8 common dreams in pregnancy and what they could mean

dreams in pregnancy

by Kayleigh Dray |
Updated on

Dreams are perplexing at the best of times, but they become even more so during pregnancy. In fact, you may find that you dream more than ever – and that the dreams in pregnancy are particularly vivid, too.

It shouldn’t be all that surprising, really; after all, “a beautiful new life is growing and your dreams are celebrating and preparing you for that fact that you are no longer going to be an ‘I’ but a ‘we’,” explains Theresa Cheung, author of the bestselling Dream Dictionary from A to Z.

“In addition to this, your hormones are shifting rapidly and may be impacting your emotions and your sleep patterns when pregnant,” she continues. “And whenever your sleep patterns alter chances are you will have periods of lighter REM (rapid eye movement stage of sleep when most but not all dreams happen).”

You may also find you struggle with insomnia when pregnant. These changes are all completely normal, and while dreams can get a little weirder in pregnancy there's no need to let it cause mum-to-be anxiety, here are some of the most common dreams in pregnancy and what they could mean.

What do my vivid dreams in pregnancy mean?

While these intensely vivid, detailed dreams (and sometimes nightmares) may prove alarming at first, it’s important to remember that they are completely normal and natural. Not only is it a way for you to process the rollercoaster of emotions and stress you may be going through, but many people believe them to be a message from your subconscious mind.

With this in mind, it’s a good idea to take some time to learn how to decode your dreams. “When you do, you will soon understand that every dream – even nightmares – are transformative gifts,” says Theresa.

If you dream of… giving birth to an animal

pregnancy dreams animal baby

Dreams about giving birth tend to peak in the third trimester as your dreaming mind helps you prepare for the real thing.

“If you dream you are giving birth to an animal, it is potentially a symbol of your fears about actually bringing a person into this world, because an animal baby carries less responsibility,” says Theresa.

“Animals in dreams also symbolise instincts so this dream could simply suggest that your maternal, nurturing instinct is ready to be born alongside your baby.”

Noting that the impact of this dream will shift based on the cuteness levels of the animal in question (it will likely prove easier to nurture a puppy than a snake, for example), Theresa adds that your “dreaming mind is just offering you these scenarios to help you cathartically work through them before your baby is born.”

“It knows once your baby is born those instincts will be born with them,” she adds.

If you dream… your ex is the father of your baby

It’s always disconcerting to dream of an ex – especially when we’re in a happy and fulfilling relationship with someone else. It’s worse, though, if you’re expecting a baby with a new partner and your dreams lead you back to an ex partner.

“This dream is all about you, rather than your ex or even your unborn child,” says Theresa, “as you are dreaming about a part of you that you are neglecting and which your dreaming mind is drawing your attention to.”

She goes on to explain that you should view your ex as a symbol, a vessel for your emotions or aspects of your personality. “This dream is calling you to reflect deeply on a part of yourself where there is unfinished business,” notes Theresa.

If you dream of… swimming in the ocean

Woman pregnant free diving underwater

Water in a dream is, whether you’re pregnant or not, traditionally symbolic of our emotional states.

“If you are swimming in your dream this suggests that you are managing your emotions but if you are drowning it can suggest feeling overwhelmed emotionally,” says Theresa. “Your dreaming mind wants you to relax and go with the flow.”

If you dream you’ve… lost or misplaced your baby

This dream is a popular one – and not just among pregnant women; anyone can experience this nighttime scenario.

“Whether you are pregnant or not your dreaming mind wants you to think about how well you are nurturing your inner child,” says Theresa. “It wants you to examine what childhood fears or beliefs you are carrying within you that are holding you back and not empowering you.”

She adds that we should see this particular dream as a reminder to demonstrate some self-compassion and heal past hurts – before we lose some semblance of our identity or sense of what truly matters to us.

If you dream that… your baby is talking to you

pregnancy dreams baby talking

If your baby talks to you in your dream, consider yourself very lucky indeed: it traditionally symbolises your evolving relationship.

“It simply highlights your desire to form a strong, loving and lasting bond with your child,” says Theresa, although she cautions that it may also mean that you need to watch your stress levels and take more care of yourself.

“Your baby wants you to take care not just of their needs, but your own, too,” she adds.

“When you are pregnant the way you treat yourself impacts your baby directly. Happy, healthy mother increases the chances of a happy, healthy baby.”

If you dream… your teeth are falling out

It’s a common scenario for pregnant and non-pregnant women alike – but that doesn’t make it any less frightening to lose your teeth in a dream.

“Teeth are a symbol of communication in the animal world,” explains Theresa. “Your appearance will change dramatically when you become pregnant, so this dream is symbolising your anxiety about that in a cathartic way.”

However, Theresa adds that losing your teeth in a dream could also point to something you may have said that you wished you hadn’t – or even something you need to say but haven’t felt assertive enough to express.

“Dreams are deeply personal, so brainstorm all possible meanings until you get that ‘ah ha’ moment when an interpretation speaks clearly to you. That one will be the correct meaning.”

If you dream… you’re pregnant when you aren’t

pregnancy dream not pregnant

It’s all too easy to assume that dreaming you’re pregnant symbolises your subconscious desire to have a baby. However, Theresa says there’s far more to this beautiful dream than meets the mind’s eye.

“This one suggests new creativity, the birth of a new idea or the start of an exciting new phase, project or relationship in your life,” she says.

“It is about stepping into your own personal power, and allowing your dreaming mind to help you pave the way for future changes and possibilities in both your personality and life. Exciting new beginnings lie ahead. Enjoy them!”

If you dream… that your baby has died

This is one of the very worst nightmares to be plagued by during pregnancy, but please don’t assume it is in any way a prophetic one.

“Don’t panic if your dreams feature a terrifying story, such as the death of your baby,” says Theresa.

“Your dreams speak in a symbolic language. They are not literal. Death in a dream is not predictive. It is a symbol of inner transformation. One stage of your life ending and another beginning.”

What is individuation?

According to psychiatrist Carl Jung, dreams about pregnancy and birth represent a stage in the process he called ’individuation,’ aka your personal growth towards wholeness and healing.

“So, whether you are pregnant or not please celebrate pregnancy, birth and baby dreams,” advises Theresa. “We all have neglected parts of ourselves which are childlike, curious and vulnerable and when we get in touch with and nurture these parts we are reminded of our true potential for wholeness.”

And with that in mind, we’re off to bed – to sleep, perchance to dream. Fingers crossed we get a beautiful message this time, eh?

_A freelance writer and editor with over a decade of experience under her belt, new mum Kayleigh covers parenting, lifestyle, and entertainment content across a number of different titles – with the odd opinion-based rant thrown in for good measur_e!

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