It may not be obvious, but camping while pregnant offers several potential benefits, such as bonding time with your partner or family, low-impact activities to stay active during your pregnancy, and all the peace and relaxation that nature has to offer.
Low-impact exercise during a low-risk pregnancy can lessen the risks of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes while also reducing back pain and constipation.
However, if you have a pre-existing condition or another health issue, you should check with your obstetrician before camping or engaging in new physical activities.
If you don’t plan your camping trip appropriately, you could end up miserable.
Pregnancy makes your standard camping annoyances such as sunburn, bugs, sleeping troubles, and bathroom needs a little more difficult.
Read on to find tips that will help make your camping trip the getaway you need before the baby arrives.
1. Don’t Go Camping Alone
Camping is a great way to have some quality time with your partner before the baby is born. While it can also be a great way to test your resilience and self-reliance, a camping trip is not the best time for that.
If there is a problem, you’ll want your partner there to assist you so that you and the baby will be safe. You should also let your partner do the bulk of the carrying and set up; you’re doing enough work creating a life.
Allow your partner to take care of you as you use this time to take care of yourself.
And don’t feel bad about taking advantage of this time to relax; there will be plenty for you to do once the baby is born.
2. Make Comfort A Priority
Boondocking is not the best camping choice is you are pregnant – especially if you are in the later months of your pregnancy.
Choose a more ‘glamping’ experience, and bring your comforts from home.
Here are some things you can bring to make your camping experience more comfortable:
- A tall tent – Bending over while pregnant can be challenging, so bring a tent you can easily walk into and stand up in.
- Yoga mats or rugs – These items can make the tent floor more comfortable.
- A comfortable chair – Preferably one that reclines and has a footrest. Feet and ankles swell during pregnancy, so it is good to prop your feet and rest as often as possible.
- Comfortable shoes – Speaking of feet and ankles, bring comfortable shoes with adequate cushion and arch support.
- A portable chair – Don’t hesitate to ask your partner to carry this for you on hikes.
Sleep can be difficult enough as it is when camping, but being pregnant adds a new level of potential discomfort. For bedtime, bring the following:
- A body pillow – Sleeping on your back while pregnant can cause compression of the vena cava, restricting blood flow to the uterus and the baby. Body pillows help with side sleeping.
- An air Mattress (with optional memory foam top) – Aches and pain in the back, hips, and legs are common during pregnancy, and sleeping on a hard surface will only make them worse.
- Earplugs – As peaceful as nature can be, the constant sounds of nighttime wildlife can make it difficult to sleep.
(Sources: REI; EndlessColorado; TheDyrt)
3. Pack with Temperature Regulation in Mind
During the day, it might seem like a good idea to put on a big jacket and call it a day, but it’s easy to get hot when you’re pregnant.
If you dress in layers, you’ll be warm and have the option of removing layers when you’re too hot.
Here are some recommended layers you should consider:
- Underwear and bra – Lightweight, stretchy materials that can control moisture; avoid cotton.
- Stretchy bottoms – Options include maternity leggings or even maternity running skirts.
- Active tops – Lightweight, stretchy materials that can control moisture; bring a combination of tank tops, short sleeve shirts, and long sleeve shirts.
- Fleece maternity sweater – If the weather is getting cool but not cold.
- Ultra-light down jacket – For cold weather camping.
When it’s time to sleep, you may find a sleeping bag or blanket too much, so have a light sheet ready to use as a cover if needed.
In case the night’s temperature dips too low, and the sleeping bag is not enough, double up with a blanket.
Other items that will help you regulate your temperature are:
|To Keep You Cool||To Keep You Warm|
|Neck fan||Uninsulated Hot Water Bottle|
|Portable fan||Hand Warmers|
|Portable Air Conditioner||Heated Gloves|
|Cooling Towel||Toe Warmers|
(Sources: Backpacker; MSR Gear)
4. Bring Fresh, Clean Water (And Lots of It)
Hydration is important for everyone, but especially for pregnant people drinking for two (or more).
Pregnancy requires more water for the production of amniotic fluid, extra blood, and new tissues.
Contaminated water poses a multitude of health risks for you and the baby, such as:
- Low Birth Weight
- Preterm Birth
- Heart defects
The Institute of Medicine reports that pregnant women should be drinking at least 80 ounces of water a day. That’s just a little less than 2.5 liters of water you should bring with you on your camping trip per day.
(Sources: Healthline; TasteofHome; National Center for Biotechnology Information; CDC)
5. Be Prepared When Nature Calls
With the extra water you will be drinking, you will have pressure on your bladder, making you need to pee more frequently.
If your campsite has access to running water and restrooms, you can take advantage of these as often as possible. But what if the urge to pee strikes while out on a hike?
Squatting outdoors to pee can be risky for a few reasons:
- More of your body is exposed, so more privacy is needed.
- Since more of your body is exposed, there is also more risk of contracting poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac.
- Repeated squatting can be an exhausting strain on the thighs.
You can eliminate these problems with a female urination device (FUD), also known as a pee funnel. A FUD will allow you to pee standing up.
You don’t have to squat or find nearly as much privacy to use one. Just be sure to practice using one before you go camping.
Some recommended FUDs are:
6. Apply Bug Spray and Sunscreen in the Correct Order
While camping, it is important to be protected from biting insects and harmful UV rays as you’ll be exposed to both much more than usual.
And for pregnant women, it’s even worse; a study reported in The Lancet indicates that pregnant people attract twice as many mosquitoes as those who are not pregnant.
Combo bug repellent and sunscreen is not recommended as sunscreen and bug repellents function differently and should be applied at different intervals.
Read also: 8 Tips How to Get Rid of Black Flies While Camping (That Actually Work)
While sunscreen absorbs into the skin and needs to be applied generously, bug spray sits on top of the skin, and you only need to spray enough to cover your exposed skin.
You should also remember to reapply sunscreen at the designated times.
A study published by scientists with the US Food and Drug Administration found that four ingredients commonly found in commercial sunscreens (avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, and ecamsule) absorb into the bloodstream. Oxybenzone has been detected in amniotic fluid and breast milk.
No toxicity has been found in these ingredients, but there is still more research to be done. The sunscreens listed in the table below are made without the questionable ingredients:
*Only effective against mosquitoes
If you take precautions to remain safe and ensure comfort, camping can be a pleasant experience before your baby arrives.
Remember to let someone else do the bulk of the work while you relax, make time to rest your feet, and drink plenty of water.
If you are camping in your third trimester, be conscious of where you are and how much time you’ll need to get to medical help if the need comes up.
Making sure that medical facilities are nearby is crucial when camping during late-term pregnancy.
(Sources: Smithsonian; Brenner Children’s; PKSafety; SelectHealth; NPR; National Library of Medicine)
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