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Nesting Instinct in Pregnancy

The nesting instinct manifests itself in women at the end of pregnancy. It is expressed in an irresistible desire to prepare the house for the birth of a child. A woman begins to constantly clean up and can even start repairs in the house. Nesting is characterized by fanaticism and obsession with cleanliness and comfort.

This symptom is characteristic exclusively of pregnant women and is directly related to the instinctive impulses to ensure a comfortable stay of the child in the house. Fussiness before childbirth is aimed at creating comfort and cleanliness. This symptom is sometimes referred to as “squirrel syndrome”.

When Does Nesting Instinct Start in Pregnancy?

The manifestation of the nesting instinct is typical for the end of the third trimester. It is during this period that the excitement of a woman before childbirth begins. She is worried about whether everything is ready for the birth of the baby. She begins to solve many issues too radically, which sometimes goes beyond the boundaries of reason. The end of the third trimester is the most disturbing period of gestation.


The nesting instinct most actively manifests itself at the 39th and 40th weeks with a full gestation period. It is believed to occur about two weeks before delivery. Some people attribute this symptom to the harbingers of childbirth. Nesting syndrome is likely before the 39th week with an earlier pregnancy. He can begin to disturb a woman starting from the 34th week.

Nesting Instincts weeks

When will it end?

The end of symptoms is associated with the onset of labor. The syndrome ceases to manifest itself after the 40th week of pregnancy. The symptomatology ends at the moment when signals are sent to the brain about the upcoming birth. Experts note that in some women, the remnants of the nesting syndrome persist for some time after childbirth. This can last from several weeks to several months.

How Does it Feel?

The nesting instinct is felt as a strong desire to improve the environment, make the house safer, to redo the nursery. A pregnant woman begins to worry a lot about cleanliness. She moppes floors more often, dusts and launders bed linen. She is a little anxious and feels increased energy.


The nesting instinct in its acute form stands on the brink of inadequacy. A pregnant woman may feel that she urgently needs to change her apartment, house, or area of ​​residence. She may re-start repairs or buy too many unnecessary things.


The instinct of nesting is expressed to a mild degree in a feeling of concern about everyday life. A woman can start packing her delivery bag and plan. She is fussy, energetic, and occasionally suffers from perfectionism.

The nesting instinct should not go beyond the reasonable. Absurd actions may be indicative of more serious problems.

Prevention methods

The manifestation of the nesting instinct cannot be completely excluded. A person is not yet able to change the nature of his existence, but much can be done for his mental health. It is worth doing the prevention of the psycho-emotional state before pregnancy. Strengthening your health should be the first months of pregnancy. Ways to prevent the acute manifestation of nesting syndrome:

Fight perfectionism

It is better to get rid of this trait if you notice an increased sensitivity to cleanliness and order. Try to focus less on perfection. Take a course of psychotherapy and identify the cause of this feature.

It is especially difficult to cope with perfectionism during the gestation period. The symptom will not let you rest and will simply exhaust you before childbirth. Train your psyche to adequately respond to a mild disorder.

Strive for minimalism

You can remove unnecessary things from the house in advance to eliminate the vivid symptoms of nesting syndrome. Empty your dressing room from old clothes, small in size and not used for a long time. Remove excess furniture and expand the space. Minimalism creates a feeling of cleanliness and order, which reduces irritability and normalizes the psycho-emotional sphere.

Discipline loved ones

Try to accustom your relatives to the observance of elementary norms so that there are fewer irresistible desires to clean up. Garbage should be taken out regularly, everyone washes dishes after themselves, and no one scatters things. The fewer irritants there are, the calmer the nesting syndrome will manifest itself.

Why Nesting Instinct Occurs in Pregnancy?

Some scientists attribute the appearance of nesting syndrome to hormonal surges. In particular, endorphins are considered the culprits. Their level rises significantly before childbirth. This gives a new surge of energy and encourages a woman to fuss and do unnecessary work on arranging a home.

The deeper causes of this phenomenon lie in natural and instinctive connections. Psychologists believe that nesting behavior is a coping mechanism for the stress and anxiety associated with the upcoming birth. This alternative theory finds a lot of practical evidence.

A pregnant woman seeks to establish control over the environment and the future life of the child. It is a control that helps her calm down. This is a typical psychological method of self-soothing that occurs


There are no pharmaceutical remedies for nesting syndrome. There are only a few techniques that can be used to relieve symptoms. Surrounding close people, self-control, and an adequate attitude to the symptom will help reduce the manifestation of the syndrome. Let us consider in more detail the most effective means of protection against the nesting instinct:


Make a clear plan of action before childbirth. Stick to it strictly and do not deviate even a centimeter to the side. It is necessary to draw up an action plan before the first signs of nesting appear. Include general cleaning, laundry, and the purchase of the most necessary things. Do not supplement the plan during the manifestation of instinct.


You should try to transfer your powers to other hands if you notice that the nesting symptoms are too strong. You need to direct yourself in a different direction – training, sports, hobbies. Delegation helps to remove responsibility and reduce the level of control over the surrounding space. This makes it easier to relate to the situation and reduces symptoms.

Restriction of access to finance

Give a credit card to your husband to avoid unnecessary financial waste in the acute course of nesting symptoms. Don’t carry a lot of cash with you. This will reduce the risk of making rash and spontaneous purchases. You will not be able to make expensive transactions on your own and make impulsive decisions. This will save the family budget and discipline you financially.


Be sure to seek the help of a psychotherapist if you have signs of increased anxiety. Light mess, unevenly folded things, dust on the table, and other little things should not cause you negative emotions. Seek help from a specialist if there are signs of shopaholism and if there is an aggravated fear of dirty hands or unclean surfaces. This is not about the instinct of nesting, but about mental health disorders.

What Not to Do

Do not strongly resist him when the nesting instinct appears. This is a normal natural phenomenon that we inherited from our mammalian ancestors. Such an instinct helps a woman to prepare for the birth of a baby to some extent. Don’t treat it as a negative symptom. What is better not to do with the instinct of nesting:

Do not use sedatives

These medicines are useless for nesting syndrome. They do nothing to relieve symptoms. Excess pharmaceutical products can harm the health of the child.

Do not abuse household chemicals

Sometimes you want to achieve a delightful feeling of cleanliness by using chemical detergents. Chlorine vapors, phosphates, formaldehyde, phenol, and other harmful substances are dangerous for pregnancy.

Do not cross the line of adequacy

It is better to postpone a change of residence, a grandiose repair, and other cardinal decisions until the symptoms of nesting decrease. Most likely it is impulsive desires.

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