One thing many pregnant moms are surprised to find is that they often have vivid and sometimes very strange dreams. During my third pregnancy, I had a lot of dreams about labor in odd situations.
Once I dreamed that I sat in my midwife’s home waiting my turn to give birth, as she called her clients in one by one, had them squat and then caught their babies. Just before it was my turn, a mom came in in advanced labor, and I let her cut in front of me while I hung out, waiting on my yoga mat. I was totally cool with this arrangement. My husband got there and I told him he was just in time, as I was next. Another dream involved me just hanging out with my midwives, going to book stores and coffee shops… while I was in labor. When I shared these dreams at prenatal appointments I felt a bit like Dorothy waking up from Oz – “and you and you and you were there.”
But not all pregnancy dreams are so low key, pleasant, or easy to share. During my first pregnancy I had a downright disturbing dream that my baby was born looking like a pig and that the hospital staff took her away and feed her whole peas and chopped carrots.
Worries over being a good parent and lack of sleep can cause crazy dreams of your newborn baby talking or otherwise doing things they could not developmentally do yet, or worse. It is not uncommon for these kinds of dreams to carry over into the postpartum period as well.
Some pregnancy dreams are surprisingly sexual. There’s a saying in the natural birth community that “what gets baby in, gets baby out.” Apparently my subconscious took this literally and I once dreamed that my husband and I had to conceive on a hospital table with doctors, nurses and interns all observing, taking notes, charting, and doing cervical checks. Finally, they rushed in at the last minute to drop the bottom of the bed and make sure conception happened in a position easy for the doctor observe. Um… yeah. No.
All of these represent themes that are common for pregnant women to dream about. But what causes such weird and vivid dreams? A study was done in 2007 that linked a pregnant woman’s increased hormone levels, increased anxiety and disrupted sleep patterns (have to go to the bathroom yet again?) to the dreams. Many pregnant women experience a heightened level of stress or excitement during pregnancy, contributing to the list of things our subconscious that to work through during our dreams.
Bizarre dreams during this time in your life may be a window into your feelings about birth and parenthood. Perhaps you are excited about giving birth. These vivid dreams may provide you an opportunity to explore those feelings further, enjoy it. The increased hormones often lead to sexual dreams for the first time during pregnancy, sometimes with partners other than your own, or even movie stars. Or, at times a mother’s negative feelings or fears may not otherwise arise until her birth and these dreams may be providing an opportunity to get these fears or anxieties out in the open ahead of time so they can be dealt with and resolved.
In any case, if you are having strange dreams during your pregnancy, be comforted in knowing you are not alone. It’s very common for women to have these dreams. it may be helpful (or at the very least, entertaining) to keep a dream journal. If you find recurring themes, talk about them with your partner and care-providers. You may be happy to find the more disturbing dreams go away after they are discussed out loud and your feelings acknowledged.