Nesting during pregnancyIt’s one of the most well known phenomena of pregnancy, and not just in humans.  Nesting!

The sign that your baby’s arrival is imminent is a curious urge to clean, order and tidy, but is it an old wives tale or something that actually happens to most women?

Milton, the leading expert in sterilising, shows that 97% of mums-to-be experience the ‘nesting urge’, with almost a third showing signs of ‘extreme nesting’ behaviours such as re-decorating, renovating and even moving house. Polling its extensive Facebook audience of almost 30,000 mums, Milton found that the majority (68%) felt the urge to nest during their third trimester. Even more telling is that 70 per cent of mums noted that they gave birth within 6 weeks of experiencing this feeling, confirming that nesting is a tell tale sign that the baby is on the way.

Extreme Nesting – Constant and Repetitive Cleaning

Cleaning was top of the to do list for the nesters with 83% of mums-to-be admitting that they cleaned frequently from several times a week to several times a day and 8% of pregnant women cleaned several times an hour. Almost half (42.5%) of pregnant women admitted to extreme cleaning which included activities such as disinfecting and bleaching windowsills, radiators, ceilings and door handles.

Organising and re-organising

Two of the most common activities during the nesting period included re-organising cupboards and shelves and sorting babies clothing over and over again by size and type. Many mums also said they wrote lists to get organised (65.2%), and half of mums even said they threw out perfectly good towels, sheets and clothes, just to buy in new ones. Some mums even admitted to ripping up and replacing carpets (1 in 10 mums) and regularly mowing the lawn (6% of mums)! And it’s not just the women – 52% men also showed nesting tendencies too.

Money (Not Sex) On the Mind

With the pending arrival of baby No. 1, the majority of first-time mums (81%) spent anywhere between £500 to £3,000 on preparing for their new-born; some even spending over £3,000. That said; spending was reeled in for baby No. 2, with 55% admitting spending £500 or less on preparations for their second child.  Nesting is no doubt exhausting, leaving little room for romance with 48% women admitting that their sex drive decreased during the nesting period.

Everyone tells you about that natural nesting instinct; at a time when the expectant mother should be resting with her feet up, she often finds herself indulging in this pre-labour ritual that involves anything from defrosting the freezer to re-organising the kitchen cupboards” 

Research suggests nesting is an inbuilt need to protect and prepare for the arrival of a new baby and helps to get the home ready for your baby before life becomes to hectic. Whilst this is completely normal behaviour, it’s important to be sensible; no overstretching, reaching or heavy lifting and avoid anything too risky.

Midwife, Health Visitor and expert advisor to the mother and baby industry, Katie Hilton.

For more information about the signs your baby is on the way, or tips and tricks to get labour started, visit our ‘Am I in Labour’ section.