Updated May 26, 2021
A common question that OB/GYN’s and Midwives get asked during summer prenatal visits is “Can I go camping while pregnant?”
Are you wondering if you can go camping while pregnant?
You’re not alone in wondering if camping is a safe activity to do during pregnancy.
The answer is yes, you can go camping while pregnant.
There are some things that you want to do differently than if you weren’t pregnant and take a few more safety measures but there’s no reason why if you’re healthy and you have no pregnancy complications that you can’t enjoy camping. Being outdoors in the fresh air, starry skies, and enjoying good company have been shown to reduce stress levels. Camping during pregnancy often includes hiking on trails which is an excellent exercise for pregnant women.
We love camping in the summer and especially through the fall.
There’s something almost magical about crisp mornings out in the woods or on the beach.
The smell of the pine, the fresh air, and changing the color of the leaves makes fall camping definitely our favorite.
Whether you go camping in an RV, a travel trailer, or a tent, these are the things you want to make sure you do to have a great camping trip while pregnant.
Can I go camping while pregnant?
Yes! Camping is considered a safe activity during pregnancy. There are some steps you’ll want to take to make sure you and your growing baby stay safe and comfortable.
First things first: talk to your doctor or midwife.
Every pregnancy is different and everyone’s health history is different.
You want the “All clear.” from your provider because they know you and your health history best.
We have so many great tips to share for fun, safe, and comfy camping during pregnancy.
We have a list of the BEST camping gear for pregnant women too.
So let’s jump right in!
Camping while pregnant first trimester
Camping during your first trimester of pregnancy can be challenging.
Both can make enjoying a camping trip difficult to say the very least.
Be gentle with yourself if you feel nauseous, sit down, sip on some ginger ale or ginger tea, and nibble on some crackers or dry cereal.
If you are tired, go lie down and take a nap.
Stay well hydrated. It is critical to stay well-hydrated all through pregnancy, but becoming dehydrated during the first trimester can make morning sickness and fatigue worse.
What to take camping while pregnant?
Air Mattress or sleep pad
Comfort and safety are paramount when packing for a camping trip during pregnancy.
If you are sleeping in a tent, bring an air mattress (a good thick one) or sleep pad you have tried at home first.
Bring your pregnancy pillow.
If you don’t have one you can get the one our readers rave about and buy most often here.
You can read our in-depth comparison of the two best-selling pregnancy pillows here.
Bring your own blanket or comforter even if you plan to use a sleeping bag.
What works for me when we go camping is bringing my down comforter from home.
It always has a cool feeling on the outside if I’m hot and is snuggly warm underneath if I am cold.
If it is very warm and muggy where you are going camping consider bringing a light sheet in case you get too warm under the covers.
It isn’t unusual during pregnancy to feel hot, so plan for it.
Being pregnant in the summer can be challenging as it is, do everything you can to keep cool.
Comfortable Camping Chair
Bring a camping chair that is comfortable, stable and that you can easily get up from.
You may want to bring one with a footrest so you can elevate your feet, especially if you get any swelling in your legs or feet.
One of the questions women often ask “Is it OK to be in the sun when pregnant?”
Yes. It is OK as long as you take some precautions.
Pregnancy makes your skin more sensitive to the effects of the sun. That means you can burn more easily.
Use sunscreen with SPF 30 or more, and wear a hat when camping and hiking.
You definitely want to wear a hat.
It’s not your imagination that your skin burns more easily during pregnancy.
That includes the top of your head.
Bring comfy clothes
Bring extra comfortable oversized clothes that are not constrictive around the ankles or
Dress in layers so you can add or subtract a layer depending on how hot or cold you are.
Be prepared for sudden changes in the weather. Thunderstorms can pop up suddenly in the summer months, so bring rain gear just in case.
Bring your Cellphone
It is best during pregnancy to go camping in areas where you have good cell service.
Having a cell phone can save your life.
There are some areas throughout the country where there is no cellphone service.
Check and make sure the place you go camping has cell service.
If not, it is probably best to avoid camping there during your pregnancy.
I know that kind of sucks. I love when we go camping or hiking and my phone shows no service.
It is a feeling of instant peace.
But it isn’t a good idea to camp without cell service when you are pregnant.
Summer Monsoon season sunrise while camping in Arizona
Photo Credit: Maternity Comfort Solutions
A cell phone gives you access to emergency services.
You could injure yourself while camping or hiking.
Depending on where you are camping, you might need urgent care if you are bitten by a snake or have a reaction to an insect bite.
You could experience a problem relating to your pregnancy.
While these scenarios are rare, it is important to be prepared.
Anyone who uses their cell phone a lot knows the frustration of having your phone battery die.
Having a full charge is not enough.
Fortunately, there are many power sources you can get to charge your phone.
For camping, there are now power supplies that recharge using solar panels, though our experience has been they should only be considered an emergency back-up.
If you are taking a long hike and don’t want to worry about your charge running out, consider a Jackery Bolt power bank.
iPhone Battery Charger with Built-in Lightning Cable - Jackery Bolt 6000 mAh Portable Charger Power Outdoors, [Apple MFi Certified] Compact Power Bank, Twice as Fast as Original iPhone Charger
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- Emergency LED Flashlight: Built-in flashlight to light your life, perfect for a dark night in times of emergency, use aluminum shell instead of plastic which more safety and it is smoothly like a chocolate to hold in your hand
- UL certified Safety: featuring UL certified battery cells, with professional management system, Jackery ensures comprehensive protection for you and your devices
- What's Included: Jackery Bar 6000mAh Portable Charger, Micro USB Charging Cable for the power bank, User Guide, Thank You Card.
Small first aid kit
Bring a small first aid kit with you. Minor scrapes and cuts can happen when hiking.
Washing a minor cut with an antiseptic and applying a topical antibiotic will help you avoid a serious infection.
You can easily put together your own small first aid kit or you can buy a pre-made first aid kit.
This is the first aid kit that I like to use.
Its compact size is perfect for camping or hiking.
Swiss Safe 2-in-1 First Aid Kit (120 Piece) + Bonus 32-Piece Mini First Aid Kit: Compact, Lightweight for Emergencies at Home, Outdoors, Car, Camping, Workplace, Hiking & Survival
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Using an effective hand sanitizer is a great way to avoid colds and flu.
It is also an easy way to clean your hands when hand-washing is not an option.
Viral transmission to others is a serious concern and the best way to prevent the spread of infection is to wash your hands.
Bring a facemask with you and wear it when you use the campground restroom.
Even if you are vaccinated against COVID-19, current CDC guidelines recommend wearing a mask in public places.
Even if there is no public requirement where you are camping, wear a mask in public places.
If you are in a self-contained trailer or RV with your own bathroom and shower, that would be best but that’s not always possible.
Wipes are a must. You want to use them when you use the restroom at the campground or at a trailhead.
Public restrooms can be places of transmission for the coronavirus and other bacteria and viruses.
When you’re pregnant you can be more susceptible to colds and flu and viruses.
When you use the restroom make sure to wipe down the handle on the stall door.
Keep an index card of your up-to-date pregnancy info in your backpack.
At all times, prenatal patients should maintain and carry on them, the basic information about their prenatal course. A healthcare provider needs to know this information to make the best medical decisions.
Dr. Doug Penta, OB/GYN
This is so important and it’s something that Doug and I very rarely see anybody talk about:
You should always keep an index card on you that has details about your pregnancy.
If something happens while you are camping and you have to go to a hospital, you’ll see a doctor who doesn’t know you or know your pregnancy history
What should I put on my index card about my pregnancy?
You want to include your prenatal lab results recorded after your first prenatal visit.
Here are some of the details you will want to have available from your prenatal record:
- your prenatal lab results recorded after your first prenatal visit
- your last blood pressure at your prenatal visit if you are experiencing high blood pressure during pregnancy
- your fasting and two-hour blood sugar results if you have gestational diabetes.
- if you have protein in your urine.
It is very likely you’ll never need to use this card, but you should keep it with you when camping or hiking out of your local area.
The best pregnant camping food to bring:
Let’s talk about the foods to bring for camping when you’re pregnant.
A camping trip is not the time to try new foods.
Pro-tip: Bring a tea kettle to boil water. Bring tea, hot chocolate, and a box of Lipton Instant Cup Of Soup for yourself.
Bring foods you enjoy. If you are prone to morning sickness you may find foods like toast, bagels, or even pancakes easier to keep down than eggs and bacon.
Have someone be the designated cook if the sights and smells of foods make you gag in early pregnancy. Morning sickness is no joke.
Let your camping buddies or family take care of you.
Foil Meals are always an easy and fun way to cook meals while camping.
Be careful to not eat undercooked meats or seafood.
There are some foods that are unsafe to eat during pregnancy.
If your friends or family are eating freshwater fish they caught while camping, you may want to pass on it. Freshwater fish can be high in mercury and that could hurt your baby.
But don’t feel left out, bring your own fish from home.
Keep it packed in ice in the cooler and make sure the cooler stays cold.
Cook it up with the other fish and you are good to go.
Pack easy-to-eat snacks. Pick snacks that you know you like.
You want to try to make sure that your snacks have a carbohydrate, a protein, and fat.
That will help keep your energy levels in your blood sugar stable.
When I go camping and hiking I bring snacks that include a protein and a carbohydrate.
I might bring a sandwich, yogurt and fruit, and hummus and with carrot sticks.
One of the things I’ve noticed when camping is that I’m hungrier after a day of outdoor activities.
Healthy snacks for camping during pregnancy:
- Whole-grain crackers with nut butter or peanut butter
- Dry whole-grain cereal
- Bagel and cream cheese
- Pretzels with nut butter or cheese
- Hummus and carrot sticks
- Granola bars
- Apple chips
- Whole apple
- Smashed Chickpea Salad Sandwich
- Chicken Salad Sandwich
- Homemade Dried Fruit
Remember to stay hydrated. Bring your own water. Keep your water bottle filled.
I always bring my own water. Some campgrounds do not have potable water available and many that do are not clear on the source.
Save yourself the hassle and possible illness, bring your own water.
Bring more than you think you’ll need.
Pregnant women should drink 10-12 glasses of water a day.
That’s on a normal day.
It is very easy to get dehydrated when you are pregnant and camping.
Whether you are sitting by the lake, swimming, fishing, or hiking dehydration can sneak up on you.
ABD =Always Be Drinking is your camping and hiking motto.
Dehydration during pregnancy can cause you to have contractions, increase morning sickness, and increase your fatigue.
Risks of camping while pregnant:
There are some potential risks to camping during pregnancy, but they can be mitigated by taking precautions to prevent them from happening.
- Water from rivers and streams is not safe to drink and can cause water-borne illnesses
- Food poisoning from undercooked foods and foods not kept cold enough
- Insect bites: Mosquitos and ticks can carry bacteria and viruses
- Falling while hiking on trails
- Becoming dehydrated
- Becoming overheated in the sun or sunburned
Can I sit by a Campfire while pregnant?
Generally, yes you can sit by a campfire while pregnant.
Try not to sit in the direct line of the smoke.
It can irritate your lungs and your eyes.
It isn’t a bad idea to wear a mask if you are sitting by the fire.
Beach camping while pregnant
It is summertime. Camping on the beach is one of our all-time favorite things to do.
Spending time at the beach is a safe activity to do during pregnancy.
If you follow some simple beach safety tips, your camping trip to the beach will be enjoyable and worry-free.
Remember to stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, wear a hat, and have fun!
Camping can be an enjoyable outdoor activity during pregnancy.
Following simple and sensible safety precautions will make your camping trip worry-free.
Make sure you are wearing comfortable clothes, drink plenty of water, eat snacks, wear sunscreen and keep your cell phone on you.
Bring your pregnancy camping essentials, let your friends and family do the heavy lifting, nap, or rest when you need to.