What Is Nesting In Pregnancy, AKA Why Am I Scrubbing The Bathroom Ceiling… Again?

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We probably don’t have to tell you that you’ll go through a lot of changes during your pregnancy — some more enjoyable than others. But one you may not be quite as familiar with is also, in our opinion, one of the most fun. Or, at the very least, one of the most productive. Yep, we’re talking about nesting!

If you’re tempted at this very minute to fold your unborn child’s teeny-tiny socks for the 100th time, well, you’re probably already in the thick of it. If you’re not quite there, get ready. Before you know it, you may be inexplicably compelled to clean and organize (or re-organize, as it were) every nook and cranny of space your baby might come into contact with.

So, in preparation, let’s explore this unique maternal phenomenon.

What is nesting?

The American Pregnancy Association describes nesting as “the overwhelming desire to get your home ready for your new baby.” Even if pregnancy has drained every ounce of extra energy from your body, nesting might actually reinvigorate you. If you wake up one morning feeling exuberant and ready to turn your house upside down in the name of baby, it’s probably upon you. What nesting will look like for you could look completely different for another mama. But you’ll know it when it hits. At its core, it’s a driving feeling that you need to “feather your nest” before baby’s arrival.

When do women start nesting?

Nesting can strike at any time, per the American Pregnancy Association. If you’re pregnant when spring rolls around, the urge to spring clean might kick your nesting into high gear. If you were a super-tidy person prior to pregnancy, nesting might be part of your entire pregnancy.

You may never feel like nesting, and that’s okay too. Just as every baby is different, every mama’s journey to baby is different as well. Nesting simply might not be something you experience. Or, you may feel that same sense of urgency but delegate the actual sprucing up to your partner. It’s your pregnancy and you nest (or not) if you want to.

Does nesting mean labor is near?

If you spend any amount of time reading online pregnancy forums (and, let’s be real, what expectant mama doesn’t?), you’ll notice many women tend to report that nesting hits during the home stretch. This is, in fact, a very common time for women to experience nesting in pregnancy. It’s entirely possible for you to experience it sooner, though. Either way, it will more likely than not peak during your third trimester as our delivery date draws near.

Why do women nest in pregnancy?

Theories abound about this maternal phenomenon. Some speculate that nesting is born out of boredom and frustration — busy work to distract you from the fact you’ve been pregnant a zillion years. Others assume that nesting is rooted in control. There’s so much you can’t control in pregnancy that you’re subconsciously desperate to take charge of something.

But perhaps the most popular consensus is that nesting in pregnancy is a primal instinct going back thousands of years. Our ancestral mamas instinctively knew that providing a safe and comfortable environment was conducive to attachment between mother and infant. Need more proof that nesting is natural and instinct-driven? Look at nature. Animals “nest” in much the same way.

Are there any things nesting mamas should avoid?

You’ve got to remember to give yourself a little grace, Mama. Will everything be 100 percent perfect by the time baby arrives? No. And you know what? That’s fitting since parenthood is a study in beautiful chaos. Besides, the tiny human you’re preparing everything for doesn’t give a hot damn whether the curtains in the nursery match the bedding set or if their onesies are neatly folded. They’ll be too busy eating, sleeping, pooping, and stealing your heart to notice anything else.

Bearing that in mind, be careful. Don’t let your nesting instinct drive you to do anything reckless, like trying to move a dresser across the room or climbing up a tall ladder to clean out your home’s gutters… again. Get your nesting on, yes. But also make sure you get some rest. You’ll need some of that extra energy once your little peanut finally arrives.

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