Um, so… what does it mean to dream you're pregnant?

a pregnant silhouette in a cloud with butterflies
What does it mean to dream about being pregnant? Getty/Margie Rischiotto

You know those dreams you swear actually happened? With details so vivid, people so recognisable, and storylines so plausible, you feel like they must mean something, right?!

While, yeah, seemingly real dreams about falling, flying, or spiders out are super common (and may hold their own ~hidden~ meanings), pregnancy dreams are a special kind of loaded visual—and, well, there’s definitely some stuff to unpack there. That’s why we’ve gathered here today.

Obviously, there are a ton of factors that could play into your out-of-the-blue (or not?) pregnancy dream, like your stress levels, age, relationship status, and any other major things going on in your life (like whether you’re trying for kids or trying to avoid them). Still, here are a few things to consider if you woke up after being knocked up in your dreams.

Dreaming that you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you’re actually pregnant

The pregnancy dream is actually pretty common. As Lauri Loewenberg, a dream expert tells Cosmo, “If you’re not pregnant nor trying to get pregnant and you dream that you are, it means something new is in the works in your life.” In other words, dreaming that you’re going to have a baby often means you’re growing in general. “To the dreaming mind, it represents ‘a new life’ for you,” Loewenberg adds.

This could mean that a new part of your personality is making itself known or you might be in the mood to create something new — a new job, a new sense of confidence, or a sudden passion for painting. The bottom line is that you’re developing just as a baby would develop in le womb. Pretty straightforward when you think about it.

Why is the pregnancy dream so common?

“The reason certain dreams are so common is that they are caused by common issues or behaviors,” explains Loewenberg. And because starting a new project or relationship happens a lot, the dream does too. “The subconscious shows it to us in the form of a pregnancy so we will see it as something that is worthy of nurturing and focus,” Loewenberg says. “The subconscious is cool like that.”

What if you dream about a pregnancy test?

Dreaming that you’re taking a pregnancy test quite literally means you’re being tested, according to Loewenberg. “Most likely, your subconscious, through this dream, may be preparing you for a big responsibility you’re about to take on. It wants you to consider if this new venture, idea, responsibility, or goal will be a ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ thing for you,” she says.

Basically, a dream about any phase of pregnancy means a new side of you or a new part of your life is on the way, and it’s up to you—in your waking life—to figure out what that newness could be.

What does it mean if I dream about being pregnant and giving birth?

Dreaming that you’re giving birth means you’re about to start something new, particularly something connected to creativity. “The dreamer may be processing their relationship to either the idea of that or an actual experience that they are undergoing related to a creative project, and/or something new to which they are giving birth,” explains Stephanie Gailing, a wellness astrology and author of The Complete Book of Dreams. “There is a seed growing within, coming into form, and this may represent something that the dreamer is moving through in their life or wants to invite into their life.”

To decipher what this dream means for you, Gailing suggests getting into a quiet meditative state and running through the dream in your mind and see what messages comes forth. “Our intuition is so strong when we trust it and give it the quiet it needs to be loud,” she says. Once you have a better understanding of what the dream signifies, you can figure out what next steps you need to take.

What if you dream that your friend is pregnant?

A dream in which your friend is pregnant might mean you’re developing a new side of your personality that is similar to an aspect of theirs, especially if it’s a friend you don’t talk to very often, Loewenberg notes. Or dreaming a friend is pregnant could mean you feel something is unfinished either with them or just in general, as Ally Mead, a professional dream interpreter, told Huffington Post. If you have a random dream that your ex-bestie is with child, you might want to give them a call.

What if your pregnancy dream is sorta scary?

Should you be worried? “Many pregnancy dreams can be unpleasant,” explains Dr. Deirdre Barrett, author of The Committee of Sleep and Pandemic Dreams. “For young women who are sexually active but not desiring children yet, negative dreams about pregnancy are common.”

According to research from the early 2000s by Dr. Tore Nielsen at the University of Montreal, pregnancy nightmares are actually more prevalent than positive pregnancy dreams for women who just gave birth or are already pregnant. “These kinds of dreams may reflect normal concerns, anxieties about childbirth, or sleep problems like insomnia,” he says. “It’s possible that dreams support an emotion regulation function, especially during periods of rapid transition.” So if you’re having pregnancy nightmares, you might be working your way through a psychological process that makes you more emotionally prepared for childbirth. Which seems like a good thing, right?

What if you dream about having twins?

While dreaming about twins hasn’t been studied much, Nielsen suggests a few possible meanings. “This could be a fear of having twins or point to the fact that you’re concerned about your health more generally,” he says. “Specific dream themes like twins will have individual meanings depending on the life experience of the dreamer.” So if you’re a twin or there are twins in your family, this dream could be more common throughout your life. Even a fascination with twins could be the reason for dreaming about two buns in the oven.

What does it mean if I dream about being pregnant with a girl?

If the little bundle of joy you dreamt about happens to be a girl, Gailing says that the meaning depends on your relationship with girls—how you feel about them and what a “girl” signifies for you. From an archetypal perspective, girls represent the feminine. “As such, perhaps what’s being reflected in the dream is something related to creativity connected to seduction, receptivity, sociability, feminist power, etc.,” she says.

What does it mean if I dream about being pregnant with a boy?

Similarly, Gailing says the meaning of dreaming about being pregnant with a boy will depend on how you feel about boys and what they signify to you. But again, if we look at the traditional archetypal meaning, boys represents the masculine. So having a dream that you are pregnant with a boy could be related to “the willpower to champion a cause, deep desires, asserting one self, and/or fighting for what you want,” Gailing says.

And in some cases, if the dreamer is indeed pregnant at the time and dreams about having a boy or girl, Gailing says they could literally be tuning into the baby’s gender. Pretty cool.

What does it mean if I dream about being pregnant and feeling the baby move?

“Movement may signify that the baby, what is being created, has moved to the next level in its cycle, that it is taking upon more autonomy and more agency,” Gailing explains. That said, as with all dream interpretation, she notes that it’s important to take in the context of the dream. How did you respond to the baby’s movements in the dream? Were you excited? Curious? Scared about losing control? Noodle on that for a bit to learn what the baby’s movements mean for you.

What does it mean if I dream about being pregnant and not wanting the baby?

It depends on whether you are pregnant at the time or not. If you are, Gailing says it can reflect complex feelings about the baby, maybe there’s ambivalence, fear, anxiety, or uncertainty lurking. In which case, she says it may be a good idea to seek help from a therapist who can help you process your feelings.

If you’re not pregnant, the dream could be reflecting your feelings about a creative project or a transformative moment in your life. “For example, let’s say our dreamer isn’t confident about their creativity abilities or is scared about putting the things they create out into the world, or they are working on a project, and they are not sure of the timing of its release,” Gailing says. If that meaning resonates with you, she suggests thinking of ways to bolster your confidence about the project such as talking to a trusted colleague about it.

Sometimes, it’s not about being pregnant. It’s about how you feel about being pregnant.

It goes without saying that most dreams aren’t literal. Just because you dream that your boyfriend cheated on you doesn’t actually mean he did. Instead, it probably means you’re feeling jealous or insecure about your relationship. The same goes for pregnancy dreams. But that doesn’t mean you should dismiss the dream entirely. “You should ask yourself what children mean to you,” Barrett suggests. “Your association with the dream holds the key to its meaning. Look for symbols in your response.”

If you grew up in a dysfunctional family, having a family of your own could produce anxiety. If you’re one of 10 kids, having a large family of your own might feel natural. If you skip your period, dreaming about being pregnant could make you feel like a failure. It all comes down to what you’ve got going on in your life—and tying your dreams to subconscious feelings about your waking life.

Okay, but what if you’re actually predicting the future?

Spoiler: You are psychic—but not in the way you may be thinking. “I firmly believe that all dreams have meaning, regardless of how frivolous or absurd they may seem upon waking. I also believe that dreams are a psychic experience and that everyone is psychic,” says Mat Auryn, author of Psychic Witch: A Metaphysical Guide to Meditation, Magick, and Meditation. “People often have misconceptions about what psychic ability is, believing that it’s solely about predicting the future. Psychic ability is something everyone possesses, and its primary methods of communicating are through emotions and our inner-image faculty.”

He adds, “Some dreams are prophetic in nature, but most of the time, it’s our psychic faculty of our subconscious mind trying to communicate to us during a brainwave state where our conscious mind is muted to express to us stuff we aren’t fully consciously processing. When it comes to imagery, both psychic ability and dreams use our database of symbols that we are familiar with, and the more fresh it is in our mind, the more likely that symbol will be used.”

In other words: Your pregnancy dreams *do* have a meaning, but that meaning isn’t necessarily, “I’m literally going to get pregnant today.”

So, what do pregnancy dreams symbolise?

Auryn suggests learning more about the symbolism of that baby bump. “Pregnancy is the process of creation of life which hasn’t been fully birthed or manifested yet. This isn’t necessarily a literal baby but can relate to a hope or fear that we have but aren’t fully addressing or confronting,” he says. Like Barrett and Nielsen, Auryn says to pay attention to how the pregnancy dream made you *feel* in the dream: scared, excited, confused, happy?

Next, Auryn suggests examining the other symbols in the dream, like any people, animals, and objects that showed up. And keep in mind that they might not always be literal. “I always look for wordplay, double meanings, and turn of phrases when trying to interpret dreams or psychic information,” Auryn says.

Try keeping a dream journal

If you’re dreaming about pregnancy frequently or if you’re just curious about the potential meaning of your dreams, try writing them down when you wake up. “I always recommend writing down every detail and emotion you can remember of your dream and then listing out every possible interpretation you can come up with in regards to what it symbolically means,” Auryn says. You can keep a specific dream journal for this or just jot them down in your Notes app or on a piece of paper.

In an exercise he teaches in his book Psychic Witch, Auryn also suggests meditating and then “interviewing” the different characters and objects in the dream, asking them what they mean and paying attention to anything else that comes to mind—and of course, writing all that down too!

Again, pregnancy dreams don’t necessarily mean the same thing for everyone

Remember that dreams hold different meanings for different people based on their individual experiences. And, Nielsen says, stress in particular can exacerbate sleep problems and increase the incidence of both nightmares and dreams.

The main takeaway here is that you don’t have to wake up in a panic the next time you spend your sleeping hours with a baby bump, even if, yeah, it can be a bit jarring when you wake up. Sweet dreams!

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