Fresh air, exercise and an abundance of nature – there’s no denying that camping while pregnant can be a beautiful and fantastic experience.
If you are planning a camping trip while pregnant, it’s important to make sure you are fully prepared beforehand, especially as some of your needs will change compared to your pre-pregnancy days.
So in this article we will look at 10 tips to help you stay safe and make the most of what should hopefully be a memorable trip.
Let’s jump straight in.
Can You Go Camping While Pregnant?
If this is your first time camping while pregnant, you’re probably wondering if it’s a safe activity for moms-to-be.
The good news is yes, provided you have a healthy pregnancy, camping is typically safe for pregnant women.
A camping trip (along with hiking and backpacking ) can be a good way to escape the stresses of everyday life, and many couples say it’s a great way to spend some quality time with your partner or friends before your little one is born.
However, as you’re probably more than aware, pregnant women have specific needs and there are some additional considerations to bear in mind, so here are our top tips to help you relax, stay safe and enjoy your trip.
Related: The Complete Guide To A Happy & Healthy Pregnancy
Top Tips For Camping While Pregnant
1. Travel In Comfort
The first piece of advise for moms-to-be going planning a camping trip is to ensure the journey is as comfortable as possible.
That means if your destination is a long way from home, it’s a good idea to stop several times on the way, and to get out of your car to walk around and stretch your muscles to protect against deep venous thrombosis (blood clots).
Being pregnant means you also need to use the bathroom more often, so that’s another reason why you should be prepared to stop often.
And with these extra stops, be sure to build in plenty of buffer time into your itinerary rather than trying to rush the journey too much.
2. Proximity To Bathrooms
On a similar note, with all those trips to the bathroom, it’s a good idea to check the restroom situation at the site you’re planning to stay at.
Ideally you want to ensure you are not too far away from the restrooms, and that of course they are clean and hygienic.
Failing that, packing a portable toilet could be an worth considering, especially if you are prone to going in the middle of the night!
3. Avoid High Altitudes
Did you know that experts recommend pregnant women avoid high altitude as you may experience exaggerated breathlessness and palpitations – there goes that ski trip you were planning!
This is particularly important because common symptoms of mountain sickness (such as insomnia, headache, and nausea) are also pregnancy side-effects, meaning it’s difficult to distinguish the cause of these symptoms.
So you are best off choosing a campsite at a low altitude, and to always take it easy when ascending to higher elevations during your trip.
4. Pack Comfortable Sleeping Gear
The next piece of advice when planning a camping trip during pregnancy is to buy and pack the most comfortable sleeping gear possible.
Some women prefer to therefore skip the sleeping bag completely in favor of a duvet.
Other ways to make yourself more comfortable include taking your pregnancy pillow and packing a thicker than normal sleeping pad or air mattress.
Either way, have a think about what will make your night time experience more comfortable, because not much will spoil your trip more than several bad night’s sleep in a row.
5. Take High Protein Snacks
Health experts advise that pregnant women eat around 300 extra calories per day while they’re expecting.
Not all calories are equal however, so it’s important to ensure these extra calories come from nutrient-dense sources that are high in protein, high in good fats and low in sugar.
As we covered in a recent article, there are plenty of convenient high protein snacks out there, including trail mix, oats, peanut butter with apples, protein bars and rice cakes with nut butter.
The great thing about all these is they don’t need refrigeration, making them an excellent snack for both your journey and during your stay.
6. Stay Hydrated
During pregnancy, experts recommended you drink more water than usual.
To be more specific, pregnant women should drink 8 to 12 cups of fluids a day, which equals about 64 ounces to 96 ounces.
And while exercising you’re going to need to increase your water intake even more.
It’s therefore helpful to remember that you should be passing urine frequently and that it should be colorless or pale yellow.
If you notice any of these signs of dehydration, it means you’re not getting enough liquid.
- Passing urine infrequently
- Dark yellow color of urine
- Dry tongue and mouth
- Stopped sweating
- Feeling tired, light-headed, or dizzy
7. Avoid Prolonged Time In The Sun
We all know the dangers of having too much sun, but did you know that higher sun exposure in the first trimester can actually reduce the likelihood of pre-term birth?
Sunshine can be great for us, especially as it’s a source of vitamin D, which is beneficial for pregnant women.
But having said this, when you are pregnant you can overheat more quickly than usual, and dehydration can be bad for you and your baby.
So while you may not need to stick to the shade at all times unless it’s very hot and sunny, make sure you use common sense and avoid prolonged sun exposure, and take the necessary precautions not to get sun burnt or become dehydrated on your camping trip.
8. Protect Against Insect Bites
You might be surprised to learn that mosquitos are proven to be more attracted to pregnant people.
The reason is believed to be twofold – changes to the your respiratory system during pregnancy mean you breathe out more carbon dioxide (mosquitos are attracted to carbon dioxide), and your warmer than usual body temperature and increased sweating acts as a way for mosquitos to find you more easily.
Some things you might want to do to protect yourself against insect bites include:
- Cover your entire body with clothing if the weather allows
- Use mosquito nets
- Use insect repellent
9. Take It Easy
Pregnancy can take its toll on your body and your energy levels.
Whether it’s back or foot pain, getting tired more easily or tiredness from not sleeping as pre-pregnancy, never feel self-conscious about taking breaks if you need them.
You’re should be having a nice, relaxing time on vacation, so don’t feel any shame in taking things easy and getting the rest you need and deserve during your trip.
10. Ensure There Is A Hospital Within Reach
The final tip relates to your location, because you may want to consider somewhere that’s within fairly close reach of a hospital.
Some women will be comfortable camping in remote locations while pregnant, and depending on your circumstances this should be fine.
But other women who are either far along in the third trimester or are at a higher risk of complications, may want to ensure there is a hospital nearby and there’s an OBGYN on call.
What To Eat If You Are Camping While Pregnant?
The answer depends on your set-up, because if you have a heat source, electricity and an effective cooler for the journey, you may want to pack the type of food you normally eat at home.
If on the other hand your resources are more limited or chilled storage space is at a premium, then canned foods, vegetables, fruit, salads, fresh eggs, bread, crackers, peanut butter and high-protein snacks (see above) might be a good option.
Don’t forget to consume all the extra calories you need while pregnant, and remember the USDA advises pregnant women only eat meat that has been thoroughly cooked at a temperature above 160 degrees Fahrenheit, to ensure harmful bacteria like salmonella and toxoplasma are killed.
So steaks are fine provided they are well cooked, but it’s best to avoid dried meat like beef jerky, because, the drying process used to prepare the snack may not kill off all harmful bacteria.
Can Bonfire Smoke Harm My Baby?
If you’ve decided to go camping while expecting you’re probably also wondering if you can sit by a campfire when pregnant.
Or more specifically, if inhaling smoke from a fire while pregnant will harm your unborn baby.
It’s true that it’s definitely not a good idea to sit by a fire for too long, because smoke fire contains gases like carbon monoxide, that can harm an unborn baby.
Studies show that prolonged exposure to smoke can lead to premature birth, but there are no studies that indicate occasional exposure to smoke is harmful.
So if you feel more comfortable you may want to avoid the campfire completely, although common sense would suggest that provided you are not sitting there for hours inhaling smoke, you should be fine.
Ultimately it comes down to personal choice, but for piece of mind you may want to check with your midwife or doctor.