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Science Explains Why Pregnant Women Experience Strange Dreams

One of the joys (or nightmares--depending on how you look at it), of being pregnant is having very vivid and strange dreams. Not all women experience nightmares, but they do remember their dreams, especially the ones that are more intense.

There is a logical explanation for not only why women have strange dreams during pregnancy, but why they are more likely to remember those dreams. First, it is important to understand how sleep patterns work. We only dream when we are in a REM or the "rapid eye movement" state, which is when we are in the deepest cycle of sleep. The REM cycle can happen multiple times throughout the night depending on how much one wakes up causing the various sleep cycles to repeat.

When one wakes up out of deep sleep, they are more likely to remember what they were dreaming about. Pregnant women tend to wake up frequently during the night, especially as the pregnancy progresses. Waking up out of the REM cycle continually happens to pregnant women, which is why they can vividly recall dreams. It can also make dreams seem strange or intense.

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The reason pregnant women tend to have strange or disturbing dreams is that stress is heightened during pregnancy. According to a study published in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, pregnant women have nightmares twice as much as women who are not pregnant per week and almost all of their bad dreams are baby related.

If you think about it, this makes perfect sense. All day long a pregnant woman is thinking about her baby. Every choice is based on that child, what to eat, what to drink, when to sleep, etc. Therefore, it is understandable that stress would creep into a woman's dream state at night. After all, dreams are supposedly messages from our subconscious, right?

Another reason for strange dreams among pregnant women is fear of giving birth. A lot of women have weird dreams the closer they get to delivery, even if they have already experienced labor it is still a fear because these women know what is in store for them. The good news is that once a woman is no longer pregnant the report of nightmares or intense dreams drops significantly.

Did you experience strange dreams when pregnant? If so share them with us in the comments section below!

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