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Pregnancy Dreams: Vivid Dreams, Sex Dreams & More

Medically Reviewed by Jennifer Schlette, MSN, RN
Having strange and vivid pregnancy dreams is more common than you think.

Many pregnant women notice a change in their dreams. This can be concerning for some, but others may find it very interesting! We’ve been on both ends of the spectrum and can assure you that it’s totally normal to have all kinds of dreams when you’re pregnant.

Like most things in this world, there are logical and even scientific explanations for the changes in your dream world. When you have a better understanding of the culprit behind these changes, you can embrace them with open arms.

In this guide, we’ll look at why our dreams change during pregnancy and what they could mean. We’ll talk about gender prediction dreams and their reliability. We’ll even discuss those wild sex dreams you may be experiencing.

We’ll share our best tips for dealing with pregnancy dreams so you can get a better night’s sleep — if your baby will let you!

Key Takeaways

  • Pregnancy dreams are common and can be vivid, intense, or anxiety-based due to hormone changes, increased REM sleep, stress, and emotions.
  • Dreams about being pregnant, baby’s gender, or labor may be enjoyable or anxiety-inducing, but they don’t necessarily predict reality.
  • Sex dreams during pregnancy are normal and can be attributed to hormonal changes and new emotions or anxieties.
  • To manage pregnancy dreams, establish a good sleep routine, use pregnancy pillows or different sleeping positions, and talk to someone about your stress or anxiety.

Common Dream Changes During Pregnancy

Pregnancy can affect your dreams in many ways. Some women experience a range of different kinds of dreams, while some experience one type and some experience none.

These are some of the dream changes you may experience during pregnancy:

  • Vivid dreams.
  • Frequent nightmares.
  • Intense dreams.
  • Anxiety-based dreams.
  • Increased dream frequency.
  • Increased clarity and recollection of dreams.

What Causes Pregnancy Dreams?

It is hard to pinpoint an explanation for the dream changes you experience during pregnancy. But the numerous emotional and physical changes occurring within your body are most likely to blame.

causes of strange pregnancy dreams

1. Hormones

Pregnancy causes your hormones to change, and many believe the increased levels of hormones could be the reason for your crazy pregnancy dreams. Your hormones can control how you feel emotionally and can even increase anxiety issues.

Hormones also impact the way your brain processes information and emotions. This could directly link to why pregnancy can bring about frequent dreaming or very vivid dreams.

2. Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Sleep

Women typically experience more REM sleep than non-REM sleep when pregnant.

This type of sleep is a light sleep rather than a deep one. You may experience this stage more often because your sleep is frequently interrupted, whether from discomfort or frequent urination.

The REM sleep stage is when most dreams occur. The dreams at this stage are usually more vivid. Many people experience dreams in this stage but have no recollection the next morning because they have a decent amount of “deep sleep” throughout the night.

Since pregnant women seem to stay in the REM sleep stage, they often remember their dreams the following day, and they seem much more vivid than typical dreams.

3. Stress and Anxiety

It probably comes as little to no surprise that pregnancy comes with its fair share of stress and anxiety.

Experts believe your pregnancy dreams are a way for your unconscious mind to try to problem-solve. The increased anxiety and stress could lead to these dreams seeming more intense (1).

4. Emotions

This one is tied to your hormones, but it can single-handedly play a more extreme part. Pregnancy is a time full of mixed emotions, and dreams reflect your emotional state. Emotional changes can cause your dreams to be all over the place.

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Dreams About Being Pregnant

Some women have dreams of becoming pregnant before they even know whether they are.

You could dream that you’re pregnant when you actually are, but dreaming you are pregnant does not guarantee you are or will become pregnant in real life.

Often, dreams of being pregnant can indicate the birth of a new project or idea in your life.

It's Only A Dream

Don’t let your dreams dictate your reality. Just because something happens in your dreams does not mean it will happen in your life.

When Do Pregnancy Dreams Begin?

Changes in dreaming could happen at any time during your pregnancy.

The first trimester may cause pregnancy dreams to start as your body adjusts to the new levels of hormones.

Most mothers report the most significant change in their dream life occurring in the third trimester. This could be attributed to the period of pregnancy when your sleep is most likely to be interrupted. You may also become more anxious because the days before your little one’s arrival are decreasing.

The Meaning Behind Pregnancy Dreams

It is not unusual for women to experience dreams during pregnancy and immediately believe it is due to something else.

There is no scientific evidence to confirm what specific dreams mean, but many speculate about dreams and their underlying meanings.

These are some common dreams and meanings pregnant women experience:

  • Oops!: Many women have dreams about forgetting to do something, whether it be feeding their baby or locking their car. Dream experts believe this to be linked to a fear of not yet being ready to become a mom.
  • Ouch!: Many women have dreams they are being attacked or abducted. It is not uncommon to experience dreams where you take a giant fall either. These dreams may be related to your feelings of vulnerability.
  • Help!: If you dream you are trapped in a small space or a dangerous situation, you may fear losing your freedom once you become a mom.
  • Ugh!: Many women experience dreams of their partner leaving them for someone else or catching them cheating. This is typically related to your new physical changes and worrying that your significant other will not approve of your new physique.
  • Memory: Some of the best dreams pregnant women may have include dreams of loved ones they’ve lost. Many believe these dreams occur as a way of linking old generations with a new one. Some like to believe it is a way of showing you that although you can’t see them, your loved ones are still offering their support.
  • Water: It is common to have dreams about water in your first trimester as your amniotic sac becomes full of fluid. If you dream of dirty water, it could mean you don’t feel ready to parent. A dream with a tsunami could indicate the permanent life change a baby will bring (2).
  • Trip: If you dream about going on a trip, it could be a comparison to the journey you are about to embark on once you have your baby in your arms.
  • Baby: It is common for many pregnancy dreams to involve your life as a parent. These can be pleasant, showing you loving on your baby, or they can be anxiety-inducing, showing your baby with potential health problems. It is totally normal for you to worry about your baby, and these worries may translate into your dreams. Just because you have a bad dream does not mean that there will be something wrong with your baby.
  • Labor: The inevitable end to pregnancy is labor, and it can bring about a plethora of emotions. There are so many anxieties associated with labor that you will likely experience dreams of labor gone wrong or even an excruciating labor experience. If you are fortunate, you may experience dreams of the perfect labor.

Keep In Mind

Just because you dream something and it has a possible meaning behind it does not make it true. These are just popular dreams and their general associations.

Sex Dreams During Pregnancy

Many pregnant women will be the first to tell you that pregnancy tends to bring about some intense and interesting dreams.

You can blame your hormones for all the sex dreams you may experience. Whether your dreams include your significant other, a stranger, or your celebrity crush — they all fall into the realm of ordinary dreams.

Your new emotions, anxieties, changing body, and evolving relationship with your partner can create the strangest fantasies.

Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed by the dreams your mind puts together while you try to sleep. Embrace them as best you can. They may be some of your favorites after all!

Pregnancy Dreams and Gender Prediction

Many women tend to experience dreams about their baby’s gender. Old wives’ tales say if you dream of having a boy, you will have a girl and vice versa.

There is probably no truth to this, but just like other wives’ tales, it’s fun to imagine.

Another reason women tend to dream about gender is because they are anxious to find out if their baby will be a girl or boy.

Pregnant women may dream their baby is a boy because they hope it will be or dream in fear of having a girl when they’re hoping for a boy.

Most pregnant mothers probably aren’t psychic, but these ideas are enjoyable at the least. If your dreams end up being right in your favor, then props to you!

What To Do About Pregnancy Dreams

If your dreams are disturbing you, you may want to try to find a solution. While it is hard to control something that happens when you aren’t even awake, there are things you can do to help.

It is possible your sleep routine is out of whack and your body can’t adjust. Give yourself more time to sleep at night to help you rest better and avoid some of the crazy dreams.

If you find yourself waking to use the restroom, limit your fluid intake before bed. Don’t eliminate fluids entirely, as staying hydrated is vital for you and your baby. Cutting off intake just a couple of hours before bed can make a tremendous difference.

If your issue is comfort, you can try different positions or sleeping locations. Try using a pregnancy pillow for position changes to help support your hips or your baby bump.

Some pregnant women find the recliner much more comfortable than their bed. Pregnancy can also be a good time to splurge on a new mattress.

Don't Bottle Things Up

If stress and anxiety are driving your dreams, it may be best for you to confide in someone. Keeping emotions built up during pregnancy can cause a lot of unwanted stress. It is incredible how much relief you may feel by just talking through situations with someone close to you.

If you are extremely bothered by your dreams, and nothing seems to help, you can always reach out to your doctor. Something else may be going on, and it is always better to be safe than sorry.

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Pregnancy Dreams FAQs

Are Dreams a Side Effect of Progesterone?

Progesterone, along with a cocktail of other pregnancy hormones, can certainly stir the dream pot. These hormones can increase dream vividness and frequency.

Why Are Pregnancy Dreams So Scary?

Blame it on the hormones, increased anxiety, and major life changes. It’s a perfect storm for some epic (and sometimes eerie) dream sequences.

Why Do I Keep Having Pregnancy Dreams but Not Pregnant?

Dreams can be influenced by a myriad of factors, from daily experiences to deep-seated emotions. Maybe it’s your mind’s way of processing feelings about motherhood, relationships, or life changes.

The Bottom Line

Pregnancy can throw never-ending curve balls your way. All you can do is take it one pitch at a time.

Try not to lose any sleep over your dreams. Although your dream experiences may seem real, in the end, they are just dreams.

If you have horrible dreams, think of them as a way for your subconscious to try to gain some control during this significant change in your life.

It is common for you and your significant other to experience dreams related to the pregnancy. You may be experiencing increased anxiety, which could be to blame. It might even be fun to discuss the crazy voyages you are both taking in your sleep.

No matter where your pregnancy dreams take you, remember these experiences are entirely normal.

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Headshot of Jennifer Schlette, MSN, RN

Medically Reviewed by

Jennifer Schlette, MSN, RN

Jennifer Schlette MSN, RN, is a pediatric intensive care nurse at Children's Hospital of New York for the past 14 years. Jennifer also has extensive experience teaching Maternity and Obstetric Nursing, as well as Pediatrics Nursing.