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What Are Pregnancy Dreams? Types, Causes And Tips To Avoid

Pregnancy dreams are referred to dreams (both pleasant and unpleasant) that come when women are pregnant. They can be worrisome as the frequency of dreams increase with the increase in gestational age, especially negatively toned dreams.

Dreams during pregnancy are prevalent in around 43 out of 50 women. As dreams are considered a part of healthy lives, the condition often gets ignored by medical experts, that later results in one or more psychological issues in women such as postpartum depression. [1] Continue reading to know more about pregnancy dreams, its causes and other relevant details.

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What Are Pregnancy Dreams?

Pregnancy is characterised by a change in physical, hormonal and psychological levels. As the gestation period increases, sleep disorders such as snoring, poor sleep quality and restless leg syndrome get common. When the sleep pattern gets disturbed, the dreaming gets affected that leads to pregnancy dreams.

There are multiple forms of dreams that occur during pregnancy. Most of them are related to the future baby's characteristics such as gender, face type or body's anatomy. [2] The hypothesis behind these dreams states that we see dreams of topics that had happened or somewhat relevant to our waking-lives. The interesting part is, even expected fathers have experienced pregnancy dreams.

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Types Of Pregnancy Dreams

Dreams are regarded as a healthy part of sleep. However, women notice changes in their frequency and type of dreams when they are pregnant. Pregnancy dreams are common in women during the third trimester. Here are some of the types of pregnancy dreams.

1. Extreme vivid dreams

Vivid or lucid dreams are dreams in which the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming. During pregnancy, the intensity of vivid dreams hikes up and fills the person with intense emotions, as if they are seeing them in real life.

2. Anxiety dreams

Pregnancy is not only filled with excitement but also with anxieties about the new phase of life. Anxieties can be due to multiple factors such as finance, workload, labour and delivery. All these anxieties may end up becoming a part of your dreams.

3. Disturbing dreams

It can be due to pregnancy-related worries such as fear of child loss due to previous experience, giving birth to a deformed baby or any danger to the foetus. [3]

4. Frequent dreams

Fatigue is a common symptom of pregnancy. This causes women to sleep or nap for many hours a day, thus increasing the frequency of dreams.

5. Happy dreams

This can be due to the first experience of becoming a mother. It occurs due to the excitement and happiness of being pregnant.

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Causes Of Pregnancy Dreams

Pregnancy is a phase of life in which there's a rush of hormones inside the body. Also, maternal mental representations (MMR) undergoes remodelling (connection building between the mother and the child).

Dreaming is sometimes characterised as a mental activity that occurs as a response to new emotion-evoking situations which requires adaptation. They are believed to connect the emotional experience of pregnant women with her self-relevant memories.

Though we mainly blame the hormones for pregnancy dreams, there are many other factors (all emotional, physical and mental) that impact our REM cycle and cause dreams. Future insights can give a better understanding of various other causes of pregnancy dreams. [4]

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Can Dreaming During Pregnancy Predict Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression or PPD is a condition characterised by emotional disturbances in around 20 per cent of childbearing women. A study has shown that pregnancy dreams can differentiate between women who are, and who are not at increased risk of postpartum depression.

The study was based on interviews of women in the last trimester of their first pregnancies and then, 6-10 weeks after the delivery. The study concluded that disturbing dreams or nightmares were reported by women who do not develop PPD later, compared to those who didn't have these dreams but had developed PPD later. [5]

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Another study suggests that postpartum recurrence of depression during late pregnancy or after delivery can be due to previous episodes of depression. [6]

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Tips To Avoid Bad Pregnancy Dreams

  • Talk about dreams with your family members or friends. Opening about your dreams can reduce your concern to a great extent.
  • Focus on positive things in your life. This will induce positivity inside you.
  • Improve your sleep quality by keeping the room dark, quiet and at normal temperature.
  • Frequent urination during pregnancy can disrupt sleep during nights. Avoid filling your bladder with too much water during the nighttime.
  • Avoid long naps during the day.
  • Meditate or perform prenatal yoga.
  • Read a book or a take hot bath as they help you relax and get you better sleep.

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To Conclude

As aforementioned, pregnancy dreams can be normal. But if you notice anxieties or distress accompanying your dreams or there's some degradation in your quality of life, concern a medical expert or counsellor soon as it can be due to some underlying conditions.

Story first published: Tuesday, October 20, 2020, 20:06 [IST]