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Up At Night? Nightmares During Pregnancy

Updated: Oct 2, 2022


Many pregnant women experience changes affecting sleep. Specifically, it is not uncommon for expectant mothers to report bad dreams and nightmares. We will be discussing what causes these nightmares and what can be done to prevent them.



How Common Are Nightmares in Pregnancy?


Research has revealed that pregnant women report nightmares more often than non-pregnant women. One recent study revealed that 40 to 50% of pregnant women experience nightmares. Additionally, the frequency of nightmares is often closely related to the amount of stress experienced during the day.


What Are Some Common Pregnancy Nightmares?


Many pregnant women report vivid dreams regarding issues with delivery or something happening to the baby. Some women have recurrent dreams of being trapped somewhere and struggling to get out, which may represent the baby “trapped” in the womb.


What Causes Pregnancy Nightmares?

Some experts believe that dreams may reflect the dreamer’s emotional state. For some women, pregnancy is filled with anxiety and fear of the unknown. Nightmares can be a reflection of this fear. Pregnant women experience sleep disruption and hormonal changes, and these issues could further contribute to nightmares.


What Should I Do If I Have Pregnancy Nightmares?


Many providers recommend creating a relaxing bedtime routine. Activities such as breathing exercises and yoga may also help. For some women, a consistent sleep schedule can be beneficial. If dreams are particularly disturbing and recurrent, it may be helpful to discuss this with your provider. Sometimes a referral to a therapist may be recommended.


Takeaway Message:

Pregnancy nightmares are common and often reflect daytime fears and anxieties. Pregnancy-related hormonal changes and sleep disturbance can possibly contribute to nightmares. Expectant mothers who experience nightmares may benefit from a consistent sleep schedule. If you experience frequent nightmares, it may be beneficial to discuss this with your provider.

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