What Do Vivid Dreams During Pregnancy Mean?
During pregnancy, your dreams can become weirder or more vivid than usual. You may be wondering what these dreams mean and why they seem particularly unusual.
Read on to find out what might be behind your strange or bad dreams during pregnancy, and what you can do to keep them from affecting your sleep.
What Causes Vivid Dreams During Pregnancy?
Just like with “pregnancy brain,” experts are not 100 percent certain what could be behind any weird or vivid “pregnancy dreams” you might have. Here, however, are some common hypotheses as to why these strange dreams might occur:
Over the course of your pregnancy, your body goes through significant physical changes, including changing hormone levels. These changes can affect your mood and also the way your brain processes information. This might be what triggers unusual dreams, especially in the third trimester.
The changes you’re going through during pregnancy can also influence your sleep patterns. For example, you may not be able to get quality sleep if you have a pregnancy symptom like frequent urination through the night. Waking through the night can affect your REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, which is when most dreams occur. When REM sleep is inconsistent or disrupted, it can influence how much you dream and increase your ability to remember your dreams. This can give you the impression that your dreams are more vivid than normal, even though you may be dreaming the same way you did before you were pregnant.
While you’re pregnant, you may find you’re under more stress or have heightened emotions. This may lead to anxiety-filled dreams. Experts think that these dreams could be your subconscious trying to cope with or work through any fears or doubts you might have about pregnancy or becoming a parent, especially if you’re a first-time mom.
Common Pregnancy Dreams
The dreams you might have during pregnancy are uniquely yours, and the meanings you find in them or the ways you interpret your dreams are also very personal. Still, some plot line and themes crop up more often than not when moms-to-be are dreaming.
Common dreams about your baby can include dreaming that
your pregnancy isn't real, or that you will give birth to nothing, for example
you'll give birth to something like a baby animal or an object
your baby has some sort of disability.
Though dreams can mean different things for the dreamer, here are some common pregnancy dream themes and some possible meanings:
Forgetting or losing things, which may symbolize your fear or anxiety
Getting hurt or being in pain, which may represent your feelings of vulnerability at this time
Becoming trapped, as an indication that you may feel worried about losing some of your independence
Losing your partner or having your partner leave in your dream, which may reflect on your feelings of insecurity about your changing body shape
Dreams about fluctuations in your weight may reflect your concern about following a healthy diet.
How to Stop Vivid or Bad Dreams During Pregnancy
You may not be able to prevent dreams from happening (and you may not want to!) but you can try to focus on reducing the stressors that can affect the quality of your sleep and that may be behind some of your bad dreams.
Here are a few things you can try to get a better night’s sleep:
Try encouraging yourself to have positive daydreams by imagining that you’re holding your new baby, or thinking about possible baby names, or picturing him safe and sound in his crib.
If your dreams seem to be more vivid and frequent, but tolerable, and you think they may be triggered by a stressor in your life, try to resolve those stressors or practice relaxation techniques like prenatal yoga.
If you believe your dreams are a result of poor sleep, try a more comfortable sleeping position, such as sleeping on your side with your knees bent and a pillow between your knees. It might also help to stick to a consistent sleeping schedule by always going to bed at the same time. Exercise can help boost your mood and help you sleep better. Aim for at least 30 minutes of movement per day — even if it’s something gentle like going for a nice walk.
If your dreams are more like nightmares and are causing you distress, you might consider keeping a journal beside your bed to track the dreams. Writing down the dream as soon as you wake up can help you process the dream and possibly relieve some of the stress.
If your dreams are too vivid and disturbing, or are disrupting your sleep, you might consider telling a close friend, counselor, therapist, or your healthcare provider. Speaking about the dream may help you come upon the source of what might actually be bothering you, leading to some relief and a possible solution.
If you find yourself worrying that your bad dream may come true in real life, you might find it reassuring to speak to your healthcare provider.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Dreaming during your pregnancy is quite normal, and there’s nothing to worry about if the frequency or weirdness of your dreams has increased a little. However, if you are having nightmares or think that high levels of stress and anxiety might be causing your vivid dreams, you might like to reach out to your healthcare provider for some help and reassurance.
To help you along your pregnancy journey, check out our Pregnancy Guide.
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