The Pregnant Gal's Guide to Camping

by Julie Snyder

Pregnant Guide to CampingMany moms-to-be prefer camping in a 4-star resort with running water, soft beds and air-conditioning. Then there's a good hunk of us would rather get closer to nature and rough it.

You might be envisioning sleeping under the stars and taking a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life, far away from roads and buildings. But what about your extra bundle and companion?

Are you ready to head out into the wilderness? Our guide to camping while pregnant can help make your trip safer and more comfortable.

Time to Pack Your Gear

You can enjoy camping in the great outdoors as much as anyone. Pack a little creativity and these essential items. You'll find a way to overcome any obstacle in your way.

Getting Comfortable at Night

• Waterproof tent
• Plenty of pillows
• Extra comforters and a fleece blanket
• Sleeping bag and cotton sheets so you're ready for any temperatures
• An air mattress
• Flashlight for those late night bathroom trips
• "Family-safe" insect repellent
• Comfortable, sturdy shoes
• Battery-operated fan

Kitchen Supplies

• Ice packs and cooler
• Made ahead, frozen meals
• Fresh fruits and vegetables
• Water, freeze some of the bottles and enjoy icy drinks as they thaw
• Camp stove
• A couple pots and pan and utensils
• Paper plates, bowls and napkins
• Silver or plastic wear
• Pregnancy-friendly snacks like nuts and dried fruit
• Temperature-safe condiments like mustard and dill pickles
• Washing supplies

Just for Mom-to-Be

• A sewing and first aid kit
• Your prenatal vitamins
• A comfortable, skid resistant pair of shoes
• Your swim suit
• A jacket
• A block of chocolate or other food you crave
• A sling back camp chair with leg rest
• A hand towel to get wet and use as a drape in hot weather
• A spray bottle for spritzing and cooling down
• A good book, art supplies or a craft to enjoy as rest times

Your Special Challenges

Lifting and carrying: Your doctor may have advised you to take it easy with the heavy stuff. It's perfect excuse to delegate and supervise. Have someone else set up the tent and or carry the heaviest pack.

The Business of Peeing: It's not so easy for women as it is for men. First we have to find a private spot and then peel off half of our clothes. Getting up and down out of a squat might be a challenge. Some moms prefer camping at a spot with restrooms. Others make building an outhouse a high priority. The rest just deal with it or find a smooth fallen log to help out.

Hygiene: You might not be able to shower or find a clean lake for a swim. During pregnancy, women tend to sweat more. Bring along supplies for a refreshing sponge bath.

Safe Water: Bring you own water or drink from a safe water source. Intestinal problems from water borne illness can be serious for both mom and baby. The iodine tablets used to treat water aren't considered safe during pregnancy. If you use local water, boil it the recommended time for your camp's elevation.

Our Members Share Camping Tips

"Keep your pack light. See if you can find an inflatable roll pillow to go between your knees when you sleep and make sure your sleeping pad is nice and thick. Have fun and be safe!" BusyPenguin says.

Mara suggests, "Before you leave home, find the hospital or doctor's office closest to your camp site. Plan a route and decide how you'll handle any problem."

"Stock plenty of bottled water -- for drinking and cooking. Make sure you cook the meat well. You don't want to risk food poisoning while out in the woods. Other than that, you won't need to do anything special," JmarieS says.

"Pack the camera! You're certain to need pictures of baby's first camping trip," Kathy adds.

What do you bring along to keep your pregnant self safe and comfy while you camp?

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.