Dreams about pregnancy are loaded with possibilities for symbolism and meaning. Most of the time, interpreting a dream about pregnancy focuses on the symbolism of pregnancy, giving birth, or children, but the first rule of the DREAMS 1-2-3 system is to consider the obvious. The body has an early warning and detection system that communicates through dreams, so if you are female, sexually active, able to conceive, and dream about being pregnant, it’s a good idea to take a pregnancy test or see your doctor.
Once you rule out that possibility, consider others.
Most pregnancy dreams are unrelated to actual pregnancy
Most dreams about being pregnant are not related to reproduction, and if they are related it is more likely to be about side issues such as getting pregnant, ability to conceive, feelings about being a parent, finding a partner, or preparations that need to be made to health, lifestyle, finances, job situation, or attitudes. I’ll talk more about that in a moment. First, three primary ways dreams use pregnancy as symbolism:
- The dreamer is “pregnant” with an idea, thought, or feeling.
- “Giving birth” to something new.
- Something “gestating” inside the person.
Pregnancy and related ideas are popularly used as metaphors. People are said to be “pregnant” with ideas, thoughts, or feelings. Creative projects and important endeavors are your “babies.” Giving birth is a ready-made metaphor for something new coming into your life. Feelings grow or gestate within a person. For example, feelings of love grow in you for someone you’ve been dating. In this metaphor, making a commitment to the relationship or professing love is like giving birth, launching you into a new phase of the relationship. Dreams use these ideas to make metaphors that tell a story.
Men can dream they’re pregnant
Men can dream about being pregnant and giving birth. It’s obviously symbolism because men can’t actually get pregnant. Here is a great example to illustrate how dreams can use the idea of “giving birth” to mean something new emerging in a person. The dreamer is a college-age male:
I dream I’m pregnant and in the hospital giving birth. The doctor is a friend, a guy I know from high school, and the baby is actually his. He is the father.
I used this dream as an example in my book Dreams 1-2-3 because it is an awesome metaphor that vividly portrays big changes in the dreamer. The presence of the doctor-friend as a dream character and the dreamer’s relationship with that person in waking life are the keys to interpreting the dream. The dreamer describes his old friend as hard-working and successful. The dreamer has aspirations to be more successful, too, and looks to his friend as an example. His friend is the father of the baby because he planted the seeds for the dreamer to become more hard-working and successful. The dream is about giving birth to new personality traits.
Stretch the idea of giving birth further and you can interpret a dream about giving birth to kittens, which symbolizes “kitten-like” qualities emerging in the dreamer. Kittens are playful and innocent, so the dream compares giving birth to kittens as a way of saying that the dreamer recognizes those qualities emerging in himself.
Pregnancy: a metaphor for creativity
Also included under the umbrella of “giving birth” is creativity. A child is a creation, after all. When I wrote my first novel, I first “conceived” the idea. Then it “gestated” as I researched and worked through the plot. To “give birth” I published it. That book is one of my “babies.”
Compare that process to any creative endeavor. First an idea comes to mind, it grows, it matures, and eventually it’s finished, birthed. Creativity is compared to the process of gestation because creative ideas sometimes slowly develop within a person. It’s a labor of love, and labor is another word connected with pregnancy and birth. Anything you work hard at can be compared to the labor of giving birth, especially when it’s something like a creative idea you’re trying to get out of you.
A dream about giving birth to three dead fetuses symbolizes three art projects the person started but is unable to finish because her day job is getting in the way.
A dream about being pregnant with five babies symbolizes five computer programming projects the person is working on at her job training. She said she thought of her programs as her “kids.”
Twists on pregnancy dream symbolism
Dreams can connect being pregnant with the special care and treatment pregnant women receive. Along these lines, being pregnant can symbolize receiving special attention or consideration.
Another clever twist on the idea is to dream about being pregnant and it means you are anticipating something. “Anticipating” in one sense means anticipating the birth of a child. Dreams can use a comparison like that to refer to something else you anticipate. For example, a man dreams that his boyfriend is pregnant and it symbolizes the dreamer anticipating introducing his boyfriend to his family.
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More clever variations on pregnancy symbolism
We’ve only scratched the surface of all the possibilities for pregnancy symbolism. Two more vivid examples come to mind:
- A young man dreams that his ex-girlfriend is pregnant. It freaks him out and he immediately thinks of telling her to abort. He feels guilty, but the symbolism has nothing to do with pregnancy. It’s about leaving a part of himself behind with his ex. If you get someone pregnant, a part of yourself is literally inside the person. In this case he left behind a piece of his heart.
- A female has a recurring dream that she is pregnant and too far along to abort. She doesn’t remember having sex and is puzzled how she can be pregnant. She catches hell about it from her family and feels like she’s being blamed for something she did not do. Being pregnant in this dream is connected with blame, shame, and turmoil in her family. In some family situations, getting pregnant is the worst thing that could happen, a nightmare come true. The dreamer feels treated like she got knocked up or something.
Dreams that address side issues about getting pregnant
As a moderator at Reddit Dreams I run across dreams from child-bearing-age females who think they never want to have kids, then a dream like this one changes their mind — “dream about getting pregnant and mixed emotions:”
I’m 25 and slowly warming up to the idea of MAYBE having a kid one day, way in the future, and that’s only because my friend had a kid and her son is kind of fun and cool to be around. Back in my early twenties I was one of those ‘no way, never in my life, no maternal instinct’ kind of girls. Up until this point in my life I have not wanted or tried to have a kid, and I haven’t been sad that I don’t have any.
So last night I had a dream that I gave birth to a little baby boy. I named him Samuel Wallace (everyone called him Sammy) and he was absolutely beautiful. I remember looking at him for the first time and stroking his cheek and looking into his blue eyes (my eyes) and feeling love so strong my heart felt like it was going to give out. I looked at him and was happy that he had my boyfriend’s nose. He grabbed my finger and I could feel his heartbeat while I held him. I cried with joy unlike any I had felt before.
When I woke up and realized it was a dream I was devastated. I have almost broken into tears multiple times today over the sense of real loss I feel. Now all I can think about is how I want a baby.
It’s one thing to say you don’t want to have a baby when it’s hypothetical. It’s another thing to look at your baby in your arms during a hyper-realistic dream and your mind completely changes, as it did for this dreamer.
The dream made her realize that she really does want to have a child, and while it’s not going to happen right away, she can prepare. By analyzing the dream she realizes she wants to make sure her child does not grow up in the same financially strapped situation as she grew up in, so she decides to start a baby fund. This is a textbook example of how your mind can be changed by a dream.
If you have a dream like this and your reaction to the baby is “ew, do I have to touch it?” it’s a sign that you really don’t want to have children. But the dreamer’s reaction says it all. It reveals her true feelings. She wants a baby!
Dreams that prepare you for pregnancy
Some dreams about pregnancy and giving birth are related to preparing for pregnancy. Think of it as a simulation. In the dream you believe you really are pregnant or have a child. The dreams themselves can speak to preparations that need to be made. Here is a dream that shows what I mean:
I dream that I am pregnant and give birth to a baby. My first thought is I’m not going to be able to keep it because there is no chance I can get the time off work. So I bundle the baby in a white carrier bag and leave it behind my workplace. When I come back the next day, the bag is gone.
This dreamer’s fear is that the dream is telling her she is some kind of monster because she got rid of the baby. But the dream is an illustration of the fact she wants to have a baby when her work situation will allow it. Putting the baby in a carrier bag and stowing it away shows that she is saving motherhood for later in life, when she is in a better situation. To make it possible she has to find a job which will allow her the time off.
In a series of vivid maternal dreams, a female dreamer works through many issues related to pregnancy and raising a child, illustrating the ways she has to prepare before seriously considering the possibility: graduate from college, become more financially stable, get comfortable with being a nurturer. At the same time, the dreams help her prepare for a career in an occupation that requires her to be a caregiver.
But what if you dream you’re pregnant and it actually means you’re pregnant?!
Having covered symbolic uses of pregnancy in dreams, we return to literal examples. After all, pregnancy and reproduction are major areas of life. Dreams don’t usually just come right out and say, “You’re pregnant, kiddo” (though they can). They are more likely to give nonverbal clues, like a game of Charades.
A clue dreams are known to give about being pregnant is provided through comparison to a tree or other growth of nature. Not only is the growth of a tree comparable to the growth of a person, but families are organized as “trees.” If you dream about planting a tree or a seed, you might be dreaming about becoming pregnant or starting a family.
The analogy extends to plants, vines, flowers and gardens, though there are other interpretations for these symbols.
Don’t jump to conclusions. Just because a symbol is present in a dream doesn’t mean it automatically represents one thing or another. Something like planting a seed in a dream can symbolize planting an idea in the mind. The symbol is interpreted in the context of the dream.
For example, if you plant a tree in a dream with your husband, it reinforces the idea of the dream being related to starting a family. If you plant a tree in your front yard because you don’t want your neighbors to able to see in your windows, the dream probably relates to privacy.
Dreams can use young animals as a sign of pregnancy, or to represent young offspring. In these dreams the mother and father will sometimes be in a setting together and run across a kitten, puppy, or other young animal. Again, though, you should consider other interpretations. A young animal can represent innocence or immaturity instead of pregnancy. For an example, see this post about kittens.
Women have been known to dream of water when they are pregnant because water is associated with pregnancy. A woman “breaks her water” when she is ready to give birth, and a baby developing in the womb is surrounded by opaque embryonic fluid. Water is also associated with emotion, and pregnancy can be a very emotional experience.
Because fish live in water, and human and fish embryos are almost identical, pregnant women sometimes dream of fish or aquariums. See my primer for understanding animals and creatures in dreams.
Pregnant women are known to dream of worms, snakes, and other creatures that burrow. It’s a dramatic and symbolic way of describing a bodily process. A fertilized egg literally burrows into the uterine lining.
Buildings — especially buildings under construction — pop up frequently in the dreams of pregnant women. Buildings can relate to areas of life that are “under construction,” and in dreams related to pregnancy the building might be a maternity ward, daycare center, or baby room. Plus, needing more room to live in is a common issue for growing families and adding rooms onto a home is a common theme in the dreams of pregnant couples.
Driving can be a metaphor for “going somewhere in life,” and a child seat in the back of the vehicle can symbolize moving forward in life with a child under your care.
Another sign of pregnancy is the frequency and intensity of dreams, both of which spike because of hormonal changes in pregnant women.
Of course, dreams can be direct, too. Some women report being told by a dream character that they are pregnant. The character is frequently a mom, grandma, or someone else the dreamer knows who has been pregnant and/or had children. Or the character can be a physician, particularly an obstetrician. And don’t forget the father: he can appear in dreams to announce the good news. And he can have dreams about his partner being pregnant, whether or not it is “official” or known.
Dreaming about pregnancy test
Dreaming about a positive pregnancy test can be a pretty direct way of saying “you’re pregnant.” (Read the comments below for several examples.) Pregnant women also report dreaming about shopping for baby clothes or related activities with their moms or friends and relatives who are mothers. The presence of a mom in a dream that includes other clues related to pregnancy can indicate the dream refers to actual pregnancy and is not a metaphor, because one’s mother is the strongest association most people have with motherhood.
A dream about a pregnancy test can connect with hashing through issues, thoughts, and feelings related to trying to get pregant. It’s a proverbial test of your feelings and attitudes about being pregnant. Positive means “I feel good about it,” or “stay positive about your prospects.” That’s a particularly common dream theme with women who have been trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant. A negative pregnancy test can mean feelings about or prospects for pregnancy are negative. Perhaps it’s the wrong time.
Quotes from women who had dreams about being pregnant
Here are quotes from women who discovered through their dreams that they were pregnant, or about to be. Some are paraphrased for readability:
- “I had a lot of dreams about the sex of the baby and they were right.”
- “I dreamed I had a son, then two weeks later found out I was pregnant.”
- “I had a dream I had a girl, and three days later was the first day of my missed period.” (The dreamer was pregnant and delivered a baby girl.)
- “The night I got pregnant I had a dream I was pregnant and had to tell my mom, my cousin, and my boyfriend (the father).”
- “Before I found out I was preggo, I started dreaming every night of being preggo or giving birth.”
- “I found out about both of my pregnancies through dreams. My first (pregnancy), I was eight weeks along and not paying attention to my body or cycles because they were so irregular to begin with. That time I had a dream about a sonogram with a baby on the screen. Then with my current pregnancy I had a dream with a positive home pregnancy test.”
- “I had a dream I was pregnant with triplets. Sure enough, a few months later I was pregnant with triplets. They’re five months old now. Crazy stuff!”
A woman dreams about three children that are hers, even though she doesn’t have any children. They are children she had miscarried. Unborn children can appear in dreams. Women (and men) can dream about their future children and see every detail ahead of time — they even know what to name them!
Dreams tell stories many different ways. While often symbolic in meaning, pregnancy dreams can be literal. There are certain symbols — seeds and young animals, for example — that are known to appear in dreams indicating the dreamer is, or is about to be, pregnant.
However, every symbol has alternative interpretations and pregnancy, giving birth, and children are versatile dream symbols. Just remember the first rule of dream interpretation: consider the obvious. If you or your partner really is pregnant, you want to know as soon as possible and your dreams can be your first indicator. Just be careful to avoid jumping to conclusions.
You can read more about dream symbolism and my easy-to-follow system of dream interpretation in my beginner’s guide to dreamwork, Dreams 1-2-3. Just click on the cover image to the left. Published by Hampton Roads. Available also at Google Play.
Learn more about dream symbolism at Dreams123.com.
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