Do you find it difficult to get a good night’s sleep while pregnant? You’re not alone. Many pregnant people have difficulty sleeping due to nausea, heartburn, and other discomforts. Unisom is a medication that can help you get the sleep you need during pregnancy. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what Unisom is, how it works, and whether or not it’s safe to take during pregnancy. We’ll also provide some tips for getting a better night’s sleep while pregnant. Thanks for reading!
But first, how do I know all of this? Hi — I’m Hilary — The Pregnancy Nurse 👩⚕️. I have been a nurse since 1997 and I have 20 years of OB nursing experience, I am also the curly head behind Pulling Curls and The Online Prenatal Class for Couples. 🩺 I’ve also been pregnant with three kids of my own. I know the desperate need you have to get some sleep during pregnancy, so we’re going to address ALL of that. 🙂
BTW, if all the things on your mind are preventing you from getting some sleep, can I recommend writing it down. I created a pregnancy planner to help take that load off your mind. You can find it right here.
What is Unisom?
Unisom (generic name: Doxylamine) is a medication that can be used to treat insomnia and other sleep disorders. It’s available over-the-counter in the United States, and it’s also available by prescription in some countries. Unisom is part of a class of medications called antihistamines, which are typically used to treat allergies. Unisom works by blocking the histamine receptor, which helps to promote sleepiness and drowsiness.
Many of you might have used Benadryl for allergies (or to sleep) in the past — and Unisom works very similarly.
How does Unisom work?
Unisom blocks histamines — the things that make you have itchy eyes, nose, runny nose and other allergy-type symptoms.
Although, frankly — as a nurse I’ve never seen Unisom used for anything other than a sleep aid. As, it can make you feel sleepy.
As a note — in this article I will never say if you should or should not take Unisom. That is up to you and your doctor to talk about (considering you and your specific needs). Please be sure to talk to your provider before taking ANY medication during pregnancy.
Remember that everything you take in your body during pregnancy is circulated to the baby. That’s why it’s just something to take seriously and talk with your provider.
Is Unisom safe to take during pregnancy?
As of this writing the FDA considers Unisom a Category A drug.
Adequate and well-controlled studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus in the first trimester of pregnancy (and there is no evidence of risk in later trimesters).
So, in general it is considered safe. You can learn more about the pregnancy categories here.
Unisom’s chemical make-up is also part of the prescription medication Diclegis (you can read more about that here).
Honestly, I hadn’t heard much about Diclegis til’ about 5-8 years ago. I had heard that it was used (under a different name) in the 70’s but went out of vogue after some concern it caused birth defects (which were unfounded).
But, it’s now sold as Diclegis , and it’s PRICEY! You can learn a bit about it’s past in this Forbes article.
However, it’s components are pretty-much a unisom (cheap) plus a B6 pill (also cheap)
Yes, Unisom is generally considered safe to take during pregnancy. However, as with any medication, it’s always important to speak with your doctor or healthcare provider before beginning any new medication, especially if you’re pregnant. They can help you to weigh the risks and benefits of taking Unisom during pregnancy and make the best decision for you and your baby.
What are the side effects of Unisom?
The most common side effects of Unisom include dry mouth, drowsiness, and dizziness. If you experience any of these side effects, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids and avoid driving or operating heavy machinery. Most side effects are mild. However, if you experience any severe side effects, such as hallucinations or difficulty breathing, stop taking Unisom and call your healthcare provider right away.
Unisom for Nausea
As I said above, Doxylamine is part of the medication Diclegis. Some research (and I’ve had friends that back this up) say that it works to prevent morning sickness (or nausea).
As far as I can tell, when combined with B6 it may block some neurotransmitter (how your brain talks to your body) from telling you that you’re nauseated or that you need to vomit.
Although, the real reason that it helps doesn’t seem clear — however, a great deal of medicine is like that. I’ve sometimes wondered if it’s just the good sleep that you get with it just helps. Who knows.
That being said — if you’re considering taking something for nausea please do talk with your provider about it in advance. I know I keep saying that, but it really is important. If you have high blood pressure or other issues it could be problematic.
But, if you’re just looking for something to help you sleep, there may be some better options to try:
Tips for getting a good night’s sleep during pregnancy
• Establish a regular sleep schedule and stick to it as much as possible (going to bed at the same time each night, and waking up at a similar time)
• Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed (although avoiding both during pregnancy is preferred, although some providers say some caffeine is OK)
• Avoid working or using electronic devices in bed — park your phone in the kitchen.
• Get up and move around during the day to keep your energy levels up. Even adding some working out to your daily routine may help you sleep better.
• Practice relaxation techniques before bed, such as deep breathing or visualization, or even some stretching
• If you’re having pain with sleep due to your changing body, consider using more pillows to help prop up your body.
As with much of medicine and pregnancy, this is complicated. That being said, there are a lot of studies that show Unisom is safe during pregnancy. Which, frankly, is rare. Most medications aren’t studied much with pregnancy so that data should help you sleep better — especially if you take a unisom. 🙂
Pro Tip: Make SURE that you’re drinking a LOT of water. Personally, I tried to do a large glass every 1-2 hours during the day, and would stop that process at dinner-time. That way I could not pee all night.
Now, if you’re early in pregnancy I really think this pregnancy planner will help, but if you’re further along — often thoughts about having the baby and what it will be like are keeping pregnant women up at night.
Did you know that in just a few hours I could help you sleep better?
No, the class isn’t that boring. It’s just that labor is actually pretty simple when you have an expert explain it. Knowing exactly what to expect is a good feeling, and will help you sleep better, be less stressed and enjoy this pregnancy more. Come join me in The Online Prenatal Class for Couples.
And, if you’re not quite sure you’re ready for that whole thing, check out my free prenatal class. It’s your first step toward becoming your own birth boss.
- About the Author
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A nurse since 1997, she has worked in various fields including pediatrics, geriatrics & hospice.
She has 20 years of labor and delivery experience in the San Jose, CA and Phoenix, AZ areas.