Pregnancy Dreams: Does Being Pregnant Change The Way You Dream?

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Disrupted sleep during pregnancy is prevalent and absolutely normal. More often than not, pregnant women are woken up from their sleep due to fetal movements, the need to pee, or backache. However, there is another unexpected side effect of pregnancy that many women experience, and that is changes in their dreams (1).

If you’re pregnant, the chances are that you have been having weird dreams. Although this is a common occurrence for many women, you might find it disconcerting. It can dampen your mood and even get you anxious. It may help if you know why this happens and what is causing these changes. We’re here to tell you precisely what you need to know!

In This Article

Can Pregnancy Affect Dreams?

Can Pregnancy Affect Dreams

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It is extremely common to have vivid dreams or even nightmares when you are pregnant. These dreams tend to be so realistic and vivid that several pregnant women have also reported what is known as dream recall. Dream recall is essentially being able to remember your dream vividly when you wake up (2).

Dream experts agree that when you have a dream, it is your subconscious at play, focusing on issues that currently plague your mind (3). So if you’ve been thinking about something, the chances are that you end up dreaming about the same as well. This makes sense because pregnant women do have several dreams that are related to their pregnancy. Mothers have given an account of dreams of their child or the gender of their unborn child.

Nightmares are often reported during the course of pregnancy as well, and it’s entirely normal. Pregnancy is an overwhelming time. As much as you look forward to the day of your newborn’s arrival, there is no denying that it can be scary. Your fears are probably manifested in your dreams, resulting in nightmares (4).

Why Does This Happen?

Why Does This Happen

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As we mentioned above, dream experts collectively believe that dreams are your body’s way of making sense of issues you are currently dealing with. During pregnancy, you are likely to experience heightened positive and negative emotions, all of which have something to do with your pregnancy. Although you are thrilled and anticipating your new baby, you are also worried and anxious about the changes in your body and the labor. In most cases, the nature of your dreams will mimic what you are experiencing (5).

If you’ve been particularly nervous, anxious, or afraid during the day, you have a higher likelihood of experiencing nightmares or bad dreams at night. You will have vivid dreams during pregnancy, particularly if you are pregnant for the first time. A research was conducted on first-time mothers. It was concluded that first-time mothers had more dreams that are pregnancy-themed, as opposed to mothers who’ve been pregnant before. Additionally, some studies support the fact that women suffering from preeclampsia have also reported frequent instances of nightmares or disturbing dreams (7).

It is interesting to note that the dreams also change according to where you stand in your pregnancy. For example, in one study, it was found that pregnant women often had dreams about their baby’s safety in the early third trimester. This makes sense since your baby is at a stage where there is a higher risk of preterm birth. The dreams gradually shifted to childbirth or delivery towards the end of the third trimester (8).

Should You Be Worried?

Should You Be Worried

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Experiencing vivid dreams or nightmares during pregnancy is normal. It is also an outlet for you to process your emotions in a healthy way. In fact, researchers found an interesting correlation between dreams, pregnancy, and mental health. Women who had masochistic dreams or nightmares during their pregnancy often displayed increased levels of depressive symptoms. However, these women also experienced shorter labor and were at a lower risk of postpartum depression (9).

Dreams are not a cause for concern, and there is no reason for you to take your dream literally. Having said that, it might be a sign of an underlying problem or stressor such as a sleep disorder. It is best to consult your doctor to rule out the possibility of a sleep disorder.

There are a few tips that you can make use of to improve the quality of your sleep and prevent vivid dreams. Avoid drinking liquids or overeating before you sleep. Similarly, sleeping on your left side can help improve disrupted sleep (10). You can try your hand at journaling your dreams — this allows you to notice any patterns concerning your state of mind.

We could tell you that it’s just a dream, but dreams too can take a toll on your mind, particularly when it is so vivid. If you’re having recurring dreams or nightmares, try talking to your partner or your friend about it — you do not have to go through this all alone. Talking to a therapist can help as well. Have you had any strange dreams lately? Tell us about them in the comments below!

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