The night that I went into labor with my youngest daughter, I felt this overwhelming desire to clean the baseboards in the bathroom. Suddenly, I knew that I couldn’t deliver a baby and bring her home to a house where the bathroom baseboards were dusty. And that’s how I found myself, 9 months pregnant, cleaning the bathroom baseboards.
My experience isn’t unique. Many women find themselves inexplicably overwhelmed by the desire to clean just before baby’s arrival. But does nesting mean labor is on the way?
Nesting may begin early in your pregnancy.
For some women, nesting doesn’t happen just before labor. Some women feel the need to get their home ready for baby (to prepare the nest) during the second trimester when their energy level is higher than it was in the first trimester and will be in the second trimester. Parenting Weekly notes that it may take place as early as your fifth month of pregnancy. In these instances, nesting is not a sign of impending labor.
All women may experience the nesting urge differently.
If you do feel the urge to nest, note that it may be different for every woman. When I was pregnant with my second daughter, for instance, I nested by making sure everything was in place for my older daughter-who’d watch her, lists of what her days were like, contingency plans in case I went into labor in the middle of the night…my mind swirled with all of the possibilities. My nesting wasn’t about cleaning-and yours might not be either. Therefore, it’s hard to determine whether or not the nesting instinct does indicate that labor is on the way.
There’s not a study that directly links the nesting instinct to impending labor.
Though women often talk about it and it’s mentioned in baby books and across the web, there haven’t been studies to determine a biological cause behind nesting and whether or not there’s a direct link between nesting and impending labor. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist-it just means there’s no exact timeline for the onset of labor in relation to the nesting instinct.
In your first or second trimester, nesting appears to be a desire to get the house ready for baby. However, in later pregnancy, nesting may be a sign that labor’s on the way. So if you’re 9 months pregnant and feel the urge to clean the baseboards, make sure your hospital bag’s packed first…just in case.
Parenting Weekly; Nesting Instinct; http://www.parentingweekly.com/pregnancy/pregnancy-symptoms/nesting-instinct.htm