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Nightmares and pregnancy

[Time: 21 weeks + pre-natal]

Nightmarish lampry teeth (courtesy of Caleb Chang, uncle)

There’s been something that’s interested me for a while… The increase in nightmares.

Even as a vivid dreamer, I hardly ever used to get nightmares. Then with the advent of pregnancy, nightmares started becoming more frequen.

So I looked up what info is available on pregnancy and nightmares. Most of the general information I found attributed it to stress and hormones. –> anxiety about the pregnancy. I find it a silly argument. For one, most of the nightmares pregnant women seem to have are not related to babies at all. For another, I don’t think I feel anxious at all, and I never used to have such frequent nightmares even when I was undergoing times of stress.

I believe there are biological components.  Mainly:

  • Gastrointestinal disturbances
  • Hormonal fluctuations (and more specifically, fetus hormonal fluctuations)

Our gastrointestinal system is experiencing some pressure/turbulence during . You’re more likely to have more vivid, and sometimes scary dreams when you’ve had a large snack before going to bed. Having a rolicking fetus in there may evince a similar effect.

Another of the major factors I believe are hormones – whether its yours or the fetus’ I’d like to understand. For example, if it’s a male child the infant will be giving off massive waves of testosterone. Males exude enormous spurts of testosterone both as growing embryos and as teenagers. This helps them form their sex. So I’m quite curious about the ratio of pregnant women who have more nightmares having boy or girls. Mine is male. What’s yours?

This needs to be based on studies. One study I found on nightmares and pregnancy is Dream-associated Behaviors Affecting Pregnant and Postpartum Women by Tore Nielsen and Tyna Paquette. The study seems to find that these occurrences may be influenced by sleep disruption, rapid eye movement sleep deprivation, and altered hormone levels. Whether the altered hormone levels have a more maternal source or infant source is not explored; nor is abdominal disturbance/pressure. I believe this would be an interesting direction to explore.

If you would like to participate in my very unofficial survey, please go here.

One response »

  1. look at those nightmarish teeth!

    Reply

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