Camping at 6-7 months pregnant?
March 12, 2010 7:31 AM   Subscribe

Camping at 6-7 months pregnant. A very bad idea?

For our last vacation before the wee one is born, my husband and I are considering a 4-day vacation at the beginning of July in Kelowna, BC - chosen because it's beautiful, drivable and very warm, with beaches. Much desired after a long, Canadian prairie winter.

If we stay in a motel ($80/night), I expect the trip to cost $800 - $1000. Money is tight. I'd rather not spend that. It's a lot for a short, close-to-home vacation. If that's what it comes down to, we might not go at all.

So - should we camp it? I'm a pretty seasoned camper. My greatest camping misery is being too cold, and this shouldn't be a problem in Kelowna. A big blow-up mattress and body pillow should make it fine, right? What else could we do to make a camping experience super comfortable for a pregnant lady? Is this just a bad idea?
posted by kitcat to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (22 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I think you should go for it, presumably you're not going into the wild, just to a campground, you'll be close enough to medical care. Six and seven months are pretty comfortable times. Have fun!
posted by mareli at 7:36 AM on March 12, 2010

"... Is this just a bad idea?"
posted by kitcat to sports, hobbies, & recreation

No, it's not a bad idea, at all. Tens of millions of humaniods were successfully pregnant prior to the invention of the roof. You can join that long legacy proudly!

"... What else could we do to make a camping experience super comfortable for a pregnant lady? ..."

Rent or buy inexpensive camp chairs and perhaps cots. At 6 months, your center of gravity probably won't have changed much, but at 7 months, you'll likely have a noticeable baby "bump" and getting up and down, to ground level, maybe a bit more than you want to do, all the time. And get a campsite near the sanitary facilities, and a good flashlight for middle of the night trips.

Enjoy your camping vacation, use plenty of bug repellent and sun block, and look forward to being a Mom!
posted by paulsc at 7:42 AM on March 12, 2010

In my first pregnancy, we went backpacking when I was five months along. I carried my belly and a water bottle, while my husband carried everything else. It was a great trip, although it was amazing how much my walking slowed down when there was even a slight uphill grade.

In my second pregnancy, the fatigue was too great for me to even consider anything like this. I could barely walk across the room. Be flexible and don't force yourself to go if at the last minute you find yourself too tired to enjoy it. Make sure you find the blow-up mattress adequately comfortable: test it first at home.
posted by Ery at 7:44 AM on March 12, 2010

What else could we do to make a camping experience super comfortable for a pregnant lady?

A nearby bathroom, because aren't you making more trips to the potty than usual at this point? Oh, and be sure to have a husband with oceans and oceans of patience.

For our last vacation before the wee one is born

Notice that this is the last vacation. I think you should splurge.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:45 AM on March 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you do this, I would recommend getting a blow-up mattress with a frame. I think the hardest thing about camping for a pregnant lady would be having to lower down and get up from ground level.
posted by sickinthehead at 7:47 AM on March 12, 2010

Go for it! I wouldn't foresee your being particularly uncomfortable, as long as you've been having a decent time of it so far. Plus, if this is your first pregnancy, it takes longer before you're really big.

But bring a chair that's off the ground, rather than just using one of those sleeping pads that folds to become an on-the-ground chair. Bending and getting on/off the ground are the things that are a little more challenging than usual.
posted by palliser at 7:50 AM on March 12, 2010

You should be fine, but I would try to find a campground that keeps some trained first aid personnel on-site and maybe try to request a site closer to an office or lodge where your husband could run and get said trained personnel just incase.
posted by WeekendJen at 8:13 AM on March 12, 2010

A big blow-up mattress and body pillow should make it fine, right?

Have you tested your theory? My wife could never find a comfortable sleeping position the last trimester so you may want to first test out how you and the air mattress get along first.
posted by doorsfan at 8:32 AM on March 12, 2010

Do it! I would want to make sure I had a really comfortable air mattress, as my hips were a bother during my pregnancies, but other than that there's no reason not too. I agree that you should bring a chair, just because it's harder to get comfortable. Don't worry about first aid any more than you have with previous camping trips.

If you can find a sandy beach (I'm not familiar with Kelowna), you can dig out a depression for your belly to rest in, and lie on your stomach for the first time in months. Ahhh, it's glorious. For that reason alone you should go.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:35 AM on March 12, 2010 [2 favorites]

So you're what, 2-3 months along now? Well, the thing is, that it's really hard to say how you'll be feeling then and how comfortable you'll be sleeping in any circumstance at that point. So, I'd allow for some flexibilty in your plans, maybe hold on to a motel reservation for a little while and see how you're feeling in 2-3 months. Could you do a combination of camping and motel? This would reduce your expenses but also give you a break, if you need it. In any case, you'll probably want to be close to a restroom wherever you camp. It's totally possible that you'll be fine and love it but it's really hard to predict how you'll be feeling then.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 8:47 AM on March 12, 2010

I'd recommend getting a Pstyle or similar peeing device so that you don't have to worry about popping a squat or finding a place to pee.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:57 AM on March 12, 2010

We did it when my wife was that pregnant. Fond memories of her floating in the lake with her big belly being warmed by the sun. I don't think we did anything unusual - an air matress would probably help a lot per other commenters.
posted by GuyZero at 9:25 AM on March 12, 2010

I would make sure I knew where the nearest hospital was and how to get to it. Just in case.
posted by amro at 9:27 AM on March 12, 2010

Lots of good suggestions here. Could you do the last night at a hotel, so you can sleep in a bed, have a hot shower, etc?
posted by MichelleinMD at 9:35 AM on March 12, 2010

I went camping at 6 months pregnant. It was perfectly fine. The only problem was that the air mattress had a slow leak and I ended up sleeping on top of my body pillow by the next morning, so my advice is to try out the air matress before hand. The other thing I had a problem with was that when hubby moved in his sleep it bounced me around, so maybe you could consider separate mattresses. You guys could practice in your living room a few nights just to make sure you'll be comfortable.

I agree that you should bring a very comfortable chair. Also, you should be aware that you may get overheated more easily than normal so make sure to drink lots of water. If you can camp in a campground with toilets and showers you will be much more comfortable.

Have fun!
posted by TooFewShoes at 10:43 AM on March 12, 2010

I was camping at 7 or 8 months pregnant and it was fine. I will second what everyone else says about a chair that's off the ground, though, and then there's the peeing thing. I solved this one with a handy nearby bucket - otherwise, given where we were, it was a climb up and down a ladder and then a hike to an outhouse, which was not going to happen in the dark - and I heartily recommend the bucket over the behind the bush squat. Less dignified but who really cares at that point? Keep in mind that long hikes aren't much fun when you're really big either, so plan your daily activities with that in mind and you'll be great.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:59 AM on March 12, 2010

Notice that this is the last vacation.

Why is that? I've taken several vacations without my children, just my husband and me and just me, without a problem. Sure, it wasn't til they were out of infancy (the first one was when my son was 13 months old and newly weaned) but it's not out of the question entirely once you're a parent.

Back to the question at hand: make sure there are bathrooms nearby, get a cot for sure (rent one if you need to) and make sure you have really, really good shoes for any hiking you're going to do. Bring lots and lots of water - more than you think - because pre-term labor can be brought on by dehydration. It might be best to get your doc's okay just before you go and know where the nearest hospital is, just in case. It's very, very likely that nothing will go wrong but in case it does, have all your ducks in a row.
posted by cooker girl at 12:03 PM on March 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

I've taken several vacations without my children, just my husband and me and just me, without a problem.

cooker girl - for future reference, who did you leave the kid(s) with?
posted by kitcat at 12:54 PM on March 12, 2010

I went camping when I was about 7 months pregnant. I had almost never been camping before, so I was sort of un-prepared. We were at a drive-in camp site and our "hikes" were day trips. The flat hikes were fine. I skipped the uphill hikes. Sleeping on the ground was HORRIBLE. I wish I'd had like four thermarests and three pillows. Other than that it was fine.
posted by serazin at 1:16 PM on March 12, 2010

kitcat, they've been left both with my parents (at their home and in our home) and with my mother-in-law (in our home). We've also taken a couple of short weekend trips, very close to home, with them staying overnight at a very, very good friend's house. Going away can involve lots of lists and careful planning, especially as they get older and have school schedules and extra-curricular activities to deal with, but I'm of the opinion that it's really important to get away with your spouse when the kids are old enough (which is up to you and your partner) and if there's someone you trust they can be with.
posted by cooker girl at 3:38 PM on March 12, 2010

I agree with PhoBWanKenobi's suggestion for the Pstyle. I, personally, had to pee often though not in quantity around that time (tmi? Sorry!) and it was hard enough in the tiny stalls at work and in shops. Later, it comes in handy if you're using a carrier or sling with the baby on walks around town, and can't set the child down...

I'll add that I think if you're going to do lots of hiking/walking, that sometimes a belly support band can help make you comfortable. Or, it could make you feel constricted and crazy. Pregnancy is funny that way - I was fine all day at work, but when I would take the forty minute walk home, it felt good to have some support.

Honestly, I'd follow the advice to stay flexible with your plans, depending on your health and mood - and when it's time, be prepared.
posted by peagood at 9:05 PM on March 12, 2010

Good point from cooker girl about preterm labor and dehydration. Even if it's a pain to use the bathrooms/bucket/whatever, it's important to drink, drink, drink, especially if you're exerting yourself.
posted by palliser at 5:29 AM on March 13, 2010

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