12 October

Dreams During Pregnancy - Why Does It Get Weird?

Many of my patients are frightened about the weird dreams they have been getting off late. They feel that since they have got pregnant they have been experiencing more intense and strange dreams.

Women in pregnancy have reported having intense and disturbing dreams than non-pregnant women finds studies. Women in last trimester experienced regular nightmares than the earlier stages.

Do dreams have any relation to pregnancy? What is it about pregnancy that causes troubled dreaming? 

Turns out, The dreams which women experience during pregnancy can have some relation to the troubled sleeping and the unusual sleep patterns after one becomes pregnant.

According to the National Institutes of Health, our sleep cycle has five stages - rapid eye movement (REM:  which covers 25% of the sleep) being the stage when we dream most.

REM stage is said to occur after about 70 to 90 minutes after one falls asleep. The stage repeats all night as the sleep cycle repeats. When one is asleep the brain is more active and is replaying the recent instances and emotions. Dreaming helps in impression and processing of new information. If the sleep cycle is disturbed and one wakes up during a REM stage then it is more likely for one to remember the dream clearly. Women go through an unbalanced sleep pattern during pregnancy at different stages of pregnancy.

The progesterone levels is the cause of insomnia in the first trimester which is common. The levels decrease as one moves into 12-16 weeks of pregnancy. The beginning of 3rd trimester, 28 weeks and beyond, one starts to feel more uncomfortable and hence, sleep is also disturbed. The lack of sound sleep, sleep apnea (People with sleep apnea experience very shallow breathing or pauses in breathing while they are asleep) and frequent urination at night can be as bad as it gets during the last trimester.  Restless legs syndrome, in which one gets an urge to move your legs can also distract your sleep.

Frequent sleep disruption increases the likelihood of waking up during the REM stage of the sleep cycle, which makes dreams seem more immediate, intense and memorable.

Dreams get complicated when one is pregnant

Pregnant women also report more frequent nightmares, many of which have to do with childbirth or danger to the newborn baby, according to a study published in November 2016 in the journal BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. Researchers surveyed 406 pregnant women, ages 17 to 44, and found that they reported nightmares more than twice as often as women who were not pregnant and that those nightmares were often baby-related

Most of the dreams are out one's regular life but in a more vibrant and strange way. You might wonder where did that come from sometimes but most of the dreams are our fears of day-to-day life, which we have no control of and reveal themselves in our dreams.

Last modified on Tuesday, 27 November 2018 14:02
Venkatesh Rathod

Venkat handles content management for MedHealthTV.

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