Pregnant women and "nesting"

My boss is 7 months pregnant. Yesterday, in a sudden burst of energy, she cleaned and rearranged her office. She attributed this to “nesting”, saying that pregnant women get urges to do things like this. I had never heard of such a thing.

I have very limited experience with pregnant women (single, no kids, thank god), but this makes sense to me. Perhaps it is an instinctual holdover from the time when we made nests out of tall grass and leaves and such, like the mountain gorillas.

Is there any scientific evidence of an increased nesting instinct in pregnant women? If no science, any anecdotal evidence for or against such a thing?

I’m not sure it has anything to do with tall grasses etc. but there seems to be some instinct that kicks in when a woman becomes pregnant. Excessive cleaning and rearranging are fairly common but it’s hard to tell whether this is instinctual or just good common sense (would you want to bring a new born into a dirty, disorganized house?). I think it varies widely among different people with some women exhibiting more “nesting behaviors” than others. But I think it’s a real phenomenon and that it is quite natural. Men, on the other hand…

I don’t know about scientific studies or evidence, but anecdotal I’ve got in spades. A lot of pregnancy books talk about this and the term used is, indeed, “nesting.”

I know many pregnant women who get it in their heads that something must be cleaned or organized. It might be something about which they never gave a rat’s ass before. For me, it was our baseboards. Plus I felt the need to stock up on toilet paper. I kept obsessing about how awful it would be to have to make some midnight run to the store, newborn baby in tow, to get toilet paper. So I bought 6 rolls or more every time I went to the grocery store. I could have held my own white sale.

I don’t know what the mechanism is, but it’s a powerful thing that can make me get down on my knees and scrub baseboards. I also cleaned my husband’s car out on my due date. A hugely pregnant woman maneuvering around the inside of a Civic Coupe was surely entertaining for the neighbors.

OMG, me too! I actually had an entire closet dedicated to TP, paper towels, boxes of tissue and light bulbs. My Hubby thought I was insane.

I also started frequenting warehouse stores and started a stockpile of cleaning supplies in the basement (nevermind that we had a maid service).

The entire month before I delivered I cooked enourmous amounts of food and would eat some for dinner and freeze the rest so I wouldn’t have to cook after I delivered. I still had some in the freezer when we moved, 11 months later. :rolleyes:

The day I went into labor, I picked up 6 cases of the soda my hubby drinks and decided to get the oil changed in my car about 700 miles before I had to. (Though I forgot to renew the emissions test, resulting in a ticket when she was 3 weeks old.

I was a complete nutjob.

My landlady claims that she went peanut butter mad when she was pregnant. She didn’t actually eat much of it, but for reasons unknown she felt compelled to buy a fresh jar every time she went shopping. The final count: ten big jars, all “Jif”, all chunky.

Anecdote from Rosemom–

She tells me that the lower part of our yard flooded a couple of days before my brother was born. That part of the yard contained her garden, and, specifically, the cabbages. For reasons that she cannot explain, she felt it was necessary to go down there and harvest cabbage on her knees, in several inches of water.

Heaven help the newborn who doesn’t have 49 pounds of fresh cabbage on hand :wink:

Oh, my! Pretty funny ones! I also know of no studies of this behavior, but it is pretty accepted that it happens, often hitting intensely about 2-4 weeks before the due date (but that varies).

My nesting urge consisted of vaguely feeling like doing the laundry. Once. I stayed in bed until the urge went away (about an hour). I detest doing laundry. (epeepunk considers this to be a true ‘nesting’ reaction in me - I never WANT to do housework, though I can do it.)

My mom says that with one older sister, she had four-plus weeks of intense nesting urge (said sister was overdue). She had cleaned the whole house (baseboards with a toothbrush!), and the windows, organized the kitchen (twice, I think), and had cleaned other things too fierce to mention - like, the hubcaps of my dad’s car (apparently early in the morning), and also she edged the lawn with a knife (by hand, that is). You know how babies need a nice neat lawn to come home to! They finally induced her. She was contemplating cleaning the car engine at that point. (I’m imagining my mom, 9+ months pregnant, hacking at the lawn with a steak knife at 7:30 in the morning…)

My sister-in-law arranged her spice cabinet alphabetically.

I can’t remember exactly what I did but I do remember sethd joking “Oh. You must be nesting.”

I cannot believe ElDestructo never heard of the nesting instinct. You must not have close relatives or friends with children. Nesting is known world wide.

I have seen stories of women who have an overboard nesting instinct who do crazy things like actually building “nests” around their living areas out of piles of clothes or newspapers or towels, etc. I have no idea how common that is but I have seen several magazine articles on the phenomenon.

My own nesting story. When I was nearing Dday with #2, my husband was busy adding in two large closets in our room.

There was drywall dust everywhere. Our old walk in closet was being turned into an office and tons of clothes were all over our bedroom. I couldn’t get anything done for weeks ( because he could only work on it at night and weekends.)and it drove me mad.

My blood pressure actually went up. I diverted my attention to cooking, and anyone who knows me knows that that is soemthing I never do.

After I had my daughter, I said to the nurses and doctor, “I Had to have her so I could stop cooking.”

Color me educated.

jdimbert, I have several relatives, but not too many friends with children. Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention.

Rosebud, your story reminded me of a story my grandmother told me about my mom when she was pregnant with me. Apparently the day before I was born, my mom spent the whole day planting potatoes in the garden. This was always cited in family circles as the reason I love french fries so much.

With all this anecdotal evidence, I’m suprised there hasn’t been some sort of study on this phenomenon. Sure sounds like research grant fodder to me.