At a glance
- Nesting is an urge mums-to-be get to clean the house
- Mums do it to 'protect and prepare' for their unborn baby
- It seems like an irrational need but it's totally natural
Nesting is one of those things everyone tells you you'll experience in late pregnancy – but beyond a desire to constantly hoover, what is it?
You are just weeks away from your due date and instead of sitting down, feet up, getting a well earned rest with a cuppa and a Jaffa Cake or six, you are instead intent on cleaning out the kitchen cupboards and scrubbing the skirting boards to within an inch of their lives. Welcome to the world of nesting!
So why do we do it?
What drives this irrational need to clean before the arrival of a baby? (And let's face it – it is irrational – what sane woman wants to be buffing her windows with scrunched up newspaper and vinegar in her final trimester, when she could be chilling in a candle-lit bubble bath or having her adoring partner massage her swollen feet?)
What the research says
Well, researchers at McMaster University in Canada found in a 2013 study that the urge to nest stems from an inbuilt need in a mum to 'protect and prepare' for her unborn baby.
In the same study, they also discovered that during the nesting period, pregnant women become more selective about the company they keep, and prefer to spend time only with people they trust (so just you and Mr Sheen, eh?).
The research concluded that for mums-to-be, having control over their environment is key feature of preparing for childbirth.
It's natural to nest
So there you go – you really can’t help it. And all the science aside, how cool is it that we're hard-wired to have a total cleaning blitz before baby is born, rather than having a little voice in our heads urging us to mop the floor and defrost the freezer after?
“I think my nesting has definitely set in - I tidied and Hoovered the living room before doing the school run, then came home come and cleaned all the doors downstairs and light switches and inside and out side living room windows!”