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Strange Dreams While Pregnant

Strange Dreams While Pregnant

Have you suddenly started having weird dreams?  Are you curious about what they might mean?  Many women have strange and vivid dreams during pregnancy. Women’s hormones fluctuate greatly during pregnancy.  Estrogen and progesterone levels increase dramatically and affect a woman’s emotions and moods.  It is thought that these hormonal changes also influence a woman’s dreams.  On top of that, sleep is often disrupted during pregnancy.  Women who once slept peacefully through the night might be waking up frequently because of discomfort or needing to use the bathroom.  Waking up in the middle of a dream may be part of the reason women notice more dreams when they are pregnant.


In this article:


When Do Pregnancy Dreams Start?

One of the reasons women feel fatigued and moody during pregnancy is because of the increase in progesterone and estrogen.  These two hormones help to thicken the lining of the uterus, cause your breasts to grow and trigger the growth of fetal tissue necessary for your baby’s lungs to mature.  These hormones also affect your sleep, your dreams, and your moods.


Estrogen and progesterone make you feel sleepier, and promote quality sleep.  This is why women are so tired during the first trimester as there is a sudden increase in hormones.  In the beginning of your pregnancy, your blood volume increases; consequently, you may be waking frequently to use the bathroom.  This disruption in sleep is one theory as to why women notice weird dreams during pregnancy.  It’s not so much that they are having more dreams, but they are waking up and remembering more of them.  You may start noticing weird dreams early in your first trimester. During your second trimester, you’ll probably have more dreams that are about your baby.


Why Am I Having Weird Dreams While Pregnant?

In general, people have around 4 to 6 dreams a night.  This typically occurs during REM sleep, but you can dream during any stage of sleep.  A sleep cycle consists of 5 stages.  It starts with light sleep. You may experience small muscular jerks as you drift off to sleep.  Each stage of sleep lasts about 5-15 minutes and most people get into REM sleep, where most dreams occur, after about 90 minutes.  A woman will have several cycles of REM sleep during the night, during each cycle the REM stage typically lasts longer. However, because a pregnant woman wakes more frequently during the night, she may have shorter periods of REM sleep because she is waking up during her sleep cycle.


Lucid dreams are dreams that occur in the brain when a person is in between the REM stage and waking.  A lucid dream has been described as a dream within a dream.  The dreamer may have control over the direction of the dream or be aware that she is dreaming.  Waking dreams and nightmares may occur during this in-between stage of sleep as well.  A waking dream is when someone wakes up in a dream, but isn’t actually awake. This type of dream can be scary or confusing.  A woman is more likely to have lucid dreams during pregnancy because she is waking so frequently.


Is It Normal To Have Strange Dreams While Pregnant?

It is totally normal to have weird dreams when you are pregnant.  Between the increased hormones, changes in your moods, and disruption to your sleep patterns, you will wake more frequently and remember more of your dreams when your pregnant.  Aside from the physiological changes that happen during pregnancy, your mind may be preoccupied with all kinds of new things. We often work things out in our dreams. 


Common Pregnancy Dreams


Dreams about your baby

Not surprisingly, dreaming about your baby is the most popular thing to dream about during pregnancy.  Sometimes they are pleasant dreams about the new baby; however, sometimes these dreams can be downright freaky.


  • Gender dreams - Dreaming about the sex of your baby may mean you are preoccupied with whether your baby is a boy or a girl. Sometimes women have instincts about their baby’s gender and their dreams are accurate, but don’t count on this.  A gender dream typically just means that your mind is thinking about what gender your baby might be.


  • Childbirth dreams - When a woman dreams about childbirth, it is her mind’s way of preparing for the big event. You may dream of a wacky birth experience like giving birth to a toddler, animal, alien, or an inanimate object.  All of these types of dreams indicate anxiety about having a baby or birth.  Dreams are often symbolic, dreaming about giving birth to a toddler could mean you are worried that you are not prepared for a baby.  Likewise, dreaming about giving birth to an alien could mean you are having uncertainty about your future life with your baby.


  • Nightmares about your baby - Sometimes women have nightmares about birth that are graphic and disturbing. It is natural for a mom to worry about her baby.  Nightmares about childbirth stem from worrying about your birth and your baby.


  • Dreams about losing your baby - In your dreams you might suddenly remember you are pregnant or have a baby. There you are shopping with your baby, and you walk off and leave her, only to realize later.  Oh no.  I forgot my baby!  This may be an unsettling dream to have, but it is dreamed about frequently during pregnancy.


  • Breastfeeding dreams - Interestingly, women who dream about breastfeeding can sometimes feel the sensation of breastfeeding.  This is your body and brain’s way of preparing for your baby. It’s an indication that you are subconsciously trying to nurture your baby while you sleep.breastfeeding dream

Dreams that someone else is pregnant  

Sometimes pregnant moms have dreams about a sister, friend or even their partner being pregnant.  When you dream about someone else being pregnant it may mean that you are feeling more closely connected to the person. dream about husband being pregnant

Anxiety dreams

Some of the dreams pregnant women have are related to the pregnancy, but anxiety dreams can be about any type of stress. 

  • Dreams about mice or snakes - Dreaming about mice can also mean that you have a lot of tiny little worries that are on your mind. Dreams about snakes can also be about fears, but snakes have several symbolic meanings in dreams.  A mom might dream about snakes when she is pregnant is because snakes can represent transformation.

  • Dreams about your teeth falling out - Having this dream usually means you are feeling stressed out. It can also mean that you are worried about your physical appearance during pregnancy.

  • Being trapped or underwater - The logical interpretation of this dream is that you are worried about feeling trapped either in your relationship or worried about life after baby. What will it be like? Similarly, being underwater may mean you feel overwhelmed. dreaming about drowning while pregnant


Sexual dreams

Women often have either a dramatic boost in their sex drive when they are pregnant or a dramatic decrease. Your hormones cause so many changes in your body, including more blood flow to your genitals, swollen breasts, and increased vaginal secretions. All of these physical sensations can lead to wild dreams about sex.  Some of them may surprise you. Why are you all of a sudden dreaming about other men, having sex in bizarre places, or even having sex with women?  Pregnancy dreams can be entertaining, but sexual dreams can sometimes make a woman feel insecure.  Don’t fret. It’s perfectly normal to have unusual sexual dreams when you are pregnant.  It is also not unheard of to have an orgasm in your sleep when you are pregnant.  What do these dreams mean?


  • Dreaming about having sex with someone else - Pregnant women sometimes dream about having sex with someone else, including a former lover. Dreams about sex with another man just means you have sexual urges that are playing out in your dreams.
  • Dreaming about sex with a woman - Even if you have never fantasized about a woman, you may find yourself having sexual dreams about women when you are pregnant. This dream doesn’t denote a change in your sexuality, but it can be due to having insecurities in your femininity.

  • Dreams about being naked - Almost everyone has dreamed about being naked. To dream about being naked generally means that you are feeling vulnerable in some way.dreaming about being naked while pregnant


What Can You Do About Pregnancy Dreams?

Some women enjoy all the extra dreams during pregnancy, but if your dreams are keeping you from sleeping there are some things you can do to help you sleep better. 

  • Start your bedtime routine early. Try to head to bed when you first start feeling sleepy. 
  • Avoid long naps during the day.
  • Exercise will relieve stress and help you sleep better.
  • Sleep in a dark room
  • Stop drinking fluids a couple hours before you go to bed. This may help cut down the bathroom trips at night.
  • Eat a light snack before bed.


When Will Pregnancy Dreams Stop?

You may have strange dreams through your whole pregnancy, but you might notice your pregnancy dreams tapering off by the third trimester.  This is in part because estrogen levels reach their peak sometime during the third trimester.  In addition, as you adjust mentally to being pregnant, the anxiety-related dreams may disappear. 


National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, Maternal representations in the dreams of pregnant women: a prospective comparative study, August 2013.

National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, Women's dreams reported during first pregnancy, 2001.

National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, The pregnancy-related dreams of pregnant women, 1993.

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  • Patricia Malowney
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