Scary Sleep

Prenatal dreams


Vivid nightmares plague nearly 56 percent of pregnant women and 53 percent of new moms, compared with 42 percent of those who've never had a baby, a Canadian study found. Prenatal dreams tend to involve birth complications; new moms often dream their baby is in danger and are more likely to thrash and call out while asleep. "The anxiety new mothers feel overwhelms the usual muscle [paralysis], which prevents movement during REM [dream-time] sleep," explains Tore Nielsen, Ph.D., of the Dream and Nightmare Laboratory at the Hospital du Sacre-Coeur de Montreal. Sleep deprivation likely plays a role, as frequent interruptions result in intensified dreaming.