During pregnancy, it’s common to have vivid, strange dreams and frightening nightmares that wake you up in a cold sweat.
Although pregnant women don’t have more dreams than those who are not, they do report more nightmares, according to a study in the journal Sleep Medicine.
Since hormonal changes interrupt sleep, dreams can be more disturbing and also more memorable because of the frequent awakenings, said Jessica Lara-Carrasco, PhD, a clinical psychologist in Montreal, Canada and lead author of the study.
Due to all the changes and stress women experience during pregnancy, the dream content itself also tends to be more strange.
“She has a lot of imagery during the day thinking about how she will be as a mother,” Lara-Carrasco said. “Dreams are more impactful maybe because women are more aware of the changes and stress about future.”
The good news is that dreams aren’t premonitions and pregnant women who have nightmares may actually have shorter labors, according to a study in the journal Psychiatry Research.
Here, read on for nine of the most common strange pregnancy dreams and what they actually mean.
Dreams don’t just happen to us, we actually create them.
“The dream is like the ultimate selfie,” said 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,” and “The Complete A to Z Dictionary of Dreams: Be Your Own Dream Expert.”
“It’s the ultimate self portrait of who you are, what you need and what you believe in that point in your life,” he said.
Dreaming about water is particularly common during the first trimester as the amniotic sac fills up with fluid.
“Anytime we create a dream with fluid, with water in it, it’s usually about our emotions and feelings,” he said.
If the water is dirty or murky, it probably means that you’re not sure how you feel about having a baby. Similarly, a dream about a tidal wave or tsunami that hovers off-shore means there’s an emotional change coming up in your life.
2. Nature and taking pictures
When mother-of-two Erin Kühn, 32, of Ontario, Canada, was pregnant with her second child, she had a dream that she was taking photos in nature while her daughter played with a stick in a puddle of water nearby.
“All of a sudden I turned around and she was lying face down in the puddle. She had drowned. I remember feeling so horrible,” Kühn said.
Dreaming about death isn’t a premonition, but the child represents ideas that you hold dear, such as a goal you didn’t achieve, but need to figure out how to handle.
“There is some situation, something very close to their heart that seems to be in danger in some way,” Wallace said.
Taking photos represents that you’re trying to get the most natural and healthy perspective on what you’re trying to achieve.
“She was worrying that her unique insight would become submerged and she wouldn’t be able to access it again,” he said.
If you have a dream about conceiving your baby, it actually represents creativity and means you’re conceiving ideas from a labor of love.
“You want to nurture and develop that seed of the idea into something wonderful and unique,” Wallace said.