Researchers from McMaster University suggest that 'nesting' behaviours, characterized by unusual bursts of energy and a compulsion to organize the household, are a result of a mechanism to protect and prepare for the unborn baby.
Researchers asserted that women also become more selective about the company they keep, preferring to spend time only with people they trust.
In short, having control over the environment is a key feature of preparing for childbirth, including decisions about where the birth will take place and who will be welcome.
Marla Anderson, lead author of the study and a graduate student in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour, said that nesting is not a frivolous activity.
Anderson asserted that her team found that the adaptive behaviour peaks in the third trimester as the birth of the baby draws near and is an important task that probably serves the same purpose in women as it does in other animals.
"It ties us to our ancestral past. Providing a safe environment helps to promote bonding and attachment between both the mother and infants," she said.
The research was published online in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior.