4 September 2007
Conception And Your Dreams
Many pregnant moms' dreams reflect negative aspects of maternal responsibility and often spill over into wakefulness, says a new study in the journal SLEEP. Additionally, the researchers say that these kinds of dreams are also accompanied by complex behaviors such as motor activity, speaking and expressing emotion.
Study author, Tore Nielsen at the Hôpital du Sacré-C£ur de Montréal in Montréal, interviewed women from three groups: postpartum, pregnant, and never pregnant. The subjects completed questionnaires about pregnancy and birth factors, personality and sleep, and participated in interviews concerning the prevalence of recent infant dreams and nightmares.
Nielsen reported the following findings from her research:
- The percentage of women in all groups who recalled dreams ranged from 88-91 percent.
- Postpartum and pregnant women recalled infant dreams and nightmares with equal prevalence, but more postpartum women reported they contained anxiety (75 percent) and the infant in danger (73 percent) than did pregnant women (59 percent).
- Motor activity was present in twice as many postpartum (57 percent) as pregnant (24 percent) or never-pregnant (25 percent) women.
- Expressing emotion was more prevalent among never-pregnant (56 percent) than postpartum women (27 percent), but was not different from pregnant women (37 percent).
- Behaviors were associated with nightmares, dream anxiety and, among postpartum women, post-awakening anxiety (41 percent), confusion (51 percent), and a need to check on the infant (60 percent).
Most pregnant women experience poor quality sleep tends to be worse and awakenings are common. Nielsen says the new research has uncovered a new dream phenomenon that affects a surprisingly large number of new mothers. "Hallucinatory baby-in-bed nightmares and other vivid dreams of the baby in peril appear to arise normally in response to the acute maternal responsibilities and sleep fragmentation endured by new mothers." Nielsen added that those who suspect that they might be suffering from a sleep disorder should discuss their problem with their primary care physician or a sleep specialist.
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Source: American Academy of Sleep Medicine