If you have been waking up in the middle of the night with a need to make sure the kitchen is clean, or you have been packing and unpacking the nursery cupboards to make sure it is perfect –don’t worry, you have not suddenly developed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. You are just going through a very normal phase of pregnancy that is called ‘nesting’.

In fact, nesting is so natural that animals do it. The primal instinct to prepare for a newborn is seen across many species. The term ‘nesting’ actually comes from birds building nests in preparation for their babies.

Nesting during pregnancy is important because it gives you a sense of control and accomplishment. There are many things that are out of your hands during pregnancy, and preparing for your baby, and making sure everything is just right for their arrival can let you take some of that control back. The accomplishment you feel, and the rush of endorphins you get when you complete a task – even if it is colour-coding a wardrobe, is something that helps you gain confidence in becominga mother.

As natural as this process is, it also needs to be done in moderation. If you are trying to rearrange furniture by yourself, you can put strain on your body and on your baby. Remember you shouldn’t be lifting anything heavy, and anything you do lift – you should keep your back straight and bend your knees (like a weightlifter). If your nesting kicks in late, try refrain from painting the nursery just before baby is due. Although most paint fumes aren’t harmful to baby (as they have stopped using lead to make paints), the fumes can be too strong for your little ones senses and yours.

When you are scrubbing your house down with a toothbrush, make sure whatever cleaning agent you are using is safe. If there are any chemicals in it that can be harmful to you through inhaling the fumes, don’t use it. If the chemical is only harmful to the touch, make sure you wear gloves.

Other than those safety precautions, enjoy the burst of energy you get before the baby arrives. Use it to sort out your house, pre-make dinners that can be frozen and pack your hospital bags, so that when baby comes, those are not things you have to worry about.

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