Indian women have been painting their bodies for over 5,000 years, traditionally worn in a ritualized manner for ceremonies and important occasions such as weddings. Mehndi art (the process of applying a henna tattoo) to the belly toward the end of a pregnancy in certain cultures is believed to protect or bless the mother and child during the difficulties of labor. Henna is made from an herbal compound with no known side effects or reactions. True henna is brown though it will change and fade for the one to four weeks it’s on. Some kits offer black henna but it’s dangerous to use as its color comes from a toxic chemical dye. Henna can be applied using a stencil or free-styled and is mixed as a paste made from the powder of the henna plant. The application process can take anywhere from a few minutes to hours but it’s the setting process that is most time-consuming. The application process of mehndi or henna body art on a pregnant belly is a time where the mom needs to be still and relaxed. She has to find time in her schedule to sit down for a few hours and focus on her belly, on her pregnancy, and her new life. Some henna artists recommend leaving the paste on for up to eight hours. The longer it’s on, the darker the design. While the paste will dry and start peeling, you may need to use some oil to get it all off and you'll need to keep the design out of the water for at least 24 hours afterward.
Hormonal changes in pregnancy affect the ph level of the skin, which in turn affects the darkness of the henna stain. Each woman responds differently, and usually the henna is darker earlier in pregnancy.
Henna mehndi can be applied to any part of your skin. You might invite a henna artist to your Blessingway and have her put the same “bracelet” or “anklet” on everyone as a symbol of your unity and support for the new mom. When you looks at your own hand during labor, you will be connected to your circle of support.
You may also simply want to enjoy your beautiful belly and have it decorated, perhaps with a symbol that is empowering for you as you reach your time of birth. A mehndi art session can be arranged privately in your home.
Full Belly $80-$120