Pregnant woman sitting on a bench

Are You Caught Up in the Nesting Instinct?

When you are expecting, you can expect a lot of weird changes, not only in your body but also in your behavior. You probably find yourself rummaging through your fridge at 2 a.m., looking for greasy food. Your usual health-conscious self frowns upon it, but you could not resist it. In other instances, you pick up fights with your husband for no particular reason.
<>But perhaps the strangest thing, yet the most useful, is the cleaning spree. You have this urge to purge, and you cannot help but scrub counters or do the laundry every time an item of clothing gets added to the bin. This is called nesting.

Why It Happens

There are many theories as to why nesting occurs. Some experts look at it in terms of evolutionary instinct, with pregnant women being primed to protect their young. Just like birds building their nests, moms-to-be create a safe environment to increase chances of survival. OB-GYN specialists also note that nesting can be an attempt to be in control.

Pregnancy is such a delicate life event marked by so many uncertainties. So, anxious women can feel like they are on top of things when they get their home in order. In this regard, nesting is a coping mechanism for the stress and tension of pregnancy.

There is also an emotional aspect to this phenomenon. When you clean and organize your home, paint nursery walls, and buy baby items, the reality of having another human being in your life becomes more real. You get to “bond” with your little one even before you meet them.

How to Nest Safely

Happy pregnant woman sitting on sofa eating bowl of fresh fruit

While it is nice to give in to the nesting instincts, remember safety when doing so. For instance, you may want to repaint your home. Keep in mind that climbing ladders and handling paint and other chemicals may be harmful to you and your baby. So, avoid those kinds of nesting chores. Ask your spouse to do them instead.

It is also important to listen to your body. You may be so eager to clean up your space that you become fatigued at the end of the day. Take regular breaks and drink plenty of water.

Nesting safely does not just apply to the physical aspects of pregnancy. Your emotional health matters, too. Nesting can be a coping mechanism for anxiety. It is possible to be obsessed with purging your space to tame the worries.

You may find yourself losing sleep because you are up late at night scrubbing bathroom floors or thinking about which items to add in the nursery. If you are struggling with anxiety, consult your doctor. Learn to be open about it to your spouse, as well. You will have a sense of reassurance from that talk.

Pregnancy brings in a lot of weird changes, but they can be surprisingly handy in preparation for the arrival of your baby. Give in to the nesting instinct. But at the same time, watch out for signs of increased anxiety.