Dreaming and Pregnancy

Pregnant women have been found to experience many more dreams than do women who are not pregnant, and this is particularly interesting when you consider the fact that overall, pregnant women tend to get much less sleep. Pregnancy makes women tired but also introduces a great deal of stress and discomfort, particularly during the third trimester when the body’s burden exacts a toll and it is difficult to find a comfortable position in which to sleep. The baby’s kicking can actually wake the mother from a sound sleep, which becomes increasingly rare due to worries about the upcoming responsibility they are facing. Nonetheless, pregnant women not only dream a lot but they tend to remember their dreams more clearly then before or after their pregnancy. There are a number of very common dreams that pregnant women tend to have. They frequently dream of baby animals, such as kittens or puppies, that can be cuddled, played with and cared for. Just as frequently the animal in the dream is more representative of what their developing fetus may actually look like – some sort of lizard or tadpole – and many women report dreaming of turtles. Women often report dreams in which their own mother and memories of their childhood play a large role. This makes a great deal of sense, as a pregnant woman often uses her own childhood experiences upon which to model (or contrast) her own mothering style. Dreams of water, whether being in a boat, swimming or floating, are very common and are thought to be rooted in the pregnant woman’s concentration on her baby, floating in its amniotic fluid. Others often dream of houses, buildings and boxes – again, all a part of the idea of the womb, or even of a nest or the home that the baby will make complete. Despite all of the hope and joy that a pregnancy can bring, it is also a time of tremendous worry and stress because so much is unknown and out of the pregnant woman’s control. Fear that something will go wrong with the pregnancy, that the labor will be painful or complicated or that something will be wrong with the baby can lead to very distressing dreams. About 70 percent of pregnancy dreams are upsetting, and about half of those are described as being nightmares in which the woman, somebody she cares about or her baby are at risk. Sometimes these dreams are populated by hostile, violent people while at other times they are rife with natural disasters or sad events such as funerals or illnesses. As is the case with all types of people in all types of physical or mental conditions, it is while we are asleep and dreaming that our subconscious gives voice to the emotions that are taking up most of our thought processes. It is no surprise that fears and hopes are both expressed in the dreams of pregnant women, as there is so much to hope for and so much uncertainty.