Active women who don’t want to slow down while pregnant maybe be asking themselves if they can still go camping when pregnant. With a little planning, camping during pregnancy is absolutely doable!
1. Wear Comfortable Shoes
Gym shoes are the best type of shoes to wear when camping during pregnancy. Make sure to choose shoes that will allow room for typical water retention and foot swelling.
As comfortable as flip-flops are, they are not recommended for camping during pregnancy. As you walk around outside, flip-flops do not provide proper footing and stability.
If you are in your first trimester, you may not have issues that would require being more careful with what type of shoes you wear.
As pregnancy progresses, our balance is off. Therefore, walking around outside on unstable ground would require better shoes to ensure you don’t fall.
2. Pack Comfortable Clothes & Dress In Layers
Pregnant women have more blood in their bodies than others, which causes them to feel warmer. To cope with the increased blood, a woman’s blood vessels widen somewhat, bringing blood closer to the skin’s surface and making her feel warmer.
To prevent feeling overheated, it’s recommended to dress in layers while camping when pregnant. This will allow you to easily shed a layer of clothing for quick relief when you feel you are getting too warm.
3. Bring a First Aid Kit
Along with the basics that go into all first aid kits, if you are pregnant you may be wise to pack Tums or another similar product in case you become sick.
If you will be camping while pregnant in your first trimester, you are likely to experience some morning sickness.
Crackers don’t belong in your first aid kit, but you’ll want to bring those as well to help settle a possible upset stomach.
4. Pack Your Doctor’s Information
Doctors strongly recommend that if you will be camping while pregnant that you bring your doctor’s information with you. Also important to keep with your doctor information are any relevant things about your pregnancy that would be a benefit to know in case of an emergency.
For example, are you a diabetic? Have you had any previous difficulties in your pregnancy worth noting? How far along are you?
A simple index card would come in handy to log this information and should be kept in a place both you and your camping buddy are familiar with.
5. Don’t Bring Spicy Foods
While consuming a lot of spicy food isn’t harmful to your baby, it might have some negative consequences for you. Nothing to be concerned about, however, fulfilling a craving during pregnancy may not always be worth the subsequent heartburn, indigestion, and GI irritation.
If you are camping when pregnant and in your first trimester, spicy foods won’t really do much harm.
Yet for those in their second and third trimesters, eating spicy foods will likely cause the following symptoms:
- Diarrhea, bloating, and gas
Heartburn is especially prevalent as the growing uterus pushes up against the stomach in turn pushing stomach acids up into your esophagus.
So why not avoid being miserable on a camping trip and simply steer clear of misery?
6. Make Sure to Have Healthy Snacks Handy
It goes without saying that you should bring snacks with you while you’re camping. Yet what’s often overlooked when camping is eating healthy. When camping during pregnancy, it’s especially important to not lose track of healthy food intake.
Below are some healthy snack ideas:
- Cottage cheese with mandarin oranges
- Greek yogurt with granola and or fruit
- Veggies with guacamole dip
- Avocado on crackers
- Apples with cheese
- Hummus dip
The options are endless.
7. Consider Thick Memory Foam Over an Air Mattress
If you are camping while pregnant and if you are considering the use of an air mattress, I strongly encourage you to reconsider.
Air mattresses have a tendency to lose air as you sleep on them. And if you are sharing an air mattress with someone, the entire mattress moves when you move, annoying your camping partner.
Perhaps you’ve used an air mattress before and think you will be just fine. Yet you may change your mind when you’re in your third trimester.
Here’s an idea. How about testing out your air mattress before you go camping for an entire night and see how you sleep.
An alternative to using an air mattress when you are camping is to use a thick piece of memory foam.
I mean really thick, like 2 inches. I had old memory foam that I used when I went camping and it was so comfortable.
I threw my sleeping bag on top of it and slept like a baby all night in my tent.
8. Pack Comfortable Folding Chairs
When we are pregnant, there are times when we want to rest. You may want to bring two folding chairs just for you so you can sit on one while putting your feet up on the other.
Our ankles have a tendency to get swollen during pregnancy, so being able to alleviate that pressure by elevating your legs will help.
9. Bring a Pregnancy Pillow
If you haven’t tried a pregnancy pillow then you haven’t lived. Seriously. A pregnancy pillow will change your pregnancy experience by leaps and bounds. If you’re going camping while pregnant, you really should bring a pregnancy pillow with you.
Advantages of a pregnancy pillow:
- Alleviates body aches and pains
- Enhances blood circulation
- More restful sleep
Pregnancy exerts tension and pressure on the back, hips, and legs as body weight increases. Resting these body parts is critical, and you can only do it if you sleep in a comfortable position.
A pregnancy pillow will give support and comfort to these areas, as well as enough rest, alleviating aches and pains.
It is suggested for pregnant women to sleep on their sides because it improves blood circulation.
Because of an increasing belly, sleeping on one’s side may be difficult during pregnancy.
A pregnancy pillow, with its soft padding, helps you to sleep comfortably on your side, relieving and boosting blood circulation in the body.
10. Stay Hydrated
Pregnant women should drink lots of water to stay hydrated, and this is especially important if you will be camping when pregnant. Chances are you will be moving around a lot and doing a little exploring.
Try to stay on top of your liquid intake before waiting to feel thirsty. Those fluids are much more necessary than normal during pregnancy.
Water is required for the formation of amniotic fluid, the production of additional blood volume, the formation of new tissue, the transport of nutrients, the relief of indigestion, and the flushing out of wastes and toxins.
11. Plan Healthy, Easy-to-Prepare Meals
By the time dinner rolls around, you may be feeling a bit tired from a long day of camping and exploring. Having easy-to-prep meals on hand will help, especially if you’ve done a lot of the prep work at home.
Here are a few ideas to help make your mealtimes while camping less of a hassle:
- Make as much of the food as you can ahead of time before you even leave your home.
- If you plan on grilling at the campsite, being marinated in large, 1-gallon Ziploc baggies at home.
- Use paper plates and paper bowls that you can burn rather than having to wash them.
- Cut up any vegetables you will want later at home.
- Premake main dishes at home so all you have to do is heat them up at the campsite.
12. Pick the Right Destination
Depending on what trimester you are in will depend on how far away from home you decide to camp. Regardless of what trimester you are in, try to pick a location that has relatively quick access to emergency services if needed.
If you find yourself needing help and you are too far off the beaten path, you may be putting yourself or your baby’s health at risk.
13. Consider Wearing A Mask Around Other Campers
Covid has monopolized our lives for a couple of years now, and I’m just so over it. Wearing a mask in most states is now optional, yet should you bring a mask camping? It depends on your comfort level.
After all, you may find yourself mingling with camping neighbors and feel a bit uncomfortable without your mask. Having a mask in your vehicle to grab if needed might give you some peace of mind.
14. Don’t Wander Too Far Off the Beaten Path
We all love to explore when we go camping. Hiking, fishing, and local drives to check out the sites. What happens, though, when you’ve gone on a long hike and you start to go into labor unexpectedly?
If you think you will simply hike back to the campsite and deal with it there, you might be in for a surprise. I’ve had three children, and the first child I gave birth to was born on her due date, I was only in labor for a few hours, and I only pushed for 30 minutes.
So if you think because this will be the first delivery that you will have plenty of time on your side, think again. And especially don’t go wandering off on long hikes if you are in your third trimester.
The keyword here is “long” hikes. Of course, go explore! Just be mindful of how far you are going and how long it will take you to get back to your campsite.
15. Ensure You Have Cell Phone Service
Camping sometimes means losing cell service, which is one of the things I actually love about camping. There is so much technology in our day-to-day lives that getting away from it all seems so serene.
It’s important you find a camping site that isn’t so far out that you lose cell service.
I’m not a doctor, but my personal recommendation would be that if you are in your third trimester, most certainly make sure you are able to call for emergency services should you need them.
16. Be Prepared For an Upset Tummy
Camping when pregnant during your first trimester can be miserable if you are experiencing morning sickness. I know from personal experience.
Make sure that you bring some crackers with you and some old-fashioned 7-UP to help settle your tummy if you find yourself getting sick.
Hopefully, your camping partner will be understanding and empathetic void of guilt trips if you suddenly feel like laying down at the campsite rather than going hiking or fishing as previously planned.
17. Rethink Going Camping in Your Third Trimester
Hats off to you if you are in your third trimester and still feeling energetic enough to go camping. Or maybe the family has voted to go camping, and you are being a good sport and tagging along for the ride.
I would never suggest not going camping if you are in your third trimester. I would, however, say this. Going camping while pregnant in your third trimester simply requires some forethought.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Will the campsite have reliable cell service?
- Do I have the proper shoes?
- Is the campsite close enough to emergency services should they be needed?
- Have I packed my doctor’s information with my pregnancy history?
- Does the family plan on going on any long hikes or other excursions that would take me away from getting back to emergency services should they be needed?
- Do I have my bedding figured out so I’m not miserable on the tent floor?
18. Only Drink Safe Water
Many people feel comfortable drinking water from creeks thinking it’s just fine to drink.
Yet natural water can be contaminated with germs, viruses, and other toxins that can be detrimental to human health.
Water in the outdoors may appear to be pure and clean, but it can still be contaminated with hazardous microbes, parasites, and pollutants.
The World Health Organization estimates that polluted drinking water causes 485,000 diarrhoeal deaths per year.
Play it safe, especially if you will be camping while pregnant, and bring bottled water with you to have on hand at all times.
19. Be Mindful of Safe Cooking
Camping is a time to relax, but you’ll still want to be extra careful about the safety of the foods you eat when you’re camping.
It’s common to feel a bit more relaxed when preparing meals and eating during camping trips. After all, you’re camping, and roughing it is to be expected.
Just make sure that your food is handled properly so you don’t get sick. Keeping you and your baby safe is of utmost importance.
20. Avoid Bug Bites
Don’t forget your bug spray! There is nothing more miserable than countless mosquito bites and other bug bites while camping.
Although insect bites during pregnancy are generally safe, they can put you and your unborn child at risk.
Insect-borne diseases can be passed from mother to child, causing pregnancy problems. Furthermore, what appears to be an insect bite might be a sign of a more serious ailment.
21. Prevent Becoming Overheated
Camping when pregnant can be more of a concern during the summer months when the temperatures are higher.
The summer heat has a greater impact on some people than on others, and pregnant women are among the most vulnerable to overheating.
Dehydration is one of the reasons for Braxton Hicks, often known as practice contractions, and it can also induce dizziness and fainting.
Be aware of the following symptoms of becoming overheated:
- Muscle cramps
- Warm skin
When camping, be sure to drink lots of water and stay out of the direct sunlight for extended periods of time.
22. Don’t Skimp on the Blankets
Along with lots of pillows or the recommended pregnancy pillow, bringing extra blankets will add to your comfort level when laying down.
Use them to lay on. Put them between your knees when laying on your side. Don’t underestimate the number of blankets you will need and you won’t regret it.
23. Avoid High Altitudes
Planning a camping trip to the mountain? You might want to think again.
Pregnant women should avoid staying at elevations of more than 8,500 feet above sea level for more than a few days, and if possible, avoid sleeping at altitudes of more than 12,000 feet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
During pregnancy, women react differently at high altitudes. Altitude sickness symptoms include dizziness, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, headaches, and difficulty sleeping, which are all common pregnancy symptoms. It’s difficult to discern if you’re experiencing altitude sickness or are just pregnant.
However, if you’re getting less oxygen than usual and can feel it, your baby may be getting less oxygen as well.
If you become ill when traveling at greater altitudes than usual, descend to a lower height. If you continue to feel unwell after descending, get medical attention.
24. Stop Frequently During Long Car Rides
So you’re going camping. How long will it take you to get there? For long car rides, WebMD recommends stopping every hour or so and walking around for at least one minute.
Keeping the blood moving will help prevent blood clots, and stretching your legs will help eliminate that antsy feeling.
The biggest problem I had on long drives was the continual need to use the restroom. In my third trimester, the weight of the growing baby pushing on my bladder was the cause of many stops along the way.
25. Consider Your Proximity to a Restroom
Being pregnant brings with it many annoying side effects. One of which is having to use the restroom all the time.
Make sure that when you pick a campsite, you choose one that will be convenient for your routine trips to and from the restroom.
If you are in your first or second trimester, this won’t be as much of a big deal as it would be if you were in your third trimester.
The added pressure from the weight of the baby on your bladder will have you wishing you were closer to the restroom if you aren’t.
26. Rest Regularly
Even if you feel fine, make sure that you stop and rest routinely throughout the day. Camping during pregnancy can wear you out, so the added breaks from activities will help ensure you don’t overdo it.
It might be a good idea to not commit to long walks or hikes, too. You may feel fine getting to the destination, only to find that you are too exhausted to make your way back.
27. Don’t Go Camping Alone
This might go without saying, but if you are going camping when pregnant, you shouldn’t go alone. There probably aren’t many of us who would opt to go camping alone, but I’ve known people who do it.
It’s best to play it safe and stay in the vicinity of others when pregnant, even when participating in solo activities.
If you are a self-sufficient martyr and insist on going camping alone, be safe. Never camp without cell service, and make smart decisions about your activities.
28. Ensure Your Camping Buddy Is Considerate of Your Pregnancy
There is nothing more disheartening than being around someone who isn’t sympathetic to a pregnant woman’s misery. Some may have the mentality that pregnant women should toughen up and keep whining to themselves.
My hope for you is that your camping buddy will help carry things for you, understand when you are tired and need to rest, and will be compassionate and void of making you feel bad. Otherwise, pick a different camping partner, or just don’t go.
29. Bring Sunscreen
Make sure not to forget the sunscreen. The elevated hormone levels racing through your body during pregnancy make your skin more sensitive and prone to burning.
Your pigment-producing cells are working overtime, making your skin more prone to discoloration when exposed to UV radiation.
Instead of a tan, you can get a lot of freckles or even melasma, which are gray-brown areas that commonly appear on the cheeks.
When you consider how pregnancy affects the immune system, it’s easy to see why the risk of skin cancer increases when you’re pregnant if you don’t take precautionary measures.
30. Have an Emergency Plan in Place
Know ahead of time what your plan is if you happen to go into labor unexpectedly. This plan should include ensuring you don’t drift too far away from emergency services and that you always maintain a reliable cell service connection.
31. Place Your Tent Out of Direct Sun
If you are going camping during months other than during the summer, then placing your tent out of the sun probably won’t matter as much as it would matter when the temperatures are higher.
Tents have a tendency to get very hot inside during times of direct sunlight. Because pregnancy can cause a woman to overheat more easily, it’s important to avoid too much direct sun exposure.
32. Don’t Overdue the Activities
There can be so many fun things to do when going camping. Maybe fishing at the nearby lake, take a long walk to check out the scenery. And how about a nice hike?
Taking routine breaks to rest and rehydrate even if you feel just fine will help you stay feeling rested and more energetic.
33. Avoid Situations of Isolation
I don’t know about you, but I would be scared to death if I went into labor alone with no trained medical assistance.
Even if you have cell service at your campsite, just being isolated during a long hike is enough to create a situation where, if you go into labor, you can’t walk back and would have to deliver right there on a hiking trail out in the middle of nowhere.
About the Author:
Trina Greenfield is passionate about providing information to those considering growing their family. Trina does not run an adoption agency. Her website is strictly information-based, so she is able to provide unbiased, credible information that she hopes will help guide those along their journey.