Anyone who has experienced pregnancy dreams knows that they are no joke. They can be so vivid…and bizarre…and absolutely terrifying. But wait. In addition to whatever came to mind when you read the term “pregnancy dreams,” there’s… another type. So while some of you may have ended up here looking for information on the weird dreams you’re having while you’re pregnant, others (who are not currently pregnant) landed here hoping to find an explanation for the dreams they’re having about being pregnant. Well, don’t worry: we’ve got everyone covered. Pregnancy dreams of either variety can be disturbing nightmares, so here’s a primer on dream interpretations for pregnant people, what to know about what they mean, and why you’re having them.
Pregnancy Dreams: WTAF?
So, you’re pregnant (congratulations!). And even though you’re beyond exhausted, there’s a part of you that is hesitant about going to bed early or taking nap. That’s because as soon as you drift off to sleep…that’s when they start. Your dreams, that is. A perplexing combination of horrific nightmares and truly bizarre (and vivid) imagery and scenarios — like your own personal old-timey circus sideshow.
Is it normal to have pregnancy dreams?
In short, yes. According to the Sleep Foundation, not only is it normal to have vivid dreams and nightmares while you’re pregnant — it’s also very common. So what, exactly, causes these hellish nightmares? It’s actually a combination of factors, including changing hormones, disrupted sleep patterns, and intense periods of daytime fatigue (which can increase the likelihood of having vivid dreams). Oh, and naturally, the dreams can start during the early stages of pregnancy and last until you go into labor (and often don’t stop after the baby has arrived).
And maybe you’ve always been someone who is aware of their dreams, but have noticed distinct changes since becoming pregnant. According to the American Pregnancy Association, these shifts can include:
- Vivid dreams
- Anxiety based dreams
- More intense dreams
- Ability to remember dreams more clearly
- More frequent dreaming
What do pregnancy dreams mean?
OK, so what do these pregnancy dreams even mean? Do they mean anything at all? Is this really what your brain wants to do with its precious downtime?!
If this is something you find particularly interesting and want to do more of a deep dive, then check out this chapter of Dr. Patricia Garfield’s book Women’s Bodies, Women’s Dreams. But if you don’t have time for that (at least right now), here’s a brief rundown of what imagery in certain pregnancy dreams mean, broken down by trimester:
- Dream: An easy childbirth/labor
Meaning: Awareness of conception
- Dream: Carrying heavy bags and/or having trouble walking
Meaning: Awareness of weight gain
- Dream: Danger or intruders
Meaning: Fear of motherhood
- Dream: Love affairs with former romantic partners
Meaning: Sexual deprivation; the need to feel attractive
- Dream: Partner being helpful
Meaning: Need for support
- Dream: Cuddly animals, especially puppies, kittens, and chicks
Meaning: Awareness of your growing fetus
- Dream: Being able to communicate with the baby
Meaning: What you wish the baby could know
- Dream: Rituals, ceremonies, celebrations
Meaning: Anticipation of the joy of birth
- Dream: Being on a journey and/or getting lost
Meaning: Fear of the unknown
This video also provides a good introduction to the subject of pregnancy dreams and their meaning:
Dreaming About Being Pregnant (When You’re Not)
Having a dream about being pregnant when you’re not actually pregnant (or at least are not aware that are you are) can elicit a range of feelings. For some people, it might seem like a pleasant preview of what’s to come. For others, like those dealing with infertility or another obstacle to pregnancy or starting a family, these dreams can be heartbreaking. They can also be full-on nightmares — like for someone who is actively trying not to get pregnant.
I had a dream that I was pregnant, what gives?
But what causes this type of pregnancy dream? According to Garfield, sometimes they happen while a person is ovulating. Another theory, as outlined by Healthline, is that dreaming about being pregnant can be an early sign of pregnancy itself, which again, would make hormones the culprit. Other than that, it’s the usual: your brain working through something in your subconscious.
Dreams That Mean You’re Pregnant
Some dreams help guide our realities. According to wives’ tales, dreaming about these things below means you may have a bun in the oven. Obviously, superstitions are just that and should be taken with a grain of salt.
- Water: Dreams about fish or other underwater creatures are usually signs you’re pregnant because the sea represents the embryo in the amniotic fluid.
- Snakes: Snakes are usually a symbol of pregnancy because they’re shaped like penises.
- Other mommies: Dreaming about maternal figures means your body is gearing up to become a mommy!
- Produce: Dreams about veggies are a sign of multiplication and being fruitful in children.
- Apples: This tasty snack is a sign of fertility.
- Walk: If you dream about going for a walk without an actual destination in the dream, it could be a sign you’re preparing for the journey of pregnancy. Being with child is usually a lengthy experience, which is what your dream could be trying to tell you.
- Falling rain: Dreaming of a big storm could mean you’re about to face some big shifts in your life. It is also a sign of fertility.
What do pregnancy dreams mean when you’re not pregnant?
A whole bunch of things — just like any other type of dream! Given how common these pregnancy dreams are, some psychologists and researchers have looked into their possible meanings. Here are a few expert interpretations from an article in Refinery29:
- A big project due soon
- Starting something new (or are ready for a change)
- A particularly active period of creativity
- Strong feelings about parenthood (one way or the other)
- Issues with sexuality, relationships, unfulfilled desires, or subconscious fears
- Dealing with uncertainty or unease in a part of your life
Isn’t having a uterus fun?
Seeing a Pregnant Woman in a Dream Meaning
Seeing someone pregnant in your dream usually means you actually miss that person. It could also represent your desire to speak and reconnect with them. This dream could also mean that you might experience some fortunate news from someone in your life, like a family member or friend.