If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, it’s important to be aware of the possible changes that could occur. You may already know your body is going to go through some physical changes, but these changes combined with changes in hormone levels, comfort levels, and sleep patterns can impact you emotionally and psychologically as well. Are pregnancy dreams part of these changes? Some pregnant women have reported having a change in their dream state during sleep as a result of pregnancy.
What are the Kinds of Pregnancy Dreams?
While it will vary from woman to woman there are some consistent changes that most women report if their dreams change during pregnancy.
Some of these pregnancy dream changes include:
- Vivid dreams
- Anxiety based dreams
- More intense dreams
- Ability to remember dreams more clearly
- More frequent dreaming
Possible Causes of Pregnancy Dreams
As noted above, your body is going through many changes during pregnancy, and your emotional, physical, and mental states are all connected. While pregnancy dreams remain a source of mystery in many scientific fields, there are many possible reasons why this change in dream patterns occurs.
One cause is due to an increase in hormone production. You’ll find during pregnancy that your hormones may impact your emotions and your anxiety. They will also impact the way your brain processes information and emotions, possibly resulting in more vivid and frequent dreams while you are pregnant.
Another cause is the disruption in your normal sleep pattern. When you are unable to keep a regular sleep schedule, or when you wake up more in the night either from discomfort or the urge to urinate more frequently, this will impact your REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. It is during REM sleep that dreams occur, and when the frequency or length of REM sleep is inconsistent or disrupted frequently throughout the night, it can impact how much you dream while you are pregnant. It can also impact your ability to remember your dream, which could give the allusion of dreaming more vivid dreams.
Pregnancy dreams have been hypothesized to be one of the ways your unconscious mind processes information and attempt to solve problems. With pregnancy, you may find yourself under more stress or anxiety than you are accustomed, which could easily lead to more intense dreams or even nightmares.
What Can You Do about Pregnancy Dreams?
If your pregnancy dreams are tolerable, but just simply more vivid and frequent, you can adjust by attempting to deduce possible sources. If your dreams are the result of inconsistent sleep, try new sleeping positions, and do your best to stay on a consistent schedule.
If your pregnancy dreams or nightmares are more worrisome and cause you distress, you may start a “dream journal” that you keep beside your bed. Journaling your dreams after you wake up can help you process the material, which can allow the content of the dream to pass from your unconscious to your conscious mind. Perhaps this will relieve some of the anxiety that your mind is attempting to process.
However, if your nightmares are consistently too vivid and disturbing and make sleeping too difficult, you may consider sharing them with a friend, or even a counselor or therapist. This can often lead to greater clarity in regards to the source of what is troubling you, so that a solution may be found.
Compiled from the following sources:
Harms, R. W. (2004). Mayo Clinic guide to a healthy pregnancy. New York: HarperResource.
Gibbs, R. (2008). Prenatal Care. In Danforth’s obstetrics and gynecology (10th ed., p. 18). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.