Nightmares During Pregnancy: Why it Happens and How To Stop Them
Whether you’re in early pregnancy or in the third trimester, sleep is precious. Whether your bad dreams are about death, disease, or disaster, sleep is precious. The bed should be a beloved place for a pregnant woman. But if you’re one of the many pregnant women that has nightmares, the bed is the last place you may want to be. Fortunately, there are ways to stop losing sleep and as a woman growing the tiny miracle of life, you deserve all the R&R you can get. Continue reading to find out how you can ditch the bad dreams and catch those zzzzzzz’s.
Pregnancy = Change
With each trimester comes more change.
Pregnancy initiates all forms of change; physical, emotional, psychological. Your body is physically growing, hormones are toying with your emotions, and all the while psychologically you’re supposed to be able to handle the responsibility of creating life.
Any one of these changes can bring on bad dreams in bed because patterns of sleep and dreams are interrupted. Interrupted sleep means bad sleep, and bad sleep means bad dreams.
It is tiresome, it is ongoing. Even after the third trimester when baby is born, you may still find trouble sleeping. But while there is no magic cure, and a few, occasional nightmares about death may be unavoidable, there are ways to significantly reduce bad dreams during pregnancy.
It’s Just A Dream
No, you didn’t have an affair with the milkman.
Although the changes during pregnancy are extreme, nightmares and bad dreams are normal. Some have it worse than others, and unfortunately, dreams can manifest themselves as fear, death, anger, and even depression. It is important to stop and realize that your mind is all over the place.
Many women during pregnancy will look spiritually into their dreams and think the objects, people, or actions are ‘signs’. They’re not. That other man in your dream does not mean you’re going to be unfaithful. The blue flowers in the field do not mean you’re having a boy. These are just normal thoughts or thoughts gone wrong that most pregnant women have.
80 percent of pregnant women have reported detailed, recurring, nightmares. So you are not alone. The best advice: once you get out of bed, forget the dream, and don’t dwell on how it must be a “sign”. It’s not.
The most common pregnancy dreams.
- Dreams about gender: While it may not be considered a nightmare, most pregnant women dream about the gender of their baby. Once again, this is not a sign. A dream about the gender does not predict what you are having, it just means “gender” is an issue of concern.
- Tip: Don’t let gender keep you up at night. Your baby is already genetically determined to be what he/she is going to be; perfect.
- Dreams about conception: These dreams are also very common and manifest themselves usually as tiny animals/living things. For example, you may dream of a seed being planted in a garden, that symbolizes conception. Although not terrifying, if you are worried about conceiving or have had a miscarriage in the past, this dream may be troubling.
- Tip: Take it as a good thing. Even if you have had a miscarriage in the past, this dream is often good and establishes early foundations of attachment between mom and baby.
- Dreams about birth: Of course this is on every pregnant woman’s mind. It is the big hurrah, what you’ve been preparing for since day 1. But this doesn’t mean it’s going to happen in a public place like your dreams tell you.
- Tip: Rest assured, the odds of you giving birth at the mall and seeing your baby’s limbs come out are slim to none. Set up your labor plan and read it out loud to yourself over and over if you must.
- Dreams about giving birth to things: This dream is actually one of the oldest in history, so you really are normal. Pregnant women will dream about giving birth to puppies, kittens, and even a seal.
- Tip: Rest assured, it hasn’t happened to anyone in history, so the chances of it happening to you are slim to none. There’s no need to lose sleep; your baby will be a baby, a human baby.
- Dreams about being trapped: It makes sense, your baby is trapped in your womb, so why wouldn’t you have feelings of being trapped? This dream can manifest itself as being stuck in an elevator, a trunk, or even drowning under water. Definitely one of those wake up with cold sweats type of dream.
- Tip: Your baby is safe, sound, and snug. He/she wants to be in there, so do yourself a favor and don’t let it turn your dreams into nightmares.
- Dreams about forgetting the baby: This dream may even occur more often when baby has arrived. But during pregnancy it is normal to feel unprepared. Women often dream of forgetting their baby in public places.
- Tip: Trust yourself, give yourself a break, it is only a dream. This does not mean you are going to be a careless mother or cause any sort of harm to your baby.
- Dreams of physical harm to you or the baby: Physical harm, death, this is certainly a nightmare. During this time women will often dream of terrible things happening to themselves or their baby. It could even be as unusual as a dinosaur attack, but regardless it is still a nightmare.
- Tip: Yes, even before baby is born, you will worry about the most extreme scenarios. However, what is more extreme is losing this much sleep over it. Take this time to project happy thoughts for yourself and unborn baby.
Improve Your Sleep
Here are a few natural remedies during pregnancy to improve your sleep instantly.
From early pregnancy to late in the third trimester, it is important to be mindful of the tips and tricks women use. Several remedies can have negative harmful effects on the unborn child. These natural remedies, however, can improve sleep instantly and stop the bad dream cycle.
The obvious change is trying to create a routine, but that’s easier said than done. We all know during pregnancy that going to bed and waking up at the same time each night can be difficult because your changing body is in charge and it isn’t open to taking orders. If a routine doesn’t work here are a few other options:
- Acoustic soundwaves: These are typically used for lucid dreaming and astral protection, but can produce great sleep quality. If you find yourself having nightmares, listen to these just before bed, leave them playing in the background, and you are much less likely to experience bad dreams.
- Mooncandles: Just like they sound, mooncandles are soft, glowing, digital candles. Place these around your room for relaxation. Being more relaxed means you’ll be more ready for bed and less likely to have nightmares.
- Sleep optimization program: Suited for those who have insomnia, trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting restful sleep. This program offers a combination of techniques that work fast! If you only suffer from insomnia you can also try this natural cure.
- WILDS: Otherwise known as Wake Induced Lucid Dreaming. This program is for those that wake in the middle of the night and fall back asleep, angry that they woke up in the first place. These angry thoughts can produce bad dreams even further. WILDS focuses on relaxing and breathing to fall back asleep in a positive way and potentially induce lucid dreaming.
- Lucid dreaming: An interesting, fun way to focus on dreaming and instantly replace bad dreaming.
Use the links above and good sleep is only a click away.
How to Stop Having Bad Dreams During Pregnancy
There is hope. Banish those bad dreams for good.
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You can combat dreams about death, having a lion for a baby, and giant spiders early on in pregnancy. There may be a number of reasons why nightmares occur, so it is important to understand each cause to identify its solution. Let’s take a look at some common causes of pregnancy nightmares.
Cause: Sleep Interruption
A bad dream’s best friend
Interrupted sleep is the most common cause of bad dreams. As mentioned above, there are so many new things happening during pregnancy, it’s no wonder sleep goes out the window.
From early in pregnancy to the last trimester, pregnant women lose more and more sleep. Adults typically need at least 8 hours of solid, uninterrupted sleep to be healthy and productive during the day. Now just imagine not sleeping for 8 hours, then not sleeping again, and again; it’s a vicious cycle. And the more sleep a pregnant woman loses, the more susceptible she is to nightmares.
Fortunately, there is a way to end the cycle. Here’s how:
Solution: Sleeping Pills
Doctor approved only!
Sleeping pills can be the best combatant for nightmares, but it is highly important to consult your doctor first. Many sleeping pills are not recommended during pregnancy, but there are some that exist with more natural ingredients that are 100% safe. Ask your doctor to find these safe remedies.
Sleeping pills are a great solution because they are inexpensive, easy to use, and provide fast results. Sleeping pills will ensure a good night’s rest because you’ll stay asleep. Most medications also include in their uses to prevent nightmares. So the grim reaper’s kiss of death won’t haunt your sleep anymore!
Cause: Restless Mind
Random thoughts can evolve into bad dreams.
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This happens to pregnant and non-pregnant women (and people) alike, but during pregnancy, you have 100 times more thoughts. Thus, you guessed it, 100 times more bad dreams.
Dreams are just your thoughts organized and sorted throughout different parts of the brain. And at night the brain compartmentalizes them while you sleep. Pair too many thoughts with not enough time/ interrupted sleep, and you get bad dreams. For a pregnant woman, this should be a happy time even during sleep. Try this before bed instead.
Solution: Try Meditating
Turn bad dreams into happy thoughts with ease.
Meditation is the mental exercise of concentration, usually on your breathing or on a specific mantra (phrase/belief). The goal of meditation is to just ‘be’; you, yourself, nothing else. Meditation is ideal for any time during pregnancy because being in a state of relaxation is good for your body and the baby.
At night before bed, meditation is ideal because clearing your thoughts means there are fewer thoughts to become nightmares. There are many ways to meditate, but if you’re not sure where to start, here is a helpful guide.
Be sure to relax during the day as well. Relaxation is more easily achieved when you have a helpful, loving, partner to take on some of the daily stresses. But if not, meditation is the partner for you.
Other Tips and Tricks
What you should do.
Especially with your hormones running amuck, there are times when the answer may seem impossible, the solution unattainable, and the end completely invisible. But this is a happy time. You’ll never get this feeling back. You’re doing something incredible, that only you as a woman can do. And you CAN do it!
Promoting overall health for you and your baby will have the ultimate effects to fight bad dreams and win back your sleep. Here is a list of things you should do to promote overall health:
- Always consult your doctor. Throughout your entire journey, your doctor knows best! Talk to your doctor about any changes, concerns, or problems, and you don’t have to face them alone.
- Eat a balanced meal. A full stomach and all the right nutrients flowing through your veins and your baby’s can help you stay asleep at night and avoid midnight snacks.
- Exercise regularly. But appropriately, make sure your activities are baby-safe! Exercise during the day can help you sleep at night by stretching those muscles that would otherwise get pregnancy-cramps. And if nothing else, by wearing you out!
- Focus on the positive. All day, not just before bed. Think about the best parts of pregnancy and the amazing outcome. The more good thoughts you have during the day, the less they can become bad ones at night.
- Relax. Engage in something you love to do. Find a new hobby. Take a vacation. These aren’t the last moments you have to focus on you. Use this time to be your best self and promote those stress-free feelings onto your unborn baby.
- Take your time. 9 months goes by fast, but 9 months is a long time. In fact, it’s plenty of time. The baby’s room does not need to be set up in one day, and trying to do so will just keep you up at night. (Hence why you’re reading this article).
What you shouldn’t do.
On the other hand, those mixed emotions and high stress levels may result in complete chaos. There are days, you may need to just throw in the towel, leave your pajamas on, and binge watch a Netflix series. But here are things you should not do, that decrease your overall health and contribute to more bad dreams:
- Going solo. Your doctor, your partner, your friends, and even online mommy forums are there for you. The more anxieties that you harbor for yourself, the more anxieties will be reflected in your nightmares. Seek help where and when you need it.
- Avoid these foods before bed. Greasy food, spicy food, sweet and sugary food, caffeinated drinks, cheese, tomatoes, and any large amounts of liquid before bed is not a good idea. For obvious reasons, these foods will keep you up at night or have you running to the bathroom (more times than you already do). And the more interrupted sleep you have, the more nightmares.
- Stay sedentary. Try your best not to succumb to the perpetual feeling of tiredness during pregnancy. Not moving your body enough can contribute to those joint and muscle aches that keep you up at night. And that’s exactly what we’re trying to avoid.
- Try new, rigorous activities. Now is not the time to run a 5k or become a professional bodybuilder. Adding too much physical strain on the body can increase stress levels and blood pressure. And you certainly won’t get a good nights sleep at the hospital.
- Screen time before bed. Yes, that precious little screen in your hand should be limited if you are trying to reduce bad dreams. Your brain responds to patterns of light and dark to fall asleep. So, the light from your phone can actually throw off your body’s ability to create a sleeping cycle.
The Best is Yet to Come
Soon enough missing sleep will be a cute, cuddly thing.
The above-mentioned ways of increasing sleep and decreasing nightmares should be implemented early in the first trimester because you need all the sleep you can get. Once your baby arrives, nights will be even more sleepless.
You can say hello to early mornings and goodbye to sleeping in; hello to midnight playtimes and goodbye to having the bed to yourself. Your sleep routine will really be in disarray then, but it will be so worth it. All those bad dreams about death and dying, and being chased by dinosaurs, will all disappear.
Once baby arrives, sleeping will not be the ideal anyway; being awake to make precious memories, that’s what it’s all about.