Women experience the nesting urge to varying degrees. For some, it's extreme. "I was so obsessed with cleaning in my third trimester that I actually took apart my vacuum to sanitize all the parts," says Jessica Nelson, a mother in Huntington Beach, California. For others, it's far more subtle: Maybe they hole up in the nursery alphabetizing books. And some women don't feel any urge at all, preferring to spend their last weeks relaxing -- something they won't get to do once the baby comes home.
Intense nesting is often seen more in first-time moms, says Dr. Brizendine. "Women who've already been through childbirth tend not to get as obsessed with preparing for a new baby." The lack of a nesting urge can be perfectly normal in first-time mothers too, but it also might be a sign of anxiety. "Some women who are worried about the labor, the delivery, and their baby's health don't let themselves nest because they're too preoccupied with what might go wrong," explains Dr. Hutcherson. "I tell these moms to just make sure that they have the basics, like diapers, bedding, and a car seat, before the baby arrives."