Nesting behavior during human pregnancy

6. January 2014

What the popular press occasionally reports could be confirmed by scientific studies at McMaster University (Canada): Pregnant women show behaviors which can be understood as nesting behavior, comparable to behaviors in mice, rats, and hamsters (Anderson, M. A. & Rutherford, M. D. Evidence of a nesting psychology during human pregnancy. Evolution and Human Behavior, 2013, 34, 390-397). Most obvious is this behavior in the 3rd trimester: cleansing the house, bringing the belongings into order, sort stuff out, and complete existing projects. These behaviors are not only rationally planned because the women report imperative urges to do these things despite the fact that lethargy is most pronounced in the 3rd trimester. Another component of nesting behavior is the preference for familiar persons around, the preference for a familiar environment, and the particularly careful selection of the birth site. The evolutionary purpose of these behaviors is obvious: to create a protected environment for the birth and the postnatal establishment of a secure attachment to the newborn.