Pregnancy and Fertility
A review of the available literature by obstetric researchers found that because pregnancy has increased oxygen demands on the body and, thus, more free radical damage, melatonin supplementation may be a critical consideration for both complicated and normal pregnancies, counter to the traditional stance of avoiding it during pregnancy (1). According to some research, the use of melatonin supplementation during pregnancy, which has been found safe in both mother and fetus according to some research, could prove to help limit complications during critical periods before and shortly after delivery (2,3). A study suggested that preeclampsia does not have a seasonal variation, although it was observed that reduced melatonin levels were associated with the development of preeclampsia (3). Therefore, it has been suggested that melatonin may help support a successful pregnancy.
Pregnancy is a critical time for fetal programming of hypertension. As an antioxidant therapy, melatonin may help prevent hypertension in the offspring of patients with a family history of hypertension (4). It has been hypothesized that oxidative stress negatively impacts fertility. Since melatonin is a strong scavenger of oxidative factors, it could improve both male and female fertility and sperm and oocyte quality, resulting in increased fertilization (5–8). Melatonin shows promise for advanced age infertility and improving IVF outcomes (9–13).
Delivery by cesarean may also be associated with higher levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines compared to vaginal birth (14), thereby shunting the production of pineal gland melatonin synthesis and upregulating the tryptophan conversion into the kynurenic pathway, offsetting the serotonin-melatonin pathway (15). Women who delivered vaginally versus by cesarean had higher colostrum melatonin levels (14,16). Finally, administering 10 mg of melatonin, compared with 5 mg or placebo, to women before the cesarean section with spinal anesthesia was shown to reduce the severity of their pain, duration of analgesic use postoperatively, and facilitated their ability to be more physically active in less time after surgery (17).
Authors: Deanna Minich, Ph.D., Melanie Henning, ND, Catherine Darley, ND, Mona Fahoum, ND, Corey B. Schuler, DC, James Frame
Reviewer: Peer-review in Nutrients Journal
Last updated: September 22, 2022
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