What Is Nesting During Pregnancy?
What is Pregnancy Nesting?
Have you ever heard of the pregnancy nesting instinct before?
Often toward the end of a pregnancy, a pregnant woman may find herself with incredible energy and the urge to clean and organize her house to get ready for the baby. This is called nesting, which is an instinct to prepare for the labor, birth, and coming home of a baby.
Nesting can occur in the last few weeks of pregnancy, usually in the third trimester, but it really can occur at any time. After months of being tired from carrying around a baby and some extra weight, the energy that accompanies nesting is sudden and unexpected, often catching the attention of the woman's spouse/partner, family, and friends. It may seem as if the pregnant woman is being irrational, insisting on some odd behaviors such as alphabetizing her collection of DVDs or meticulously scouring the house for the tiniest trace of dust.
If you recognize these behaviors in yourself, don't worry about it! It's your body's way of responding to an adrenaline rush that comes from realizing that your baby is almost here, similar to the instinct female animals have when preparing for the birth of their young. Read below to find out how you could be getting ready for labor, getting ready for childbirth, and getting ready for your new bundle of joy, all by nesting.
Nesting in the NurseryClick thumbnail to view full-size
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Getting Ready for Baby
From the moment a woman discovers she is pregnant, there may be one thing on her mind: I need to get ready for the baby! Having a baby can be a huge transition from being responsible for only one person, herself, to being responsible for another human being, her child. It also is a transition that comes with sacrifices; her baby is going to come into the world helpless, so the mom will need to think of her baby before she thinks of herself in all aspects of life.
That's a lot to think about! To get ready for the baby, certain things need to be considered:
- health of the mom during the pregnancy
- expenses of the baby's first year of life
- necessary baby gear and supplies
- living arrangements, specifically the baby nursery
- method of feeding (breastfeeding or bottle feeding)
- learning how to care for a baby (sleeping, bathing, feeding, diapering, etc.)
How should you prepare for these things in your own home? There are several things you can do: read some baby books, register for or buy baby supplies and gear, prepare the baby nursery, take a childbirth class, and get in contact with a pediatrician, family and friends who know about taking care of babies.
When thinking about having the baby living in your home, consider how you will organize the nursery space and keep things tidy and organized. Also think about other areas in your home where the baby and baby supplies will be, such as the kitchen, living room, bathroom, etc. and give them all a good scrubbing and decluttering a month or so before the baby arrives. Plus, even though it may not be necessary at first, plan how you would baby-proof each room or area so when your baby begins to crawl, he or she will not get hurt.
Keep in mind that while you are cleaning or otherwise preparing your home for the baby, you can easily hurt yourself. Leave all heavy lifting and moving to someone who is able to help you, such as your spouse, a family member, or a friend.
Getting Ready for Childbirth
Giving birth is part of the second stage of labor. It involves physically pushing the baby out of your body, which may take a few hours. It takes much strength and focus, so exercising and practicing relaxation techniques now can help you prepare for those hours of pushing that you face.
As you clean and organize during nesting, try to be on the move and walk around as much as possible, especially towards the end of pregnancy. Walking around is a great way to help labor progress and help the baby move down into the birth canal.
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Packing a Hospital Bag
Getting Ready for Labor
Thinking about going into labor and enduring childbirth can put any pregnant woman's mind into overdrive. The uncertainty of knowing when you're really in labor plus thinking about the pain associated with going into labor and giving birth can cause some scary thoughts.
This constant thinking about labor can make a pregnant woman do anything to keep her mind off of labor and all that it entails. She may find herself super cleaning or organizing, as mentioned above. These reactions, as long as they're not dangerous (as in climbing on top of the roof to clean the gutters, etc.), are most likely the body's way of using the extra adrenaline and giving the woman some exercises to prepare for the physical strength needed for labor.
If you find that you are constantly thinking about going into labor and giving birth, here are some things to do at home to keep your mind off of labor and birth yet prepare you for it:
- Exercise. Exercise can help clear your mind and help prepare your body for labor. There are plenty of ways you can do some exercises at home, even while cleaning or organizing. You can do squats while cleaning, especially when there are things on the floor that need to be cleaned up. You can do some easy arm exercises as you fold laundry or are putting away the groceries.
- Preparing and freezing meals. Once you have the baby, you may not want to be moving around in the kitchen too much trying to make your daily meals. Use the time you have in the month before you're due to prepare and freeze some meals that you can thaw and cook once the baby is born. Also, make sure your pantry and refrigerator is well stocked so that there is little need to make trips to the grocery store.
- Pack your hospital bag. This can be done at any time, but most women pack their hospital bag(s) about a month before they are due. For a list of items to pack in your bags, see my article What to Pack in a Hospital Bag.
- Relaxation techniques. While this isn't necessarily part of the movement involved with nesting, it can help you relax as you take a break from nesting activities. Take a moment to prop up your feet, close your eyes, take some deep breaths, and envision yourself in one of your favorite places, like the beach. Doing this a few times a day as you nest can help you stay focused and refreshed, and can also help you practice relaxation techniques you can use during childbirth.
These simple things can help keep your mind off of labor and giving birth in the last few weeks of pregnancy. Just remember to stay hydrated while exercising and to eat a healthy, balanced diet to continue to stay healthy for your baby.
If while thinking about labor and giving birth you begin to worry about needing or having a C-section, you should do some research to find out what it is like to have a c-section and recover from one. Find out more about c-sections at: How to Prepare for a C-Section or Cesarean Birth.
Nesting in Pregnancy
The important thing to remember about pregnancy nesting is to stay safe from any bodily harm, such as from doing too much at once, using harmful chemicals to clean, not taking any breaks, or trying to move heavy pieces of furniture by yourself.
Other than that, have fun with it! Put on some fun music and get yourself and your 'nest' ready for your newborn baby!