Is It Normal to Have Strange Dreams in Pregnancy? (2023)

Pregnancy dreams are known for being a bit odd. Some expectant parents dream about seemingly silly things, while others dream about their worries, like leaving the baby in a strange or dangerous place. There also can be an uncomfortable moment of adjusting to reality when you wake up and wonder if your dream really happened.

A variety of factors affect what we dream about and how well we recall our dreams. While strange dreams can be confusing and even disturbing at times, know that they are quite common when you're pregnant.

Causes of Unusual Dreams in Pregnancy

Emotions, hormonal changes, and sleep disturbances all contribute to the weird dreams that pregnant people—and their partners—often experience. Here's a closer look at the common causes of unusual dreams.

Emotions

Dreams are influenced by the events in our lives, especially emotional ones that cause us to reshape how we think of ourselves and significant others. Pregnancy is definitely an emotional time for many people, and not just those in their first pregnancy.

With each new child comes a transition period when parents must mentally, emotionally, and physically prepare to welcome a new person into their lives. Pregnancy can be a time of great joy, anxiety, stress, and and even fear; feeling all of these emotions (even at the same time) is completely normal.

It isn't surprising that during pregnancy many expectant parents (both mothers and fathers) experience vivid and unusual dreams. Studies show that in the last trimester, expectant parents experience more frightening and worried thoughts about themselves and their unborn baby.

These thoughts reach their most graphic at about the seventh month and then decline until the baby's birth. Researchers suspect this is the parent's mind "undoing" their mental image of the baby in order to prepare for the real version.

A 2014 study found that pregnant women in their third trimester had significantly more bad dreams and nightmares than non-pregnant women.

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Hormones

Hormonal changes play a role in both dreams and sleep quality during pregnancy. Progesterone, for example, causes more nighttime awakenings and longer time awake during the night in pregnant women.

In addition, pregnancy hormones affect the type and intensity of emotions, as well as how we process them. This, in turn, can affect our dreams.

Sleep Disturbances

Keep in mind that it's also very common to have poor-quality sleep when you're expecting a baby. A 2021 meta-analysis of over 15,500 pregnant women found that 25-39% experienced insomnia, with the higher number representing those in their third trimester.

(Video) Is It Normal to Have Pregnancy Nightmares? | This Morning

Frequent awakenings mean that you are more likely to wake up during or just after a period of REM sleep, which is when dreams happen. This can make your dreams seem more real or intense. They also may appear more frequent or life-like because they are easier to recall.

Common Types of Pregnancy Dreams

Pregnancy-related dreams tend to contain more negative elements (fear, danger, pain, threats, and conflict) than the dreams of non-pregnant people. These dreams also increase in frequency as the pregnancy progresses.

Some common themes in dreams of pregnancy include:

  • Cheating (either by you or your partner): This can be a symbol that you are wanting reassurance of your partner's support and help. It may also be a reflection of your concerns about the ways your body is changing.
  • Conflict with your partner: Worries about how a baby will change your relationship with your partner may come up in unsettling dreams about arguments or other disagreements.
  • Danger or injury to your baby or you: This may be your mind's way of working out the real-life fears you have about pregnancy and birth.
  • Details of your or your baby's body: This can be a sign that you are mentally preparing to meet your child in-person.
  • Difficulty during labor and delivery: Anxieties or fears about giving birth may lead to delivery-related dreams.
  • Losing your partner: Worries about parenthood and its added responsibilities can manifest as dreams of being alone.
  • Pregnancy: This theme is most common in the dreams of first-time parents.
  • Your adequacy as a parent: This type of dream is also particularly common among first-time parents, who are entering uncharted territory as they prepare to care for and raise a child.
  • Your identity as a parent: You may be ambivalent about becoming a parent or unsure of how your identity will change as a result. Your mind can work through these feelings with dreams.
  • Your new child's gender: This is another way that your mind anticipates the arrival of your little one.

Your dreams might be so vivid and unsettling that you would consider them nightmares, and even these are not uncommon. Studies show that up to half of pregnant women experience nightmares, so you are definitely not alone.

However, pregnant people having nightmares are also more likely to be experiencing stress during the daytime.

If you are having nightmares often (once a week or more), it's worth taking a look at your stress level. Think about ways to lessen your load, and talk to your partner and/or doctor about any concerns you have about parenthood or other changes in your life.

Functions of Dreams

The mind is an amazing—and somewhat elusive—part of the human body. It's hard at work dreaming and forming mental connections even while you're fast asleep.

Studies suggest that dreams in pregnancy have several important functions. One is to help you psychologically prepare for childbirth, often by dreaming (especially in the third trimester) about labor and delivery.

This is your mind's way of "trying out" the unknown to prepare you for the real-life experience of giving birth, which will probably be unlike anything you've encountered before.

By linking recent emotional events to past memories, dreams serve as a way for our minds to reach a healthy balance between what has happened in the past, how we are emotionally processing current events, and the ways we're preparing ourselves for impending change.

Researchers think dreams also help us to work through the emotions (both positive and negative) that come with a massive life change such as pregnancy and having a child.

Far from being a disturbing or harmful occurrence, unusual pregnancy dreams are your body's way of restructuring how you see yourself and other significant people in your life, including your new child.

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How to Cope

While strange dreams are a completely normal part of pregnancy, if they are worrisome or affect the quality or quantity of your sleep, here are a few coping strategies:

  • Keep a regular bedtime routine: This may include a warm bath with relaxing music, reading before turning out the lights, or anything else that helps you wind down. Doing the same thing night after night helps your body prepare for sleep.
  • Hit the bathroom before bed: Getting up frequently to urinate is a common complaint during pregnancy. Holding off on liquids and emptying your bladder before going to sleep will lessen the chance that you'll need to get up during the night.
  • Talk to your partner: Sharing your weird dreams with your significant other can open up a conversation about the hopes, fears, and thoughts both of you are having about the birth of your baby.
  • Try a pregnancy pillow: Created in all shapes and sizes, pregnancy pillows provide support wherever your body needs it, allowing you to find the most comfortable sleeping position.
  • Turn down the lights: As with a bedtime routine, toning down the evening lighting in your home signals to your body that the day is over and it's time to relax.
  • Turn off screens at least 2 hours before you go to bed: The blue light from TV, computers, phones, and other devices can interfere with sleep.
  • Write our your fears and concerns: Journaling can help you process your emotions and thoughts about parenthood during the day, essentially working through the same emotions consciously that your mind works through unconsciously while dreaming.

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A Word From Verywell

If you are having some unusual dreams during your pregnancy, even ones that are unlike any thoughts or dreams you've had before, know that you are in good company. Strange pregnancy dreams are completely normal.

They are simply a sign that your mind is drawing important connections as you get used to the idea of welcoming your new child into the world. Know that as your due date approaches, your dreams will gradually return to normal.

If you are worried and/or your dreams are affecting your sleep quality, talk to your doctor about your concerns.

5 Sources

(Video) Vivid Pregnancy Dreams || Crazy Pregnancy Dreams

Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Lara-carrasco J, Simard V, Saint-onge K, Lamoureux-tremblay V, Nielsen T. Maternal representations in the dreams of pregnant women: a prospective comparative study. Front Psychol. 2013;4:551. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00551

  2. Lara-Carrascoa J, Simard V, Saint-Onge K, Lamoureux-Tremblay V, Nielsen T. Disturbed dreaming during the third trimester of pregnancy. Sleep Medicine. 2014;15(6):694-700. doi:10.1016/j.sleep.2014.01.026

  3. Hashmi AM, Bhatia SK, Bhatia SK, Khawaja IS. Insomnia during pregnancy: diagnosis and rational interventions. Pak J Med Sci. 2016;32(4):1030-1037. doi:10.12669/pjms.324.10421

  4. Sedov ID, Anderson NJ, Dhillon AK, Tomfohr-Madsen LM. Insomnia symptoms during pregnancy: A meta-analysis. J Sleep Res. 2021;30(1):e13207.doi:10.1111/jsr.13207

  5. Schredl M, Gilles M, Wolf I, et al. Nightmare frequency in last trimester of pregnancy. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. 2016;16(1):346. doi:10.1186/s12884-016-1147-x

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(Video) Why Do I Have Nightmares During Pregnancy?

FAQs

What causes strange dreams in pregnancy? ›

You'll find during pregnancy that your hormones may impact your emotions and your anxiety. They will also impact the way your brain processes information and emotions, possibly resulting in more vivid and frequent dreams while you are pregnant. Another cause is the disruption in your normal sleep pattern.

Are strange dreams common during pregnancy? ›

Bottom line: Dreaming is a normal, healthy part of sleep. But during pregnancy, you may notice a difference in the frequency and types of dreams you have. It's not uncommon to remember more of your dreams, experience more vivid dreams, and even struggle with nightmares.

When do weird pregnancy dreams start? ›

That said, many moms find pregnancy dreams and daydreams peak during the third trimester as sleep is more disrupted and they increasingly find themselves imagining what life with a new baby will be like.

How can I stop nightmares during pregnancy? ›

How to prevent it? As per the National Sleep Foundation, there are certain ways to help pregnant women sleep better, which in turn help in reducing the episodes of strange dreams. - Stay hydrated all through the day and avoid drinking a lot of water before going to bed.

How can I sleep with my husband during pregnancy? ›

  1. Side-lying positions: Lying on your side is often the most comfortable, whether you're facing front-to-front or front-to-back. ...
  2. Pregnant partner on top: This position doesn't put any pressure on your belly, and as an added bonus, it lets you be in control of both penetration depth and clitoral stimulation.
13 Aug 2021

What does a miscarriage dream mean? ›

A miscarriage in dreams suggests a major life change for something good or bad. The dream reminds you to look for changes coming your way and to accept it as it is. The miscarriage symbolizes a transition that may cause immense emotional suffering and pain that you need to accept and embrace for fulfilled living.

Do hormones affect dreams? ›

Oestrogen hormone

Its level fluctuates during the female menstrual cycle and has a side effect on sleep quality, generating vivid dreams or nightmares. In addition, the symptoms such as hot flushes during the night disturbs your sleep and mood swings may cause difficulty unwinding before bed.

What does it mean to be pregnant with a boy in a dream? ›

Dreaming about giving birth to a little boy usually symbolizes great success in the future and a long period of happiness. A baby boy is considered to be a sign of spiritual growth and success in every field of life, including career, love, and family.

What hormone causes vivid dreams in pregnancy? ›

Hormonal changes—specifically, progesterone and estrogen surges—also contribute to weird dreams. And don't forget about your constant nighttime awakenings to run to the bathroom. Dreams come during deep REM sleep, and when you wake during this stage, it's much easier to remember those vivid visions.

What are common early pregnancy dreams? ›

Dreams During Pregnancy: First Trimester

Such dreams include: Giving birth to baby animals, think puppies, kittens, or bunnies (cute, but yikes!) Giving birth to a toddler – or full grown adult (ouch!) Swimming, being surrounded by, or floating on, water (feeling your baby moving in amniotic fluid)

What causes weird dreams? ›

If you are having weird dreams, it may be due to stress, anxiety, or sleep deprivation. To stop having weird dreams, try managing stress levels and sticking to a sleep routine. If you wake up from a weird dream, use deep breathing or a relaxing activity to fall back asleep.

Can dads have pregnancy dreams? ›

Could I be anticipating fatherhood? As an expectant parent, you're likely to anticipate the birth of your child in your dreams, just as your pregnant partner does. You may even dream of finding babies or being given them, sometimes during elaborate ceremonies or rites.

What positions should be avoided during pregnancy? ›

It's best to avoid lying on your back, especially in late pregnancy, when the weight of the heavy uterus can press on the large blood vessels in your belly. When lying on your side, keep your body in line, with your knees bent slightly, and avoid twisting.

What weeks are the highest risk for miscarriage? ›

Most miscarriages happen in the first trimester before the 12th week of pregnancy. Miscarriage in the second trimester (between 13 and 19 weeks) happens in 1 to 5 in 100 (1 to 5 percent) pregnancies. As many as half of all pregnancies may end in miscarriage.

What does it mean to dream about losing a baby? ›

Losing a baby can also be a sign that you have lost your innocence, and perhaps some of the trusting qualities you had. You may feel you have to “toughen up and grow up” to prevent future hurt or loss. There may be a sense of mourning and letting go with this dream.

What does it mean to dream about giving birth? ›

The most common meanings behind a dream about giving birth are to do with new beginnings, creativity and prosperity. This dream symbolises that something exciting is coming your way and you're ready to embark on a new phase of your waking life.

What hormone controls sleep? ›

Melatonin plays an important role in regulating human sleep.

Is vivid dreams a PMS symptom? ›

Sleep Disturbances Are a Symptom of PMS

“This is likely because of the falling levels of estrogen and progesterone,” she explained, “and the insomnia can be accompanied by vivid dreams and even nightmares.” (For the record, she's had several patients call her to ask if wild dreams before their periods was normal.)

What are the side effect of progesterone? ›

Commonly reported side effects of progesterone include: abdominal cramps, depression, dizziness, and headache. Other side effects include: anxiety, cough, diarrhea, fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, nausea, bloating, emotional lability, and irritability. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

What does it mean to dream of having a baby girl? ›

Dreaming about having a baby girl symbolizes an idea, or creative process taking shape in real life. This dream is a positive sign of new beginning, purity, progress, and prosperity. The dreams also highlight the soft and fragile nature of the dreamer.

When you dream about someone are they thinking of you? ›

While dreaming about someone usually means they are thinking of you, dreaming of the same person over and over again could also mean that they have thought of you so much that when you dream about them, it's just another instance where that thought enters your head.

What do dreams represent? ›

Although it is hard to say what dreams consist of, it is accepted that dreams represent a collection of emotions, ideas, thoughts, events, places, and symbols that are relevant to the dreamer indirectly.

What foods give you weird dreams? ›

BedMD: Foods That May Give You Nightmares
  • Cheese. Of the 68 participants who indicated that their dreams were affected by eating certain foods, 12.5 percent blamed it on cheese. ...
  • Pasta. Don't tell your nonna — ragus, ziti and other such dishes nabbed 12.5 percent. ...
  • Meat. ...
  • Pizza. ...
  • Spicy Foods. ...
  • Pickles. ...
  • Milk. ...
  • Sugar, Sweets and Candy.

Why do I remember my dreams so vividly? ›

Sleep disruptions: Vivid dreams that linger with you or feel indistinguishable from real life may be the result of fragmented sleep. Waking during a period of REM sleep rather than at the end of a sleep cycle can cause you to remember your dreams more vividly.

Why did my dream feel so real? ›

Dreams feel real because we use the same brain to process them! Parts of the brain that process “real” sensory information in wakefulness are active in REM sleep. The more rational parts of our brain only switch on in wakefulness. This is why dreams play out like any “real” experience!

What does it mean to be pregnant with a boy in a dream? ›

Dreaming about giving birth to a little boy usually symbolizes great success in the future and a long period of happiness. A baby boy is considered to be a sign of spiritual growth and success in every field of life, including career, love, and family.

What does a weird dream mean? ›

If you are having weird dreams, it may be due to stress, anxiety, or sleep deprivation. To stop having weird dreams, try managing stress levels and sticking to a sleep routine. If you wake up from a weird dream, use deep breathing or a relaxing activity to fall back asleep.

Why do I keep having dreams about my boyfriend cheating on me while pregnant? ›

Common Types of Pregnancy Dreams

Some common themes in dreams of pregnancy include: Cheating (either by you or your partner): This can be a symbol that you are wanting reassurance of your partner's support and help. It may also be a reflection of your concerns about the ways your body is changing.

What does a miscarriage dream mean? ›

A miscarriage in dreams suggests a major life change for something good or bad. The dream reminds you to look for changes coming your way and to accept it as it is. The miscarriage symbolizes a transition that may cause immense emotional suffering and pain that you need to accept and embrace for fulfilled living.

What does it mean to dream of having a baby girl? ›

Dreaming about having a baby girl symbolizes an idea, or creative process taking shape in real life. This dream is a positive sign of new beginning, purity, progress, and prosperity. The dreams also highlight the soft and fragile nature of the dreamer.

What do babies represent in dreams? ›

“Usually baby dreams are a really positive sign that represent growth or development, either with you personally or with something that you're working on,” Loewenberg says. “It's a messge from your subconscious saying this new thing is great, it's time to focus and nurture it. It's time to get busy.”

What is the meaning of dreaming giving birth to a baby girl? ›

Dreaming about giving birth to a baby girl can symbolise celebrating your feminine qualities and internal beauty. It may also be a sign of financial fortune, luck and good health.

What are the 3 types of dreams? ›

Types of Dreams: A Mini Series Part 3
  • 1) Daydream – Daydreaming is classified as a level of consciousness between sleep and wakefulness. ...
  • 2) False Awakening Dreams – I know this has happened to me several times in the morning. ...
  • 3) Lucid Dreams – Lucid dreams occur when you realize you are dreaming.
21 Jun 2013

Why are my dreams so vivid and weird? ›

What Causes Vivid Dreams? The two main stages of sleep are rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM sleep. Although dreaming can take place during both REM sleep and non-REM sleep, dreams experienced during REM sleep tend to be more vivid.

What foods give you weird dreams? ›

BedMD: Foods That May Give You Nightmares
  • Cheese. Of the 68 participants who indicated that their dreams were affected by eating certain foods, 12.5 percent blamed it on cheese. ...
  • Pasta. Don't tell your nonna — ragus, ziti and other such dishes nabbed 12.5 percent. ...
  • Meat. ...
  • Pizza. ...
  • Spicy Foods. ...
  • Pickles. ...
  • Milk. ...
  • Sugar, Sweets and Candy.

Can dads have pregnancy dreams? ›

Could I be anticipating fatherhood? As an expectant parent, you're likely to anticipate the birth of your child in your dreams, just as your pregnant partner does. You may even dream of finding babies or being given them, sometimes during elaborate ceremonies or rites.

What does it mean if you dream a lot? ›

In addition to stress and anxiety, other mental health conditions, such as depression and schizophrenia, are associated with vivid dreams. Physical illnesses, like heart disease and cancer, have also been associated with vivid dreams.

Why do I keep having dreams of my significant other cheating on me? ›

If an ex cheated on you in the past, these dreams may indicate that you're afraid your current partner will do the same. “It is normal to have dreams based on fear and anxiety from negative past experiences that we don't want to reoccur,” Katie Ziskind, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle.

What weeks are the highest risk for miscarriage? ›

Most miscarriages happen in the first trimester before the 12th week of pregnancy. Miscarriage in the second trimester (between 13 and 19 weeks) happens in 1 to 5 in 100 (1 to 5 percent) pregnancies. As many as half of all pregnancies may end in miscarriage.

What does it mean to dream about losing a baby? ›

Losing a baby can also be a sign that you have lost your innocence, and perhaps some of the trusting qualities you had. You may feel you have to “toughen up and grow up” to prevent future hurt or loss. There may be a sense of mourning and letting go with this dream.

What does it mean when you see blood in your dream? ›

Sometimes dreaming of blood indicates guilt and remorse. Blood symbolizes life force, energy, and vitality. Seeing a bad cut from where blood is oozing or dripping out may indicate loss of energy. Since blood is a lifesaving fluid, losing it means you are feeling guilty of something in your waking life.

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