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It’s Time to Nest!

Welcome to the third trimester. You have now weathered bouts of morning sickness, breast tenderness, an emotional roller coaster, and are now finding yourself looking in the mirror and unable to remember the reflection you saw there several months ago. Life has had some definite changes, but there are more to come.

The third trimester often begins very smoothly. Around the seventh month, many moms are no longer nauseous, the belly is quite round, but everyday movement is not yet difficult, and the end no longer seems so distant.

By the time weeks 34-40 arrive, discomfort increases almost daily, getting a restful sleep is nearly impossible, and that end begins to seem far off again. While the pregnancy itself begins to grow tiresome, the excitement of finally seeing the belly’s little resident begins to build. Many moms have baby showers, decorate baby’s nursery, and begin preparing for baby’s birth and bringing baby home.

The nesting instinct

The nesting instinct in animals prepares the animal’s living space for the arrival of its offspring. Birds will prepare a nest, while a dog will look for a safe and quiet spot to deliver its young. Nesting has been described by many expectant women as an almost frantic preparation for baby’s arrival.

It is often seen as a primal urge to get every last detail in order, from the baby’s room to even cleaning every nook and cranny of the home. Sometimes, a bystander might even call the extent to which some pregnant women begin to nest as slightly irrational.

A baby takes up a great deal of time. They require round-the-clock care, leaving little time for much of anything else. Moms may fear that once the baby arrives, they will not be available for cooking, cleaning, and maintaining the household chores. Others simply want to make as little work for themselves later, so that they can fully enjoy baby, and maybe even try to get some rest after childbirth.

When to expect nesting habits

While it may happen at any time, it typically occurs in the last two to four months of pregnancy. Many women even find themselves embarking on marathon cleaning sessions days before delivery. It has been theorized that nesting in humans is a psychological clue that labor is imminent.

Moms may find themselves washing and folding every last article of baby’s clothing all in one day, no matter how fatigued she may be. The third trimester is plagued by swollen hands and feet, an aching back, and a lack of sleep. When it comes to nesting, these things do not seem to matter. You just have to rearrange that closet just one more time.

How to ‘nest’ safely

A pregnant body is easily dehydrated and fatigued. It is more important than ever to take on tasks with caution. Here are some suggestions on what to do, and even what to avoid.

  • Stay hydrated
  • Take frequent breaks
  • Avoid kitty’s litter box due to the risk of toxoplasmosis
  • Avoid strong chemicals

Even when the urge to nest takes over, try to listen to your body’s cues that it needs rest and fuel for energy. Try to remember that baby will still be comfortable and happy even if you do not feel that you have managed to finish every last detail. Once baby is home, you will be busy watching his every move, and you will quickly forget about those dusty fan blades. There are just bigger, (or smaller), things to worry about.

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