Pregnancy can be a tempestuous journey. Between morning sickness, hormonal changes and nervous anticipation, it’s likely your daily routine isn’t what it once was. Many pregnant moms-to-be experience what is known as “nesting”, which is a natural instinct commonly occurring in the third trimester. Nesting is often described as the innate need to get everything ready for the arrival of a new baby, and while it may take you by surprise, it is an entirely normal aspect of being an expectant mother.
What Is Nesting?
When expectant mothers begin nesting, they often experience a burst of excitement, energy, and a compulsive need to clean and organise their surroundings, AKA their nests. Nesting can be an exhausting process - the last few weeks of your pregnancy are invariably tiring, and you’ll likely be experiencing aches and pains. However, our instincts often override physical discomfort. Research suggests that nesting is a form of programmed adaptive human behaviour stemming from our evolutionary roots driving expectant mothers to protect their unborn babies from danger. While the exact cause of nesting is still hotly debated, experts generally agree that it is a beneficial practice that grants parents an element of control over their situation. Here are some signs that indicate you have reached the nesting stage.
You Have The Compulsion To Clean
You may not have the energy for it, but the house must be 100% spotless at all times. Cleaning products in hand, you’re currently racing around scrubbing every nook and cranny - behind the couch, under the stairs, the back of the kitchen cupboards; you name it. Furthermore, you’re probably continuously deep-cleaning household furnishings and surfaces to make sure they’re completely sterile and baby-safe.
Organise Then Reorganise
Having everything organised and ready to go is a significant part of preparing for your baby’s arrival. Your drawers and cupboards may be stocked with nappies, wipes, formula and baby clothes. Still, your nesting instincts might be telling you to reorganise them again and again for optimal efficiency. This behaviour may also extend to the rest of your house - you will likely find yourself reorganising the kitchen cupboards, your wardrobe and even work-related items.
Batch cooking is an excellent way to ensure you have a steady supply of tasty, nutritious meals for when time is tight, and energy levels are low. Caring for a newborn can be exhausting, leaving you little time to cook decent meals. To save you from living off instant ramen and takeout, it may be worth batch-cooking dishes to store in the freezer. If your nesting instincts have already kicked in, your freezer is probably fully stocked.
Making Mad Dashes To The Store
If you’re waking up at 3 AM with the irrational need to drive to the store and purchase more baby supplies, you’re more than likely in the nesting stage of pregnancy. While you may have almost everything you need in terms of formula, clothes, baby monitors and diapers, there will always be something you’ve accidentally missed off your essentials list. You can convince yourself that you don’t need to make the trip to the baby department in the dead of night, but instincts wait for nobody.
Listing-making is a method of organisation many of us rely on. The urge to have everything present and ready for your baby’s arrival can be decidedly overwhelming at times, and making lists of everything you require and have yet to do is a healthy and beneficial coping mechanism. Prioritising items on your lists will help you determine what needs your immediate attention and what can be left until a later date.
You’re Experiencing Irritability
Pregnancy can be a stressful period, physically and emotionally. Most pregnant women experience anxiety, irritability and mood swings due to hormonal changes, and while this is normal and expected, nesting can often exacerbate symptoms. If your living environment isn’t up to your high standards, you would be forgiven for feeling helpless and exasperated. Sit down with your family and explain your feelings, requesting everybody pitch in that little bit more to help quell your anxiety. That said, if your feelings of stress and low mood become increasingly difficult to handle, speak with your obstetrician or midwife.