JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Nightmare frequency in last trimester of pregnancy.

BACKGROUND: Pregnancy-related dreams are often found in pregnant women but also the number of negatively toned dreams seems to be increased in this challenging phase of a woman's life.

METHODS: Nightmare frequency and subjectively experienced stress was elicited via questionnaires. The mothers-to-be were approached during their application visit about 4-8 weeks prior to delivery in three obstetric hospitals. The present analysis included 406 women aged 16-40 years in the last trimester of their pregnancy. Women with severe somatic illnesses and/or psychiatric disorders were excluded. The representative sample included 496 women (age range: 14-93 years.).

RESULTS: The findings clearly indicate that pregnant women report nightmares more often compared to a representative sample and that nightmare frequency is closely related to subjectively experienced stress during daytime. Moreover, baby-related dreams were correlated with nightmare frequency but not with day-time stress.

CONCLUSIONS: Future studies should investigate the prevalence of nightmare disorders in pregnancy and study whether brief interventions like Imagery Rehearsal Therapy are beneficial for pregnant women suffering from nightmares.

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