A pregnant woman's urge to nest

Interesting facts about a pregnant woman's urge to nest

A recent survey says that 97% of pregnant women have the nesting urge. What's more, for extreme nesters nothing short of moving house will do. Midwife and health visitor Katie Hilton tells us what's behind this, and what some mums-to-be get up to.


The survey by Milton, 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 almost 30,000 Facebook mums, Milton found that the majority (68%) felt the urge to nest during their third trimester. A total of 70 per cent of mums noted that they gave birth within six weeks of experiencing this feeling, confirming that nesting is a tell tale sign that the baby is on the way.

We talk to registered midwife and health visitor Katie Hilton about what this all means.

What is it that causes the nesting instinct in pregnant women?

There is no scientific evidence with regards to what causes nesting, there is however an increase in the amount of adrenaline flowing through the body in the latter part of pregnancy, which could be a contributing factor. It is also thought to stem from a natural instinct to prepare for birth and the new baby and natures way of preparing to nurture a child and provide a safe secure environment. Both humans and many animals demonstrate a nesting urge. Some people relate it to boredom and frustration of being pregnant, recognising that caring for a new baby is going to take up a lot of time so everything needs to be ready before the baby arrives and a mixture of excitement and anticipation of the impending arrival and wanting everything to be just right before bringing baby home.

When are you likely to experience this?

Nesting can occur as early as 20 weeks of pregnancy (5th month), but generally occurs from around 36 weeks (8th month) onwards with an increase in the last couple of weeks before delivery.

How long is it likely to last?

Most but not all women will experience the nesting urge just during the last couple of weeks of pregnancy whilst they prepare for the arrival of their newborn, this urge will then die down just before the baby is born when they will spend some time resting, putting their feet up and wondering when their bundle of job will arrive!

Most pregnant women experience nesting urges, are most on an extreme scale?

The Milton research showed that up to 30% of women will show signs of 'extreme' nesting with behaviours such as re-decorating, renovating and even moving house. Most women however will experience an urge to prepare their house and do basic household chores, some women may not even experience a nesting urge and worry why they haven't felt the need to prepare for their baby.

What are the most common signs of the nesting urge?

Anything from deep cleaning the entire house, painting rooms, organising cupboards and wardrobes, cleaning and arranging baby clothes, defrosting the fridge and freezer, cleaning all the tiles in the bathroom, stocking up the freezer with cooked meals.

What are the most common things for pregnant women to do as a result?

For most women the nesting urge involves cleaning the house, washing all of baby's clothes and arranging them in drawers are also common activities.

What are the most extreme reactions to nesting you have come across?

I have come across a number of women who have painted entire rooms alone at around 40 weeks pregnant, climbing up step ladders to clean high-up locations, scrubbing bathroom floors on hands and knees.


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