Nesting Instinct During Pregnancy

Nesting Instinct During Pregnancy

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Parents find themselves doubting and thinking twice about the smallest things, things which would have never even gotten a second thought in normal times. However, it is the hardest on the mother – she is not only affected physically but also goes through a lot of changes emotionally.

Mothers who were least interested in housework before pregnancy may find themselves fussing about the smallest stain when they are expecting. This is a part of a phenomenon called nesting. Nesting might make the mother doubt every single aspect of the house, and think about whether it is good or harmful to the baby. This instinct usually strikes in the third trimester, a few weeks before the due date. Instead of enjoying the well-deserved rest like you are supposed to, you might find yourself rearranging and scrub diligently. So here, let us take a look at this instinct that mothers have, so beautifully called nesting.

What is Nesting Instinct in Pregnancy?

Nesting refers to the process or act of preparing your home, or ‘nest’, to welcome the baby into the world. Nesting before the baby is a common biological trait observed in many species- birds and many other animals also exhibit this urge during pregnancy. Generally, a nesting mother prepares the home physically in order to ensure the safety of the newborn, engaging in baby-proofing the home, deep cleaning it, sometimes even doing loads of laundry. Female nesting is not harmful in any way – it is simply a biological condition that points to our animalistic pasts, our instincts. Women have also been observed to stay closer to their home when the nesting stage during pregnancy arrives.

Does Every Pregnant Woman Nest?

It is impossible to think that all expecting mothers will go through the nesting period. In fact, it was found in a survey that three-fourths of all expecting women went through the nesting phase, while the rest did not. It does not signify the health of the pregnant woman in any way; some women nest, and the others do not.

When Does an Expectant Mom Start Experiencing the Urge of Nesting?

In many cases, nesting can strike the woman as early as the second trimester. This is because the energy levels of the women are higher at that stage, and they might find themselves channelling all this energy into cleaning their home. However, nesting is surer to affect the woman closer to the due date, in the last weeks of pregnancy. Adrenaline flows through at high levels during this time, and women usually tackle that by improving their living conditions. It is even said that when a woman starts cleaning her home in a frantic manner in the third trimester, it can be taken as a sign that she is about to go into labour.

Pregnant couple cleaning house

Symptoms of Nesting during Pregnancy

There are no outright symptoms to nesting, as it is more of a psychological condition than anything else. If you are wondering if you may be nesting, there is a huge chance that you probably are. There are other social effects too- you find yourself staying closer to home, and becoming choosier about whom you spend your time with. You might even think too far into the future and stress out about it, like the impact the child may have in your professional life. Other common signs include an unstoppable urge to clean every inch of the house, do all the laundry and organize everything you see at home. Symptoms indicate that you are going to become a mother soon, and that is a good thing because mothers become more accustomed to the idea as time progresses.

Is Nesting a Symptom of Labour?

Nesting instinct before labour is not a symptom of it- it does not mean that the baby will be arriving soon. There have been women affected by the nesting instinct as early as 5 months into their pregnancies, and women who are affected only by the 39th week – in some women, nesting does not occur at all. It is not connected to labour in any way, as it is merely a psychological condition. Doctors say that the burst of energy in mothers occur as a result of them trying to get everything in order.

How Long Will Nesting Instinct in Pregnancy Continue?

In most cases, nesting instincts reduce after the newborn baby has arrived into the household. However frantic the mother may have been in the nesting period during pregnancy, nesting is sure to stop after pregnancy. This is because parents spend most of their time after the baby is born tending to the child, that they have no energy left for any other activity. This also means that they never have enough time for normal household chores, let alone neurotic cleaning impulses. Due to this lack of energy, time and motivation in the mother, nesting instincts drop down dramatically after the baby is born.

Will Nesting Re-occur in Every Pregnancy?

If you had the instinct your first time, there is a huge possibility that you will experience it in subsequent pregnancies. ‘Expanding the nest’ is more the focus for the first time, and mothers may find themselves preparing for the eventual arrival of the second child. However, it is usually mellower this time- you might just have to repeat the previous activities to satisfy the craving. So activities, like getting the old baby clothes out and installing the toddler seat in the car, might be all you do the second time around.

Do Expectant Fathers Also Nest?

Male Nesting is not a common occurrence, but you might find your partner helping out while you frenetically clean the home. This is not due to any biological conditions, as they are just helping you out and become more comfortable. Fathers only have a theoretical understanding of pregnancy until the baby comes around, so it can be hard for them to feel the same thing you feel.

Is Nesting Harmful to Pregnancy?

Nesting on itself is not harmful in any way, but the activities you do as a result can be harmful to you:

  • If you feel like painting or cleaning using chemicals, make sure that the area is always well-ventilated.
  • Never climb ladders for any reason, whether it is to dust your old painting or to hang a calendar.
  • Do not overexert yourself with the chores- always be hydrated and take regular breaks.
  • If you find yourself attacked by anxiety and losing sleep over minor things, be sure to talk to a doctor regarding those problems.

Nesting is beneficial in most ways, as it gives you the energy and the motivation to make those last-minute arrangements to welcome your child into the world. All that matters is the things you do with the adrenaline rush you get- you can get a lot of arrangements done in the short period. However, if you feel that things are getting out of hand with all the fretting, make sure to pay a visit to the doctor.

Also Read: Third Trimester Pregnancy Checklist