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What's better--stress and sleep deprivation, or just taking Benadryl?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I'm at 28 weeks today, and having a really hard time sleeping.  I fall asleep just fine, but if anything wakes me up in the middle of the night it's impossible for me to fall back asleep any sooner than 2-3 hours.  I have been stressed and sleep deprived and I am at my wit's end.  I called my midwife today who said that Unisom or Benadryl is considered safe, so I'm contemplating taking some.  However, I really try to avoid ANYTHING unnatural during pregnancy--eat organic, eat healthy, no artificial anything if I can help it.  So obviously I'm hesitant.

My pre-sleep schedule isn't great, and this is part of the problem but it's tough to know what to do about it.  I work (from home, granted) until about 10:15pm, I work in front of a computer at a mentally challenging job.  I stay home during the day with my daughter, who is up at irregular times, but essentially I try to get to sleep ASAP after I'm done with work so I can deal with my daughter on days when she's up at 6am.  This has worked ok during the whole 3 years we've done this, but since pregnancy it's like my brain doesn't get a chance to shut off before bed.  I take a shower before bed and take 15 min to read, but that's not quite enough. 

What would you do?  Just take the Benadryl or Unisom, or deal with knowing what the stress and sleep deprivation are also doing to my baby?

Thanks for your feedback!

post #2 of 15

Personally, I would take the Benadryl and get some sleep. Would I want to take it every night? No, not at all. I really try not to take medications such as those while pregnant, but sometimes it happens.


With DD, I took a handful of Vicodin at 38 weeks pregnant when I developed kidney stones, was in a ton of pain, and had not slept more than 8-9 hours total in 4 days. DD is fine. Last night, I took a dose of cough syrup with codeine because I have influenza and a sinus infection. I kept coughing so hard when laying down and really felt like I might break a rib or something from coughing so hard. Plus, I needed to sleep. I feel confident that this baby, too, will be just fine.


I may, very likely, be in the minority on this one.

post #3 of 15

I took Benedryl on Sunday.  Not for sleep but because my nose was stuffy and runny and I had itchy, watery eyes and I was miserable!!  I don't feel the least bit guilty about it.  But I"m not really opposed to taking meds during pregnancy when needed. especially something well studied.  I won't really do any other cold medicines and have been just doing vitamins, neti pot. except for the one dose of Benedryl.  I also eat soft cheese and have had wine during the pregnancy so obviously I'm a rebel and you may not want to listen to me.

post #4 of 15

That sucks, mama!!  


First let me say that I really don't see an issue with taking the occasional OTC med while pregnant, especially if it works and helps you get back on track with sleep.  


I do happen to be super skeptical about whether any OTC sleep meds will work for your problem.  I thought most of them help you fall asleep but do little to keep you there.  


I know some other things that would probably be recommended - are you getting some exercise each day?  I know that can really help with sleep.  


I also know that magnesium can help with sleep.  


Also, with a mild amount of stress I wouldn't worry too much about the baby.  I've read some conflicting things about the effects of stress on babies - some even suggests that a normal amount of stress can be good for the child to be exposed to.  Others said that it is difficult to confirm negative effects of stress on fetuses even in mothers under extreme stress.  


I'm not saying that to you to say you should suck it up -- only to help alleviate the additional stress of worrying about your baby.  


I hope it gets better soon!!  

post #5 of 15

I'd take the Benadryl. Not every night, but enough to make sure you're getting adequate sleep in the course of a week.


I try to avoid that sort of thing in general and in pregnancy, but pregnancy is hard enough without suffering through sleeplessness and illness like that. IMO :) If natural methods don't work (for whatever the complaint), and you're really miserable then by all means take something. I've taken benadryl, colace, and sudafed this pregnancy.

post #6 of 15

I'm a fan of Calms Forte - homeopathic sleep remedy. According to the lady at the health food store if you take it every day or something it could cause a ragweed allergy? I don't know. I took it regularly for a month or two a while back before I was pregnant because I was having issues sleeping. 

post #7 of 15

I would be concerned about feeling drowsy the next morning. Stress....have you tried accupuncture? That has helped my stress levels soooooo much.Also rescue remedy will get you back to sleep very fast. It's made by Bach and it's plant based....wonderful for all sorts of things.


post #8 of 15

I've taken benadryl for hayfever and earlier in the pregnancy I was taking unisom/b6 for nausea...


I can't say I got GREAT sleep but I did get slightly more. And I don't remember waking up feeling weird or anything. As far as staying natural with everything...I'm picking my battles, instead of drawing one hard fast line in the sand. pregnant with DD I was a lot more fastidious about what went into my body. This time? It has NOT been as easy...everything hurts worse, symptoms seem more pronounced, and I'm doing it while chasing a toddler. So yeah. 


I'm picking my battles, and this is one I didn't fight. 

post #9 of 15

Sleep is so important. Take the Benadryl if it helps you. My midwives suggested it to me for my insomnia.

post #10 of 15

There are lots of natural remdies for what you're dealing with, but I say go for the Benedryl if you're comfortable with it.  None of the natural remedies I have tried for sleeplessness have been very effective and it sounds like you need a good solid night of sleep.  I wouldn't take the Benedryl every night, but it seems like a better option than being exhausted and stressed out.  We're pretty well beyond the point in our pregnancies of something like benedryl or a glass of wine harming the baby anyway.

post #11 of 15
Originally Posted by Oregonicmama View Post

None of the natural remedies I have tried for sleeplessness have been very effective and it sounds like you need a good solid night of sleep. 

I will say the Calms Forte stuff I've used works very well and I have some serious sleep issues at times. It'd be worth a try and doesn't have the side-effects that benedryl has. Calms Forte is also used for anxiety. I have used it during a panic attack and it worked well.


post #12 of 15

Magnesium works well for helping me fall asleep (and maybe say asleep - but I don't have that problem right now).  

post #13 of 15

I have really bad pregnancy insomnia and I barely get any sleep - 4 hours a night.  I'm also hesistant to take anything unnatural especially while pregnant.  I did end up taking a 1/2 dose of Benadryl the other night because I was so tired and also super stuffy and my sinuses were killing me.  It helped a bit but I won't take it on a regular basis. 


As far as working from home, it sounds like you need more time to wind down - so I would say no computer/tv at least an hour before bed.  Is that at all possible?  Maybe do some relaxing yoga for 10 minutes?

post #14 of 15

I started taking unison and B6 for nausea early on and am still taking it.  The last time I didn't (a couple weeks ago) I was nauseous again and couldn't sleep.  Not fun.  Don't worry.  I have a wicked cold and can barely breathe so I was googling decongestants yesterday.  Most of what I read said sudafed is ok in small doses so I treated myself to a little red pill before bed so I could breathe.  I agree that OTC meds in small doses and for short times are really ok.

post #15 of 15

Have you tried the following:


-no caffeine after noon

-regular exercise (even just a short walk each day)

-nursing pillow to sleep with

-maternity or other very comfy pajamas 

-warm bath instead of a shower before bed

-hot water bottle in bed for your feet, warm enough blankets 

-stop working at least an hour before bed. Bright light at night confuses your sleep/wake cycle

-make sure your bedroom is completely dark at night

-herbal tea before bed


I'd try those things before taking any meds. I was most helped by getting better pajamas and placing a pillow in front of my stomach to hold me up on my side. Good luck!

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