Wellness

4 Reasons Why You Keep Dreaming That You're Pregnant

No... you're not actually pregnant.

Why you keep dreaming that you're pregnant.
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From losing all your teeth to being naked in public, things can get crazy in dreamland. And pregnancy is another common genre of nighttime fantasies. But what does it mean when you dream about being pregnant?

First things first: There’s no need to worry because a dream of being pregnant doesn’t necessarily mean you’re actually expecting, says certified dream analyst Lauri Loewenberg. Dreams about pregnancy and birth are common and can signify everything from major life changes to lingering anxiety, she explains. And those dreams, as crazy as they are, can offer important insights into your emotions, she adds.

In fact, dreams may be a way your brain processes your waking life, so understanding what your dream about being pregnant means can help you decode how you feel about different life events. To help you read more into your psyche, here’s a dream expert’s take on why you might be having some of these common pregnancy dreams.

What Do Pregnancy Dreams Mean If You're Not Pregnant?

Dreams about being pregnant are typically happy — they usually mean that something big is in the works, Loewenberg explains. Just like the end result of a pregnancy can be a new life, pregnancy dreams can symbolize that you’re embarking on a major change that could result in an entirely new lifestyle, she says. That’s why big-time pivots like setting out to earn a degree, beginning a new career or relationship, or starting a big project can often trigger these dreams. If that doesn’t strike a chord, Loewenberg notes that these dreams can also be symbolic of changes you’re making on the inside, like prioritizing your mental health, since pregnancy happens internally.

How pregnant you are in the dream also matters, she adds. If you’re newly pregnant in dreamland, it could mean you’re excited about taking those first steps towards a life change, like applying to school or dating. If you’re far along in your pregnancy, it could mean you’re on the cusp of a life change coming to pass, like a graduation or starting a new job.

What Do Dreams About Giving Birth Mean If You're Not Pregnant?

Much like late-stage pregnancy dreams can signal change on the horizon, dreams about giving birth can be a sign that something new is coming to life, says Loewenberg. Maybe you completed an important project or finally got your degree — whatever it is, dreaming about having a baby signifies that something notable and important has come to fruition.

"A baby would symbolize the result of your work and progress in some area of your life," she tells Bustle. "The subconscious will show us these new elements in our life in the form of a baby because, like an infant, these new things require our continued attention, care, and focus so that it — and we — can continue to grow and reach our potential."

What Do Pregnancy Dreams Mean If You Are Pregnant?

If you are currently pregnant, it's also common to dream about pregnancy or impending birth — in fact, in a study of 88 pregnant people published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, about one-third of them had dreams about pregnancy, birth, or childrearing.

These dreams can take the form of nightmares about something going wrong with the pregnancy or birth. Loewenberg says this is totally normal, especially during your first pregnancy or if you’ve had prior trouble conceiving. "Sometimes our dreams can serve as a pressure valve, allowing us to safely release the stress that has been bottled up while awake," she notes. So if you're dreaming about things going wrong with your pregnancy, it's not a sign that anything is actually wrong — it’s more likely just a case of nerves.

However, this isn't to say all dreams you have while pregnant are just cut-and-dry anxiety nightmares — some might have more complex symbolic meaning. After all, one of the most common pregnancy nightmares involves passing away — of the self, the baby, or a loved one, Loewenberg tells Bustle. “This is really about the things in your life and the parts of your own self that are ending due to the dramatic change of becoming a mother.”

What Do Dreams About Miscarriage Or Abortion Mean?

While dreams of pregnancy and giving birth are common, many people also have dreams of miscarrying or having an abortion. For pregnant people who have had a miscarriage or abortion in the past, Loewenberg says that dreaming about these events is often an expression of fear over experiencing those events again. For pregnant people who haven't experienced abortion or miscarriage, these dreams can signify a fear of losing the pregnancy. The meaning of these dreams might also be less obvious — Loewenberg says it could symbolize something else in your life that you need to stop while you’re pregnant, like drinking.

If you're not pregnant and dream of miscarriage or abortion, Loewenberg says it could be a sign that something has ended in your life or that something new should be put to a stop. Perhaps you just lost your job or a toxic new relationship is weighing on you — regardless, she suggests that you look at your life to assess what has ended or what needs to go.

Most importantly, remember that you shouldn't jump to any conclusions about what's going on in your body or mind because of a pregnancy dream (or any other kind dream, for that matter). "Dreams are symbolic by nature," says Loewenberg. "So you should never look at your dreams literally, because you will totally miss the message."

Studies referenced:

Blake, R. (1993). The pregnancy-related dreams of pregnant women. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8452063/

Wamsley, E. (2013). Dreaming and Offline Memory Processing. Current Biology, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3557787/

Experts:

Lauri Loewenberg, certified dream analyst

This post was originally published on October 3, 2014. It was updated on June 25, 2019.

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