Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Baby's Conception And Birth Can Influence Dream Content In New Moms

Date:
September 2, 2007
Source:
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Summary:
The conception and birth of a child are emotional events that influence the dreams of most new mothers. In a surprisingly high number of cases, this influence reflects negative aspects of maternal responsibility, depicting the new infant in dreamed situations of danger and provoking anxiety in the mother that often spills over into wakefulness. These kinds of dreams are also accompanied by complex behaviors by new moms such as motor activity, speaking and expressing emotion.

The conception and birth of a child are emotional events that influence the dreams of most new mothers. In a surprisingly high number of cases, this influence reflects negative aspects of maternal responsibility, depicting the new infant in dreamed situations of danger and provoking anxiety in the mother that often spills over into wakefulness.

Furthermore, these kinds of dreams are also accompanied by complex behaviors by new moms such as motor activity, speaking and expressing emotion, according to a new study.

The study, authored by Tore Nielsen, PhD, of the Sleep Research Centre at the Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur de Montréal in Montréal, Québec, Canada, focused on 273 women, who were divided into three groups: postpartum, pregnant, and null gravida. 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, associated behaviors, anxiety, depression and other psychopathologic factors.

The following summarizes the results:

  • 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 null gravida (25 percent) women.
  • Expressing emotion was more prevalent among null gravida (56 percent) than postpartum women (27 percent), but was not different from pregnant women (37 percent).
  • Speaking was equally prevalent among the three groups (12-19 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).

"The research has uncovered a new dream phenomenon that affects a surprisingly large number of new mothers (and some fathers) and that therefore broadens our understanding of REM sleep parasomnias in the healthy population," said Dr. Nielsen. "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 that are endured by new mothers. The unique experiences constitute a window through which cognitive and emotional processes underlying the earliest steps of mother-infant attachment may be observed."

A woman's body goes through drastic changes during and after pregnancy. These changes can be physical, hormonal and emotional. All of these changes can affect a woman's sleep.

Most pregnant women experience daytime fatigue even though they may get more sleep. This is because the quality of their sleep tends to be worse. Physical discomfort and awakenings are common. The third trimester tends to be the time when it is hardest to sleep well.

Studies show that snoring often increases during pregnancy. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) also may develop as the pregnancy progresses. Warning signs for OSA may become more evident. These include gasping, choking sounds and pauses in breathing. OSA is more likely to develop if a woman had a high body mass index prior to the pregnancy.

Two other sleep disorders that are more common during pregnancy are restless legs syndrome (RLS) and sleep related leg cramps. RLS affects nearly 25 percent of pregnant women. RLS may be related to low iron. Therefore, women who must take iron supplements during pregnancy may have a lower risk of RLS. Leg cramps occur in about 40 percent of pregnant women. They tend to go away after delivery.

Experts recommend that pregnant and postpartum women, as well as other adults, get seven-to-eight hours of sleep each night for good health and optimum performance.

Those who suspect that they might be suffering from a sleep disorder are encouraged to discuss their problem with their primary care physician or a sleep specialist.

The article, "Dream-associated behaviors affecting pregnant and postpartum women", was published in the September 1 issue of the journal Sleep.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "Baby's Conception And Birth Can Influence Dream Content In New Moms." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070901073638.htm>.
American Academy of Sleep Medicine. (2007, September 2). Baby's Conception And Birth Can Influence Dream Content In New Moms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070901073638.htm
American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "Baby's Conception And Birth Can Influence Dream Content In New Moms." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070901073638.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) — West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) — A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) — Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) — Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins