If you get an out-of-nowhere desire to scrub the kitchen floor and reorganize your baby’s sock drawer, then you might well be experiencing the “nesting” phase of your pregnancy.

Not all women feel a nesting urge during their pregnancy, but if you do, don’t hesitate to satisfy it. Just remember to keep yourself safe — don’t climb any ladders, for example —and try not to exhaust yourself. You’ll need some energy saved for delivering your baby and caring for your newborn.

Read on to learn more about nesting during pregnancy, what might be behind it, when it tends to happen, and what to do if the nesting urge happens to strike you.

What Is the Nesting Phase of Pregnancy?

Nesting is a fairly broad term, and not much research has been done on the “nesting instinct” that some pregnant women experience.

If you’re having unusual bursts of energy during your pregnancy with the urge to organize and clean your home and prepare for the arrival of your baby, then you may be among those pregnant women who experience what’s commonly referred to as “nesting.”

The nesting phase of pregnancy may also include you getting more selective about the company you keep. For example, you may only want to spend time with people you trust.

What Causes Nesting During Pregnancy?

Some researchers say nesting is a behavior that might stem from the behaviors of our ancestors. Essentially, it’s the urge to create a safe environment for you and your baby.

The nesting instinct could also stem from the practical need to assemble what's needed to take care of your baby as well as furnish a safe place for your little one to sleep.

When Does the Nesting Stage Typically Happen?

You could call just about all you do during your pregnancy to prepare for your baby’s arrival nesting. That said, for many moms-to-be, nesting urges and activities tend to get stronger around the start of the third trimester and might intensify as the due date approaches.

If this happens to you, let yourself give in your nesting urges, but be sure to save energy for labor and delivering your new baby.

What Activities Can You Do if You Get the Nesting Urge?

Nesting can be a very intense feeling, so it's worth knowing about some safe activities you might enjoy when it strikes:

  • Go list crazy. There’s something so satisfying about having your to-do items organized on a list, and checking off completed tasks can feel even better. To help get you started, here’s an extensive set of checklists for your newborn’s arrival.

  • Shop. Think of all the things that you might need or want for your baby and take some time to do some research (the best quality, the perfect color, or the right price) before you make your final purchases. Whether it’s the ideal bouncer seat, a diaper bag, or the cutest little booties on the planet, you’ll feel great knowing you’ve got those things you’ve been meaning to buy. If you get the urge to stock up on diapers as part of your nesting experience, be sure to turn those diapers into savings and rewards. Download the Pampers Club app to start.

  • Tap into your inner chef. Cooking in bulk can pay off big-time after your baby arrives. Cook large amounts of your favorite dishes and freeze them, so you won’t have to worry about much meal preparation after your baby is born. Once your newborn is home, you’ll appreciate having the time to focus on your little one or catching a little extra sleep instead of having to cook dinner.

  • Clean. Wanting to have everything spick-and-span before your baby arrives is a practical urge. Maybe you want to carefully scour the bathroom, or perhaps wiping down all the baseboards in the house sounds appealing. Whatever you decide, having things clean can be a great feeling when you arrive home with your new baby in your arms.

  • Get organized. The urge to organize is particularly characteristic of nesting. Maybe now is the time to alphabetize the canned goods in the pantry or make sure all of your baby shower gifts have been put away in their proper places. You might also find yourself wanting to wash, fold, and sort all of your baby’s clothes so that they’re placed exactly the way you’d like them in your little one’s drawers.

  • Complete your birth plan. A birth plan is an overview of your preferences about labor, delivery, and the immediate care of your newborn in the hospital or birthing center. Check out our birth plan information and template to give yourself some ideas if you’re considering creating one.

  • Pack. You might like to put your nesting energies toward packing your hospital bag or stocking your little one’s diaper bag, for example. If it’s the diaper bag you’re focusing on, these diaper bag checklists might help you with ideas. Packing something you’ll need to do at some point, anyway, so now could be the perfect time to take care of it.

Safety Considerations for Nesting

As tempting as it may be if your nesting urges are going into overdrive, it’s best to avoid heavily physical activities like painting the nursery or re-landscaping the back yard while you’re pregnant.

Here are some important things to keep in mind, especially as you get closer to the end of your pregnancy:

  • Your balance shifts as your baby grows, so you’re probably a little less stable on your feet. This being the case, avoid climbing ladders or doing activities in which you could easily fall.

  • Stay well hydrated. Dehydration can cause problems with your pregnancy.

  • Don’t get overheated.

  • Be prepared to take regular breaks. The extra weight of your pregnancy makes your heart and your body work harder, so you’ll need to take breaks and rest more often.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  • No. Among the women who get the nesting urge, some find that it tends to get stronger closer to their due date, but it’s not a definitive sign of labor.
  • Just about anything you do during your pregnancy to prepare for the arrival of your new baby could be classified as the nesting instinct. It might be going out to buy diapers, or it might be reorganizing your entire home. Either way, you could call it nesting.

Whether or not you experience a strong nesting phase during your pregnancy, there’s plenty you can do to prepare for your little one’s arrival. It’s OK if you don’t feel like cleaning your bathroom tiles with a toothbrush, and it’s equally OK if you do! Do what feels right for you and don’t hesitate to ask for help.

As you prepare for the arrival of your new baby, check out Lumi by Pampers, the world’s first all-in-one baby monitor system.

How we wrote this article The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.