping aids. But first, consult your doctor before taking any drug. Sleeping pills or any other drug is not recommended during pregnancy. But certain conditions necessitate their use. These conditions may include:
- Sleep apnea
- Willis-Ekbom disease or Restless Legs Syndrome
- Sleep Behaviors or Parasomnias
Numerous studies suggest that H1 antihistamines are relatively safe in pregnancy. That’s so because no serious side effects have been reported upon its use. However, the studies investigated short-term side effects only. There are no studies investigating the long-term impacts of Zzzquil in pregnancy. So, the effects of long-term Diphenhydramine HCL use in pregnancy remain unknown.
Although previous studies report that Diphenhydramine HCL in pregnancy can cause fetal abnormalities at birth (cleft palate, cleft lip, and upper mouth and lower nose developmental problems), more recent research doesn’t conform to this narration.
The Birth Defects Study of the Slone Epidemiology Center, which interviewed about 51,000 women, investigated the relationship between different drugs and their safety during pregnancy. Drugs with a higher rating were said to be safer compared to those with lower ratings. The study rated Diphenhydramine HCL “fair,” making it safe to use in pregnancy.
According to animal models, Zzzquil use in pregnancy up to five times the human dose did not result in birth abnormalities or infertility. Well-controlled studies on pregnant women are still missing or are inadequate. Other models revealed an association between Zzzquil use and preterm births. But the said association is weak.
Thus, pregnant women can take Zzzquil under a doctor’s supervision without worrying about harming their babies. But they should do so occasionally as continuous use of the drug loses its effectiveness and could result in dependence.
Side Effects Of Zzzquil In Pregnancy
Like any other drug, Zzzquil can cause side effects. Some expectant moms may be more sensitive than others, experiencing more adverse side effects. Some of the side effects include:
- Dry nose/mouth/throat
- Nausea or vomiting
- Chest congestion
How Does Zzzquil Work?
Being an antihistamine, Zzzquil work by blocking histamine receptors in the brain. Histamines are natural chemicals produced by the body that help keep alertness in the central nervous system in check. So, when you take Zzzquil, brain histamine receptors are blocked. This blockage leads to drowsiness, helping you to sleep.
Diphenhydramine HCL also blocks acetylcholine receptors. Acetylcholine is a chemical naturally produced by the body that impacts many body functions. Wakefulness, attention, sleep, memory, heart rate, and muscle movement. Taking Zzzquil prevents your body from making acetylcholine, the chemical responsible for alertness. This, in turn, leads to drowsiness and falling asleep.
How Can Pregnant Women Improve Their Sleep Naturally?
Unless in extreme circumstances, pregnant women can improve their sleep with natural home remedies. Here are tips to help you sleep better in pregnancy and beyond.
1. Good Sleep Hygiene
Good sleep hygiene refers to habits that signal the brain to relax and ease off, enabling one to fall asleep. These habits include:
- Ensuring the bedroom is dark. Darkness promotes the production of the sleep hormone melatonin.
- Limit caffeine after lunch. Caffeine is a stimulant that keeps your brain alert.
- Have a consistent bedtime. A consistent bedtime helps your internal clock (circadian rhythm) work effectively.
- Limit fluids a few hours before bedtime. They can cause frequent urination.
- Avoid using screens like laptops, phones, or television in bed.
- Avoid carbonated drinks, citrus, spicy or fatty foods as they can trigger acid reflux.
- Sleep in your bed only and make it as comfortable as possible.
Aromatherapy entails using an essential oil on the skin or inhaling it for wellness and vital health. Upon inhalation, the essential oils scent molecules move from the nerves found in your nose to the amygdala, creating a relaxing effect leading to sleepiness. Amygdala is the brain part responsible for controlling emotions.
3. Dietary Supplements
Certain dietary supplements may help expectant moms get quality eye-shut. Supplements containing melatonin, the natural sleep hormone, may be beneficial. Magnesium supplements may also be great in promoting a good night’s sleep. Remember to consult your doctor before taking any medication.
4. Relaxation Techniques
Certain techniques may help you relax and sleep better. Meditation, yoga, a warm bath, and a relaxing bedtime massage are excellent relaxation habits.
5. Physical Exercise
Although essential, physical activities may be challenging during pregnancy. Physical exercise can help with insomnia. Light exercises like walking and swimming are great ways to keep fit while pregnant.
Sleep is a critical necessity in life, especially during pregnancy. If pregnant and have problems falling or staying asleep, try natural home remedies. You can also consider Zzzquil as a sleep aid. But make sure you consult your doctor first before doing so.