How to Survive Burning Man...While Pregnant

Renee Turner went to the Burning Man festival six months pregnant. (Photo: Renee Turner)

Successfully spending a week in the middle of the desert in the middle of the summer with 70,000 other people is a fete. Doing it pregnant, is downright courageous. Renee Turner, 31, did just that. Having already planned her trip to Burning Man with her siblings, Renee didn’t want to back out simply because she got pregnant. Instead, she opted to embrace the experience but with a little more preparation and precaution.

Burning Man is an annual event where people from all backgrounds convene in Black Rock Desert to have a weeklong party filled with art, unique experiences, and basic survival. With any exchange of money prohibited and limited provisions, participants must prepare with adequate food, water, and shelter for the duration. While this holds true for all attendees, being six months pregnant presents additional challenges. “I did a lot of investigating to figure out what it would be like and how to prepare,” says Renee. “I made sure to have a lot of water, healthy food and snacks, shade, travel medical insurance, and I knew where the closest hospital was just in case.”

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Renee poses with friends in the desert where Burning Man took place. (Photo: Renee Turner)

Even though Renee took extra precautions, she actually roughed it more than a lot of the revelers. She and her siblings stuck to sleeping in a tent instead of an RV and using a makeshift shower — aka a bucket — to clean off the layers of dust that build up quickly. “If I had any advice for someone going to Burning Man pregnant, I’d say get an RV with air-conditioning and good shower set up,” says Renee. “You will feel so much more comfortable.” To keep cool, Renee relied on frequent trips to the car with AC and a daily trip to the ice line. “The only thing for sale onsite is ice,” says Renee. “That hour when we went to get ice was the best part of my day because we could make cold drinks, and I could cool off.”

Known for its one-of-a-kind experiences, Burning Man presented Renee with some challenges throughout the week that she couldn’t anticipate. “I wouldn’t do it again pregnant,” she adds. “Not just because of the partying, but a lot of the other activities were pretty risky.” Daytime events included things like jumping on trampolines, climbing on top of sculptures, and dropping into a foam pit or swinging from a vine, all things not recommended for pregnant women. “I was a spectator and not a participant, but it was still fun!” Instead Renee rode her bike around to visit the various themed camps and art installations for a couple of hours at a time before returning to home base to eat, drink water, and find some shade.


Renee rode her bike around to visit various themed camps. (Photo: Renee Turner)

Aside from some dancing, the same spectator-only involvement held true for the infamous late-night party scene as well. “I was nervous about all of the partying and being able to participate,” says Renee. “I only went out twice because it was a really drug-induced scene with people staying up superlate. I wasn’t bothered by it, but I got tired because I’m pregnant and not on any drugs. I was back by one, while everyone else was out until 6 a.m.” And though she avoided the partying more than most people, it didn’t stop Renee from having unique encounters of her own. “Two guys, who were clearly having a good time, crouched down to my belly late at night and were loving the fact that there was a baby in there,” says Renee. “And another girl was going on and on about how beautiful it was that I brought my unborn child here and all the energy that I was putting into it. This could only happen at Burning Man!”

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Renee getting a little belly love at Burning Man. (Photo: Renee Turner)

Another person tripping out a bit? The baby! “When I got back to the tents after dancing or listening to music, the baby was moving a lot more than normal,” says Renee. “I can’t wait to show him pictures when he’s older of him in my belly at Burning Man.”

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