The nesting instinct is experienced by mammals and birds alike. Cats select a private place to give birth, and spend some time collecting rags and other materials to create a soft bed. While you may not be building a pile of old towels in the cupboard under the stairs, you may also be nesting. In humans, the nesting instinct is described as an urge to get things ready for the baby. This could feel like an uncontrollable urge to sort things out. From cleaning behind the bookcase, to de-cluttering the loft, the nesting instinct can take many forms.
It can start as early as the second trimester, although most women will experience it only a matter of weeks before the birth. You may also find that the nesting instinct leaves you feeling a desire to stay close to home.
Does it mean I’m about to go into labour?
During those last few weeks of pregnancy, you may find yourself on your hands and knees scrubbing the utility room floor, or alphabetising all the books in the nursery. However, this doesn’t mean labour is imminent. Some people believe that nesting during the last few weeks is a sign labour is near. Some women do report experiencing the nesting instinct in the last few days of pregnancy.
Follow your instincts, and get all the last minute jobs out of the way. Once it’s all finished, you’ll be able to feel calm and relaxed while you wait for the baby.
It’s also worth bearing in mind, once the baby arrives you may struggle to find the time to order all your photographs by year. Make the most of the time and energy you have during nesting, and get things ready for when baby arrives.
You may be feeling an uncontrollable urge to dust the top of the bookcase, but if it means balancing on top of a wheeled chair, it’s probably best not to. Ask your partner, or friends and family, to help with any jobs that are unsuitable for pregnant women. Climbing, balancing and lugging around heavy objects are all jobs you should avoid.
You should also be careful to avoid strong chemical smells such as oven cleaner or oil based paints. Be sure to take precautions when using cleaning fluids, and leave windows open to allow air to circulate.
If you haven’t felt any urges to clean your house, don’t worry. Not all women experience the nesting instinct.
Written by Fiona, proud owner of a toddler, @fiona_peacock
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.