Going to a festival when you're pregnant
So, you're pregnant and you want to go to a music festival. Some might say you're bonkers, but you're certainly not alone. Plenty of Mumsnetters have done it, and would balk at the thought of giving up a precious ticket just because they're having a baby.
The secret lies in taking it very easy, preparing thoroughly and most of all, accepting that it will be a festival - but not as you know it. Here's some advice on what to know before you go, gleaned from the hardy MNers who have braved festival fields whilst with child.
Note: The single most frequently dispensed piece of advice is as follows: take a folding chair. Don't forget a folding chair. Did we mention a folding chair? Folding chair! OK, perfect - onto the rest of the advice.
- Family-friendly festivals 2014
- Pregnancy do's and don'ts
- Tips on bringing your kids to festivals
- Camping homepage
While no one wants any festival to be a mudbath, too much sun can also be problematic - especially if you're pregnant, so plan accordingly. Shade can often be in short supply, which can be an issue if you're far from your tent or a nice covered area. Make sure you bring a hat and extra floaty layers of clothing to wear in case of a heat wave, and it goes without saying, to drink lots of water.
Remember to keep an eye on your skin – one MNer says: "I got heat rash on my arms because I didn't realise being pregnant made me unusually sensitive to the sun."
Apart from that, the heat can be uncomfortable, especially with no cool showers to relieve yourself in, so consider taking compressed cooling spray and give yourself a blast if it gets overwhelming.
Ah, peeing. Bad enough at a festival when you're not pregnant. But combined with the frequent urge to urinate that many experience during pregnancy, it becomes one of the most discussed festival issues on the MN boards.
Avoid the frequent midnight trudges through the mud to portaloos by bringing a SheWee (practise using it at home first!) and a large bottle - something like a laundry detergent bottle with the neck cut off will do well - which can be emptied in the morning.
If you fancy having a bit of a gentle boogie by the side of the Pyramid Stage and you feel a bit iffy, one MNer suggests bringing a pack of TENA lady.
- "If the worst comes to the worst I will wee into a bottle using my trusty SheWee - I have been practising doing it with bump for a few days in prep."
- "As for weeing in the night, get yourself a jug for the purpose so you can just do it in or just outside the tent then tip it either in a wet pit or somewhere a bit further away from the tent."
Sleeping and comfort
After a long day on your feet, mucking out in a tent might be the last thing you feel like doing, so if you've not forked out for the posh camping options, you'll definitely want to pack a few extras to take the strain off. With a couple of these preparations, you can sleep much easier. And don't forget to check out our list of 10 things to bring family camping and top-rated family tents.
This is an absolute must, as sleeping on the hard ground is bad enough when you're not pregnant. Remember to get a battery-powered pump, which doesn't cost much and saves loads of time when it comes to inflating. Lots of Mumsnetters recommend leaving it half-inflated, which is surprisingly supportive. "I lay in it like a hammock and it cushioned my bump beautifully - probably the best sleep of my whole pregnancy!"
Very important to help you get comfortable when you lie down. "Bring a couple of pillows. No way could I sleep without extra pillows at that stage. I put one between my knees and one to hold my arm up."
If you're not too far along in your pregnancy and hoping to be a bit active, some Mumsnetters recommend pregnancy support belts. "A pregnancy support belt was good in the evening to avoid bump ache when dancing."
Protecting your bump
It goes without saying, but the more inebriated people get (and the darker it gets), the less aware fellow festival attendees will be of your bump. Avoid large crowds, particularly around headliners, and don't risk getting down the front where there can sometimes be unpredictable 'crushes' of people. Try to leave before the end of a popular set.
Investigate whether or not the festival has special provisions in place for pregnant women.
One Mumsnetter says: "One festival I went to allowed all sorts if you produced your NHS maternity card - access to viewing platforms, the disabled toilets, etc."
Every festival will have a team of trained first aid staff on site, as well as nurses, doctors and EMTs. How many are on site and what facilities are available will vary from festival to festival, so do your research in advance and make sure you know where to go if you need to be seen. In an emergency, you can approach any festival steward or security staff, who will be able to direct you.
Though there's a variety of potentially stressful scenarios to anticipate, it's not all beer-envy, crowd-dodging and endurance - lots of MNers have found that there are unexpected upsides to attending festivals when pregnant
- "I went to Glastonbury, and everybody was so kind and considerate. The camaraderie you normally experience in these places was tenfold. Strangers came up to me with ice lollies, people let me jump the loo queue, I even got a lift across site in a wheelbarrow contraption thing from a very dashing old hippy."
And believe it or not, if your previous experience of festivals is of hangovers and pints of cider, you actually may rather like taking a break from the non-stop partying side of festivals.
- "I really enjoyed seeing a completely different side to it. I spent a lot of time watching the comedy and other acts, and a hell of a lot of time working my way through the food stalls!"
- "It was weird not smoking and drinking, but it was also nice to have no pressure and be able to say at 10pm on Sunday, 'right, I'm getting hot doughnuts and listening to The Who from our tent'."
Plus, there's no denying that it sets your baby up to be cool for life.
- "I loved being pregnant at a festival, I could feel the baby moving loads when the music was loud and when I was dancing."
- "I'm so glad I went. I always enjoy telling DD 'You heard this band when you were in my tummy!'"