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Psychological Changes in the Mother-to-Be

Published October 23, 2007        by Nicole

Pregnancy will be an experience full of growth, change enrichment, and challenge. It is a time when you as a couple will confront your fears and expectations about becoming parents and will begin to determine your own parenting style.

Although there are certain similarities in all pregnancies, each pregnancy is special. Shifts in your body image, changes in your hormones and your attitude towards cultural pressures and expectations will all combine to make your pregnancy unique.

Each of the physical landmarks of a pregnancy is accompanied by specific physiological issues that will affect your perception of that particular part of your pregnancy. For example, if your pregnancy was planned and wished for, you and your partner will respond with joy and anticipation to the news that you have conceived. If the pregnancy was unexpected, you will initially have mixed feelings about it.

Interactions between your body and your mind will occur throughout your pregnancy. For example, a high level of stress in your life or negative feelings about being pregnant may contribute to some of the nausea that occurs in the first trimester [three months]. Conversely, the nausea and vomiting may make you feel less than enthusiastic about your pregnancy. The important thing to remember is that because of this interaction between mind and body during pregnancy, trying to maintain a positive outlook may actually alleviate some physical ills.

Dreams During Pregnancy

During pregnancy you may find that you are much more vulnerable to certain fears and concerns. For example, pregnant women are often more anxious about the possibility of bodily harm. Things ordinarily taken for granted, such as riding in a car, or engaging in sports, may provoke some anxiety. These anxieties may surface in your dreams. Dreams may be realistic representations of your fears, or they may take the form of surrealistic nightmares. Dreaming about your worries is normal and may help you to deal with them during the day. Be reassured that dreams do not represent life as it is-or as it will be once the baby is born.

There is a progression in changing themes in dreams that may occur throughout your pregnancy. Dreams about pregnancy and babies often begin in the first trimester. Uncertainties about your role as a mother may surface in dreams about not being able to care properly for your baby. Such dreams are normal.

Pregnant women often dream about being trapped, and in many ways this is a direct representation of fears and concerns about the future. Especially if you have worked outside the home, you may be frightened about what having a baby will do to your ability to continue your outside interests.

Many mothers-to-be dream about having a child of one sex or the other. These dreams may reflect your preference for a child of a particular sex, as well as your concerns about your own sexual identity.

Another common theme in dreams is looking for a child or having lost a child. These dreams feel much more severe than just misplacing a baby bib or a pacifier, and they usually occur during the end of the pregnancy when you begin to anticipate the delivery of your child. In reality a loss is about to occur; the loss of the fetus who will become your baby.

Assault is another theme that may occur in your dreams about pregnancy, reflecting your worries that if you were to be assaulted or injured, the consequences may be harmful to your baby, as well as to yourself. Also as the pregnancy continues and your body enlarges, you may worry that you will not be able to react quickly in a dangerous situation.

Perhaps the most relevant anxiety about assault that a pregnant woman has to deal with is the loss of control over her body. Clearly, you are not in control of your body’s changes during pregnancy. Especially for a first time mother. These assault dreams may reflect your fears about what your labor and delivery will be like. Then, too, the assault dreams may reflect your feelings about the “stranger” that is within your body.

Remember that having these frightening dreams is normal and should not worry you. In fact, because of the love you feel for the baby inside you, your concerns about his or her fragility, as reflected in your dreams, are not at all unusual.