During pregnancy, many women report having vivid dreams, and more of them. It is thought that increased estrogen and progesterone, or other hormone shifts, could affect dreams. Also, we remember our dreams best when we shift out of REM sleep into lighter sleep and then wake up, in a short cycle. Pregnant women wake up frequently during the night, whether it be due to cramps, general discomfort, or needing the toilet; it may not be that you’re dreaming more but remembering more of them.
Dreams can often be symbolic of something we’re thinking or feeling subconsciously. During pregnancy, it’s normal to have all sorts of mood shifts from excitement, to anxiety, to giddiness, to fear. Your dreams may be reflecting some of the new feelings you’re experiencing.
Certain symbols may seem to pop up more often in pregnant women’s dreams. The following list covers some common symbols and potential interpretations. Remember that dreams are open to interpretation; what you read here aren’t facts, just possible reasons you’re dreaming the way you’re dreaming. If you have dreams about things not on this list, don’t worry – there’s no wrong way to dream!
- Aliens – Dreams about giving birth to aliens could reflect a feeling of having a foreign entity in your body. This doesn’t mean you aren’t happy to be pregnant – it just means growing a person in your womb might feel a bit surreal sometimes!
- Animals – Dreams of giving birth to animals could be a ‘trial run’ in your brain for real delivery. Animals are also small, cute, and need taking care of, but are a less intense responsibility than a newborn.
- Falling – Indicative of fear and uncertainty.
- Twins – Could symbolize anxiety around the multiple new challenges of parenting (or the idea of actually having twins!)
- Water-Water is a big part of pregnancy: amniotic fluid, water breaking, all those toilet trips. You’re probably thinking about it a lot. Water can also symbolize cleansing, birth, and new life.
Scary or strange dreams do not mean you’re not ready to be a parent – they are just dreams. The brain is capable of all sorts of amazing things, and we don’t know precisely why we dream. Let your subconscious run wild, and don’t hold any unusual imagery against yourself.
If you have bad dreams and it’s affecting your sleep or mental health, chat to your GP or therapist about it. You might want to develop some relaxation strategies for nighttime, like breathing or meditation. Try talking to your loved ones about the dreams you remember. Sometimes sharing the story, or even hearing yourself articulate it out loud, will help you remember a dream is just a dream!