When you're pregnant, there's no shortage of new and unusual experiences: intense and odd cravings, unexpected body changes, strange brain warps, and overwhelming emotions among so much more. What you might not realize is that your sleep and dreams might change, too. Pregnant women claim to have very vivid and unique dreams that they all of a sudden remember, and some of the subject matter seems to be shared amongst a number of women. For instance, many women have pregnancy dreams about twins, but is it more than just an overactive imagination?
According to Babble, dreaming about twins does not necessarily mean you are pregnant with twins (though if you are pregnant with twins, that's the likely explanation for dreaming about them). Actually, dreaming about twins can simply be the exploration of meeting your child who, in dream-speak, is pictured as your other half. Pretty awesome, right? Your pregnant mind, being consumed by the thoughts that surround pregnancy and impending motherhood, is uncovering layers of your emotions surrounding this huge life change in its truest subconscious state.
Whacky, seemingly strange dreams seem to be a common pregnancy occurrence, and though researchers don't really know why this is, there's a few theories as to what's going on in your pregnant mind.
As noted by Parents, when you're pregnant, your body goes through a number of intense hormonal changes. The intensity of your emotions (even when you're sleeping) and your dreams could be a result of these fluctuating hormones.
But, the more reliable explanation has to do with how your sleep changes when you're pregnant. Pregnant women tend to wake more throughout the night (because you're physically uncomfortable or, probably, because you need to pee), and this results in a lot less deep sleep and a lot more REM sleep. REM sleep is where your dreams take place. If you're experiencing more REM sleep and waking during (or just after) REM sleep, you have a better chance of remembering your dreams, which makes them seem all the more vivid and wild.
As Parents mentioned, your dreams are likely, in some way, a reflection of your thoughts and emotions surrounding welcoming a new a baby into your world. Pregnancy dreams have been hypothesized to be one of the ways your unconscious mind processes information and attempts to solve problems, according to the American Pregnancy Association. When you're pregnant, you might experience a lot more stress, anxiety, or feelings of overwhelming anticipation, which could lead to more intense dreams and even nightmares.
There's not much you can do about pregnancy dreams, though. If they're tolerable, but just more vivid or frequent, trying to enhance your sleep quality could help. Though night wakings are pretty much inevitable, reducing liquid intake in the evening, getting quality pillows, and limiting screen time at night can all help to improve your sleep quality.
If your pregnancy dreams are more nightmarish or distressing, journaling them in a notebook can help you analyze them and address their meanings. If you're feeling exceptionally anxious and stressed out, meeting with a therapist to unload and gain perspective can greatly improve your mental clarity and ability to cope. Pregnancy is a big thing, and there is never any shame in getting all of the support you need.
As The Cut mentioned, if your dreams are surrounding fears around practical things — like not having your car seat installed on time — make a timeline and a plan to get it done. Addressing your worries in a practical manner, one at a time, will help ease your stress and worry.
Being pregnant and everything that it means and encompasses is often a lot for one person to manage. Seeking support from your people and checking things off of your to-do list can help you feel more in control during a very a very uncontrollable period of your life. Hopefully then, your dreams will follow suit.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.