Nesting during Pregnancy: When Does It Start, Symptoms & more

Nesting Instinct During Pregnancy

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Priyanka Kalra (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
View more Gynecologist/Obstetrician Our Panel of Experts

If you wake up one day and find yourself thinking about cleaning your house, organizing your wardrobe, repacking your hospital bag, arranging the tiny clothes in your baby’s newly purchased dresser, then it could be due to the nesting instinct.

Nesting is basically an act of preparing your baby home for your baby’s arrival. This sweet maternal phenomenon might make the soon-to-be mom 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. If your baby’s arrival is due in a couple of weeks, you may get the nesting instinct anytime. Read on to learn more about it.

What is Nesting Instinct in Pregnancy?

Nesting refers to the process or act of preparing your home, or ‘nest’, to welcome the baby into your world. Nesting is a common instinct in moms-to-be; expectant birds have this instinct, expectant cats feel it too, and so do many other animals during pregnancy. Generally, a nesting mother prepares the home in order to ensure the safety of the newborn. She might engage in baby-proofing the home, deep cleaning it, sometimes even doing loads of laundry. Female nesting is not harmful in any way. Women have also been observed to stay closer to their home when the nesting stage during pregnancy arrives.

Does Every Pregnant Woman Nest?

Not all expecting mothers go through the nesting period. In fact, it was found in a survey that three-fourths of all expecting women go through the nesting phase, while the rest did not. It does not signify the health of a 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, the nesting instinct can strike a pregnant woman as early as the second trimester. This is because the energy levels of a woman that stage, and she might find herself channelling all this energy into cleaning her home. However, nesting is sure to affect a woman closer to the due date, in the last weeks of pregnancy. Adrenaline flows through at high levels during this time, and a woman usually tackles that by improving her 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.

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 about it, like the impact the child may have in your professional life. Other common signs include an unstoppable urge to clean every part of the house, do the laundry and organize everything you see at home. These signs indicate that you will become a mother soon, and that is a good thing because mothers become more accustomed to the idea as time progresses. However, it is important that you don’t get over obsessed with it.

Is Nesting a Symptom of Labour?

Nesting instinct before labour is not a symptom of it as 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. Some women may not get the nesting instinct 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 Does Nesting Instinct Continue in Pregnancy?

In most cases, the nesting instinct reduces after the newborn baby arrives. 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 and so they have no energy left for any other activity. This also means that they don’t have enough time for normal household chores, so they may not get the sudden urge to clean the house as they did earlier. Due to this lack of energy, time and motivation in the mother, nesting instinct drops 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 too. ‘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 mellow in other pregnancies. You may find yourself repeating the previous activities to satisfy the craving. Second time around, you may find yourself getting the old baby clothes out and installing the toddler seat in the car.

Do Expectant Fathers Also Nest?

Male nesting is not a common occurrence, but you might find your partner helping out while you frantically clean the house. 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. Avoid the following while you go about organizing and cleaning your home for your baby’s arrival:

  • 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. Stay hydrated and take regular breaks.
  • If you experience anxiety and are 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. However, if you feel that things are getting out of hand with all the fretting, make sure to visit your doctor.

Also Read: Third Trimester Pregnancy Checklist

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