Belly Painting as a Baby Shower Activity

Why not do something special to commemorate a pregnancy? After all, it's not something that will last for a very long while, even if it seems to be otherwise for the mommy-to-be!

One trend that is starting to pick up in popularity is belly painting. Instead of women going into hiding or choosing clothing that hides the belly when they go out, more and more mommies-to-be decide to flaunt their bellies. While shaped clothes that hugged the belly have been around for some time, painted bellies are just now becoming more accepted.

It's not an activity for the faint of heart, though! It does involve the mommy-to-be flipping up her shirt and having paint of different kinds smeared on her belly by family and friends.

There are different ways that you can do this, too. The more traditional method of belly painting, believed to date back for thousands of years, involves painting the belly with henna. This is non-toxic, as long as the henna is purely of plant form and is mixed only with citrus juices and citrus essential oils. These designs were thought to provide protection for the mommy-to-be and the baby throughout the pregnancy and labor.

Traditional designs work best with this, as it gives a more tribal feel to the art. It is not permanent, either. The henna is allowed to dry for about two hours, is wiped off, and then turns darker than its initial light orange over a course of forty eight hours. Depending on how you care for the design, it can last anywhere from three to six months.

The more modern twist uses water-based paints or face paints to execute the designs. These can be made into landscapes or 3D art that enhances the belly, like a rendition of the earth, a pumpkin, a fish bowl, or a true to life depiction of the baby inside. Your imagination can run wild when painting like this!

But no matter what medium you decide to use, you have to be safe and take a few precautions because it is your body that is the canvas and you are pregnant! Despite the paints and henna being non-toxic, you will still want to do an allergy test. Apply some of the product on the inside of your arm, where skin is rather thin, and let it stay for at least twelve hours. If you don't feel any discomfort or get a rash, it is safe to proceed.

Then, for the paints, do a test run to see if the paint goes on smoothly or it needs to be tempered with a little water before you start painting. If you want, you can try out the design as a practice run so you'll know if it will work well.

Be sure to wear old clothes for this and stay on a tarp so whatever is around you won't get smeared with paint.

As part of the activity during the shower, let everyone sign your belly as they would a piece of art. Then, break out the camera and have fun pictures taken with everybody! This experience should definitely be documented.