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Why Pregnant Women Frequently Have Shark Dreams

The internet is full of women who have described shark-specific pregnancy dreams.


There's nothing better than when the internet validates you and lets you know that you're not alone in some weird quirk. And, thanks to a report from millennial mom site Romper, we now know that pregnant women often have dreams about sharks — so there's that to look forward to, ladies.

According to Parents magazine, as reported by Romper, ocean dreams in general are pretty common for pregnant women. Expectant moms have reported dreams involving swimming in the ocean, drowning in it or simply standing in it.

Parents notes that babies are surrounded by water in their mother's womb, and such dreams could be a way for your brain to connect with what your baby is experiencing.

But beyond the ocean, the internet is full of women who have described shark-specific pregnancy dreams.

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Check out some of the ones on Twitter.

Twitter's not the only place you can find record of shark-themed pregnancy dreams. Kimberly R. Mascaro, author of "Extraordinary Dreams: Visions, Announcements and Premonitions Across Time and Place" wrote about one pregnant woman's recurring shark dream.

"One young woman, nearly seven months pregnant with her first child, recently told me that when she dreamed about her baby-girl-to-be, the baby appeared as a shark. This shark-baby dream occurred frequently and left her puzzled," Mascaro wrote.

Pregnant women are known to have "more vivid" dreams than non-pregnant women, according to Parents magazine. A possible reason why is due to the amount of sleep pregnant women get per night.

The magazine reported that pregnant women wake up more often at night, which interrupts their REM sleep. Since dreams happen during REM sleep, they're more likely to remember what they were dreaming about if they're awoken during REM.

You may experience the same heightened dream remembering after a nap, for instance.

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It's intriguing that many pregnant women report having shark dreams, but what those dreams may mean varies for every woman. Per Romper, sharks in dreams "represent formidable enemies or a person you see as greedy and cold," according to the iDream app.

But, it may not be as simple as that.

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Dreamworker Christopher Sowton wrote on his website that it's important to pay attention to the factors around the shark. He wrote about a pregnant woman who dreamed that she saw a shark in her parents' lake and that it started chasing her. Sowton cautioned the woman not to focus too much on the shark, instead noting that she dreamed of a lake she played in as a child.

"As a very general rule — if a dream depicts a problem and situates it in a childhood setting, we can deduce we are dealing with something problematic that originated in that time and place," he wrote.

The woman opened up more about how her mother had cautioned her against swimming in the lake as a child because freshwater sharks lived there. And even though as an adult she rationally knows that's not true, she held onto that memory.

Sowton thought her dream wasn't about her fear of the shark, but about the fear of sharks that her mother had instilled in her. In this case, her mother is the more central part of what the dream really related to, which makes sense since the woman was becoming a mother herself.

Sharks often act as stand-ins in dreams.

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According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the movie "Jaws" catapulted shark dream imagery into the forefront of people's minds as a purveyor of fear. The outlet reported that being chased is one of the most common nightmares humans have, so being chased by a dream shark isn't that unusual — "Jaws" just gave people a new thing to fear to slot into that already common dream.

Dreamworker Patricia Garfield was on a book tour when "Jaws" came out — and noticed the huge jump in shark dreams. "To me that was very interesting. In all the records we had ... of different things doing the chasing, there were no sharks," Garfield told the Post-Gazette.

She continued, "After 'Jaws' came out, oh my god, people dreamed about sharks."

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Dream specialist Laynee Gilbert's site Dreams.com notes that ultimately what a shark means in a dream depends on how you think of sharks.

"If you dream of a shark and you think a shark is a cold-hearted, insensitive predator, then look to your waking world and ask yourself if anyone you know fits that description ...

... On the other hand, to a person who works closely with sea animals and knows sharks are victims of overfishing and at risk of extinction, a dream about sharks could represent one's feelings of being misunderstood — feeling perceived as the aggressor yet is actually the victim."

We may be alone in what our own personal dream shark means to us — but at least we are united in knowing that sharks in dreams are pretty common, especially if you're pregnant. And, take comfort in knowing that sharks themselves probably don't dream like we do, since they likely don't have REM sleep.

So, none of them are having thoughts of chasing you.

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