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Does Nesting Mean Labor Is About To Begin? An Expert Explains

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For many pregnant moms, the nesting phase of pregnancy can provide calm and happiness, but also a bit of stress since the urge is usually known to come in the last stretches of pregnancy. You're preparing and organizing for your newborn, knowing they'll be in your arms soon, but does nesting mean labor is about to begin? Is there a way to actually calculate the timing? If you're sorting your future baby's onesies by color and brand, does that mean your water is just moments away from breaking? (Hey, another reason to ignore the laundry.)

According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), pregnant moms often get a sudden urge to prepare their home for the new baby, and this urge, known as nesting, is strongest in the last weeks of pregnancy, nearer to delivery. The APA explained that not all pregnant women experience nesting, and for the most part, there’s no way to know why it happens. For some women, nesting can be brought on by the seasons, like spring and summer, while for others it can be due to boredom from pregnancy, or it can be a measure to create order in anticipation of the chaos a baby brings. But is there a certain time frame between nesting and labor that can indicate when you will deliver?

The APA noted that there is an old wives' tale that suggests the urge for nesting means your labor will come on soon. But since you shouldn’t put all your faith in that kind of "expertise," Romper spoke to an expert.

According to OB-GYN Mary O’Toole from Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills, California, there’s no way to really know when you’ll go into labor, regardless of when you start nesting. "It is hard to say how soon after nesting that a woman may go into labor, because we do not acutely know what causes labor to start,” says O’Toole. “It could be a day or it could be weeks.”

So there is no definitive timing between nesting and labor, but if you’re in your last weeks of pregnancy, you won’t have to wait long anyway. Because pregnancy seems like it lasts forever, the last few days can really test your patience, so just keep nesting, knowing your baby will be home soon enough. (And trust me, you'll be too sleep deprived to keep up with that elaborate wardrobe organizing you've been doing.)