When you are pregnant, almost everything in life feels more intense. From your hunger and cravings to your aches and pains, pregnancy makes everything so extra. One thing you may not have expected however, was seeing a dramatic change in the way you dream. Pregnancy dreams are actually a thing and they’re just as over-the-top as every other aspect of pregnancy. If you’ve been having terrifying dreams about your baby, understandably, you may feel a little anxious. You may have a hard time deciphering, so here’s what pregnancy dreams about something wrong with your baby actually mean.
To get a little insight and perspective, Romper reached out to licensed psychoanalyst and dream expert Anne Cutler, who says that while every person’s situation is different, in general, most negative dreams or nightmares are fueled by anxiety. “I would imagine that a pregnant woman who is having a negative image about her pregnancy or fetus is possibly reflecting some specific worry about her unborn baby or about how she'll be as a mother," she explains.
But Cutler says that in order to effectively analyze a pregnancy dream, she would need to talk to the mom about what is going on in her life. “The way I typically work with dreams is to have the ability to talk with the dreamer about the entire dream,” explains Cutler, “and discuss her associations to the elements of the dream as well as to the recent context of her life.” She says that it is also important to consider what has been happening in the dreamer’s life, and to factor in what concerns have been on her mind in the days leading up to the dream. “So, absent those elements,” she notes, “I can only contribute the vaguest of generalizations.”
Many people can relate to having had at least one anxiety fueled dream in their life, but during pregnancy, dreams tend to feel so much more intense. While there is no definitive reason as to why women have such vivid dreams during pregnancy, there is some speculation as to why it happens. According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), it could be due to the fluctuation in hormones during pregnancy. These hormonal changes, the organization noted, can cause you to be more emotional and anxious in general, and that anxiety could add to the intensity of your dreams. It’s not uncommon to dream about things that are constantly on your mind, so when you are pregnant, you dream about what you think and worry about the most — your baby.
Your changing sleep patterns could also be to blame. The APA suggested that when you are pregnant, whether it’s due to getting up to pee frequently through the night or because you are tossing and turning to get comfortable, you don’t enter deep (REM) sleep and your dream state becomes inconsistent. This could lead you to see short vivid dreams, or maybe even cause you to remember them being a little more intense, the article explained. And if you think about it, when you are tired and lacking sleep, you can end up more stressed out. This fatigue and stress could also induce anxiety and worry, possibly finding its way into your dreams.
Luckily, a dream is a dream, and not reality. What is real is your anxiety and fears, and I think that's just a normal part of motherhood in general. When you are pregnant, your whole life becomes consumed with new found responsibility, and this sentiment can be translated in some weird, irrational ways when you dream. You can try to analyze and interpret your dreams, and if you are superstitious, you may even heed some warning from them. If you are concerned about your baby’s health, you should discuss your worries with your OB-GYN. Hopefully, some reassurance from your doctor will ease the anxiety you’re feeling, because all that matters in the end is that you and your baby are healthy and happy.
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.