Scary, strange and freakishly vivid dreams are quite common in pregnancy, especially during the second trimester. But what do they mean? And when should you worry?
A clinical psychologist breaks down some of the most common (and concerning) dreams women have during pregnancy and uncovers a strange link between dreams and labour.
Dreaming During Pregnancy
Waking up in a cold sweat? Having trouble distinguishing between dreams and reality? Relax. It’s all part of the pregnancy journey.
Hormonal changes interrupt sleep and, during pregnancy, dreams can be more disturbing and more memorable. While pregnant women won’t necessarily dream more than non-pregnant woman, they do report having more nightmares.
However, it’s not all bad news for pregnant women. A recent study suggests that nightmares actually indicate that you could experience shorter, less complicated labour. So bring on the bad dreams!
What Your Dreams Really Mean
Ian Wallace, a psychologist in Edinburgh, Scotland, and author of “The Top 100 Dreams: The Dreams That We All Have and What They Really Mean,” explains that dreams are “the ultimate self portrait of who you are, what you need and what you believe in that point in your life.”
Here are the most common ones pregnant mothers experience.
Having sex and conceiving a baby
Constantly dreaming about sex and conceiving a baby can represent creativity.
“You want to nurture and develop that seed of the idea into something wonderful and unique,” Wallace said.
Travelling and mode of transportation
Whether you walk, run, fly or drive all mean different things. Dreaming about walking means you plan on taking pregnancy step by step. Running? This indicates that you’ve already been pregnant before and know this journey well.
If you drive, it suggests that you have personal or professional ambitions that you want to achieve while flying indicates that you have clear ideas on how you will raise your child.
Predicting your baby’s gender
Sorry, but dreaming that you have a little boy doesn’t necessarily mean that you are carrying a boy (Check out these old wives’ tales on how to predict bub’s gender instead). Dreams about the gender of your infant usually have more to do with yourself than your baby. Dreaming about a little girl could suggest your desire to be more emphatic or creative while dreaming about a little boy could indicate your need to be more assertive or focused.
Giving birth to an animal
Dreaming about giving birth to an animal or an inanimate object is actually incredibly common. And while it can be a rude awakening and may leave you thinking you are going to end up giving birth to a strange creature, this isn’t the case at all.
These dreams simply indicate that your mind is getting used to the idea of providing unconditional love and affection, and receiving it from your child.
Being submerged in water
Particularly common during the first trimester, water-related dreams usually express our emotions and feelings. Feeling absorbed by a tidal wave, for example, could suggest that you are feeling a lot of stress or pressure. Murky water can indicate uncertainty.
Physically harming your baby
Another incredibly scary dream that many mothers have admitted to is physically harming their infant. The good news is that this dream doesn’t indicate that you have a plan to hurt bub or that you ever will. It simply means that you might be feeling a bit of stress about finding the time to devote to your new baby, a completely normal concern for all mothers.
Having dreams like this can actually help mums-to-be clear their heads and overcome these internal conflicts in a healthy way.
Forgetting your baby
Forgetting your baby symbolises what you will be giving up to become a mother. This could be your career, your body or sense of freedom. It has nothing to do with your ability as a mum and, again, is just another way for your mind to come to terms with the massive changes that are ahead.
Dying or witnessing a death
One of the most awful nightmares to have, and one to which many women admit to dreaming, is that they or their child has died. The good news is that dreaming about death isn’t a premonition and does not represent the idea that you will not be a good mum. It does, however, suggest that you have unfinished business – a goal you did not achieve, a problem you did not solve.
“There is some situation, something very close to their heart that seems to be in danger in some way,” Wallace said.
While all of these dreams can seem troubling, the good news is they are not. Dreaming is simply one way our body is preparing our mind for what’s to come. They are designed to recapture balance in our emotional lives and provide a safe haven for our minds to release worries, express our true feelings and come to a sense of understanding and calmness.
So, regardless of how many times you drop your baby in your dreams or how many creepy animals you give birth to, just remember, it’s completely normal and is in no way a reflection of your unborn child or yourself as a mother.