Why Do Pregnant Women “Nest?”

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One of the famous stories about my arrival into the world centers around my mother’s crazy nesting that she had the night of my birth.

After enjoying a night of bowling at nine months pregnant, she decided the kitchen needed a nice spring cleaning. So, she did what any pregnant woman about to pop would do—she moved the refrigerator to clean under it.

“I didn’t think anything of it at the time!” my mom laughs.

You can’t really talk with or about pregnant women without hearing a similar story. Pregnant women everywhere, in all time and across all countries, experience some form of “nesting.” Studies have pointed to the thought that many of the hormones that occur during pregnancy, such as oxytocin and prolactin can contribute to a mother’s urge to nest in order to facilitate bonding with her newborn. 

{ MORE: Go Ahead and Pry My Coffee Out of My Swollen Pregnant Fingers, Because I'm Not Giving It Up }

Aside from the desire to create a safe and loving space for our babies, nesting seems to have a practical purpose as well. For women back in the day, nesting could have been nature’s way of ensuring that a woman was prepared to have a space to put her baby. The fact that the drive to nest kicks in before the baby is born is a protective mechanism. After all, trying to put together that twig cradle after giving birth would be a pretty awful task, right?

Unfortunately for my husband, that protective mechanism meant that with the birth of our third child last July, he was awakened to my vacuuming our entire house at 4 A.M.

As I calmly packed our hospital bag (it was our third child afterall, right?) he wondered out loud what on earth I was possibly doing.

But hey—a pregnant momma’s got to do what a pregnant momma’s got to do.

Even if that means vacuuming your floors before you head to the hospital.  

{ MORE: "Yes, I'm Due Tomorrow!" and Other Lies I Tell Complete Strangers About My Pregnancy }

What kind of “nesting” did you do before your baby was born?

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What do you think?

Why Do Pregnant Women “Nest?”

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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3 comments

  1. RhiannonS says:

    I have a husband and a 3 year old daughter. If i mention i’m doing laundry or cleaning the house i get told i’m nesting… no i’m trying to make it look like i don’t live in the destruction path of a tornado…

  2. Ashley says:

    I have been told that I am "nesting", but to be honest I’m not one of those pregnant women that enjoy taking it easy. I have constantly been organizing, washing clothes, and packing for the big day! I guess I don’t know how to be anything but busy.

  3. Sara says:

    everyone always said "Oh, you’re nesting" any time i did anything getting-ready-for-baby related and i was like no, it has to get done, so i’m doing it.

    though, the week after she was born i did clean under the fridge, but hey, i was used to working 10 hour days and maternity leave was already getting to be looooong and boring!

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