You are walking down the street on a normal fall day. As you walk, you notice the breeze pick up and leaves start to swirl more than usual. You look behind you and then turn back to face front only to see a huge purple and yellow cow standing in your path. The cow stand on its back two legs and asks you for a breath mint. As you hand the cow a breath mint, you realize you’re carrying a Star Wars lunch box as a purse.
Dreams during pregnancy can be absolutely wild and downright scary sometimes! Women who are pregnant often experience changes that include more frequent dreaming, nightmares, anxiety-based dreams, and the ability to remember dreams. Since your body is going through so many changes, it’s not shocking that you experience these changes!
Since our mental, physical, and emotional states are all intertwined, as your body changes so does your mind. One likely cause is due to the increase in hormone production. Pregnancy hormones (like Progesterone) often have the ability to affect and increase emotional distress as well as Anxiety. They also impact the way your brain takes in information and processes it. It’s very possible those strange dreams have something to do with that! (This also may be an explanation why a lot of pregnant women find themselves having sexual dreams.)
During pregnancy our sleep schedule is also disrupted. Whether it’s due to an inability to fall asleep, physical discomfort from an expanding body, or just needing to pee in the middle of the night (a million times…) this changes our sleep cycles and disrupts what is known as REM sleep. The REM or Rapid Eye Movement stage of sleep is the stage in which dreaming happens. When this is disrupted it can affect the length, frequency, or even ability to remember the dreams. This may sometimes be the cause of the more vivid or easily remembered dreams.
Some experts also believe that pregnancy dreams are a way of your unconscious mind dealing with the increased stress or anxiety that accompanies bringing a new life into the world.
While there is no actual scientific answer for why dreams during pregnancy are so weird, there are many contributing factors that definitely make sense! If your dreams aren’t bothering you, simply return back to sleep and visit the purple and yellow cow again. If they’re a bit disturbing or unnerving, consider keeping a dream journal either on your phone or in a notebook by your bed. It may be your unconscious mind trying to process something important! If your dreams, however, veer into dangerous or scary territory frequently, it may be a good idea to talk with a counselor, therapist, or friend to check in and make sure everything is okay.
No matter what crazy, alarming, or sexual dreams you’re having at night, make sure you’re still doing your best to rest as much as possible! We do a lot of healing and growing at night and your body is literally making a human being. Relax, take a deep breath, and dive back into some REM sleep.
Sweet (or slightly weird) dreams!