Nightmares During Pregnancy: Why and What to Do

You are going to experience so many physical and emotional changes throughout your pregnancy. Certain changes are quite obvious, like you are going to have a heightened sense of smell that can make you feel nauseous at times or you are going to experience frequent urination with the size of your tummy increasing and putting pressure on your uterus. However, you may not be fully aware of certain changes, and having nightmares is one such issue. Not every pregnant woman will have nightmares, but it is possible to experience this situation due to a change in your sleep patterns and hormone levels.

Is It Normal to Have Nightmares While Pregnant?

Most health experts are of the view that it is completely normal to have vivid nightmares during pregnancy. You are more likely to experience these nightmares if this is your first pregnancy and you are really unsure about what to expect next. Many factors contribute to you having nightmares while pregnant. For instance:

  • You are going to feel stressed by not getting enough sleep throughout your pregnancy. This additional stress can make you have weird dreams.
  • You may start to have nightmares as your delivery due date approaches. It is natural to feel concerned and afraid to think about your delivery.
  • You will undergo some serious hormonal changes during the first trimester, and those fluctuating hormones may also affect your dream pattern. These dreams may get better during your second trimester because of your hormones becoming more stable, but things may change again as you enter your third trimester when hormonal fluctuations will affect you again.

As you have noticed, so many factors can contribute to what sorts of dreams you have during pregnancy. However, it is worth pointing out that many women think that nightmares are one of the pregnancy signs, but that is not true actually. So many pregnant women never experience a single nightmare throughout their term. But if you are experiencing nightmares and they are so vivid that they are affecting the quality of your sleep and day-to-day life, you may want to talk to your doctor to find a treatment option.

Tips for Handling Nightmares During Pregnancy

While it is quite normal to have nightmares in pregnancy, you may want to take steps to ensure they do not interfere with your quality of life. Here are some tips to feel better:

  • It is important to keep your stress under control. Do not worry about what is going to happen next. Stop thinking about the labor pain or anything that makes you feel afraid and concerned. Not only is it going to make you have nightmares, it is also going to affect the health of your baby.
  • Try meditation and use other relaxation techniques to control unwanted stress and feel better about yourself. The more relaxed you are, the easier it is to fall asleep at night. You can also learn breathing techniques to limit the amount of stress in your life.
  • Start some new hobbies. You should be doing what you love. This helps keep you happy and live a stress-free life. Even listening to your favorite music for a while will help make you feel better and improve the quality of your sleep, reducing your chance of having nightmares during pregnancy.
  • Pay attention to your diet. You should be having a balanced diet and never have a big meal before going to bed. Do not eat too close to bed because that can lead to sleep disturbance and even make you have bad dreams. Go for some light, non-spicy foods for dinner at least 2-3 hours before bedtime.
  • Stay active and do some light exercises to stay healthy. Exercise triggers the release of feel-good hormones that improve your sleep quality and lower your stress levels. Walking, swimming, etc., will work just fine. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you are going to try a new exercise program.
  • Make conscious efforts to develop a positive outlook towards life. You should be thinking positively about your pregnancy and delivery. Focus more on the happiness you are going to have when you will have your baby in your arms.
  • It is important to keep in mind that sometimes your nightmares are related to certain mediations you may be taking during pregnancy. If you have started having those weird dreams after taking a new medication, you may want to talk to your doctor to find an alternative.

Overall, it is not unusual to have nightmares during pregnancy and most of the times, they are completely harmless. They are not going to cause any harm to your baby either. Still, you can take certain steps and talk to your doctor in case your nightmares are affecting you mentally or physically.

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