Understanding Nightmares and Dreams in Pregnancy

Pregnant Woman Having Bad Dreams
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Some women will vividly dream of the sex of their baby or the actual birth and have it be so crystal clear they're convinced that this is how it will be for them. On the flip side, some women will have no specific dreams and may feel like they haven't been given any clues about their pregnancy whatsoever. Other pregnant women, on the other hand, may have strange dreams and even nightmares.

The dreams that we have while pregnant are often rooted in the worries and joys of pregnancy and the changing roles of our lives. Hormones play a part as well. Combine this with a bout of insomnia, and it can really wreak havoc your sleep.

Pregnancy Nightmares

Nightmares during pregnancy are commonly about harm coming to you, a family member, or the baby. You might dream that you lose your baby before their birth or that something is wrong with them. You could also have nightmares during pregnancy about things completely unrelated to your baby.

Many believe that these are just the fears of ourselves as parents playing out in dream form, while others may shrug them off and say they don't have any meaning. Either way, while fear-based dreams can be very disheartening, they are likely not an indicator as to how you will be as a parent.

Cheating and disappearing spouses, or reappearing ex-lovers can haunt some. What will your husband think of your ever-expanding belly? Will he stick around to find out? Or the reverse, you're dreaming of steamy moments with those you find attractive, even the stars of stage and screen.

Or, maybe work is what's foremost on your mind—do you say or do silly things in your dreams at work? Have you had dreams about your boss doing really odd things, like shaving your coworkers' forearms?

When it comes to scary dreams and even realistic birth dreams, however, it's not as easy to laugh them off. Consider sharing them with someone you trust: your spouse, a friend, or someone else who is pregnant. Discussing your potential fears or revelations behind the dreams with a confidante is often easier then trying to make sense of them on your own and can help you feel much better.

Partners Can Have Pregnancy Dreams

Partners can experience these anxiety dreams, too. Believe it or not, our weird pregnancy dreams can also happen to the partners in our lives. Sometimes their dreams are related to our fears, or their own. They may revolve around money issues, protection of the family, feeling left, out or just about anything that has to do with expecting. A shoulder to lean on is very important for them as well.

Dreams can become very troublesome when they cause you to lose sleep or have insomnia in any way. Some women will benefit from professional help due to the disturbing nature of the dreams that pregnancy brings on. If you feel like your dreams are causing you to lose quality sleep and are detrimental to your well-being, ask your healthcare practitioner for a referral to a mental health counselor or therapist.

5 Sources
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By Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH
Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH is a professor, author, childbirth and postpartum educator, certified doula, and lactation counselor.