Safety tips for celebrating Holi when you are pregnant
Holi is a popular festival celebrated widely (and sometimes wildly) throughout our country. In most social settings, it is expected that the entire family participates in the celebrations. With pregnancy on board, women have a dilemma. Enjoying the festivities and social participation (especially if it is the first Holi after marriage) are at the forefront, but there are worries about the pregnancy and health in the background. Here are some facts and tips to help you be comfortable and have a happy Holi!
A lot has been said about the content of colors in Holi. Broadly speaking, colors may be homemade, natural/organic and unlabeled, as most are. The safest option is to play with homemade colors, from fruit or flowers. However, there may be a considerable effort, preparation and expense involved with this. The next variety to consider is colors available in the market under the label of “organic” or “natural”. It’s advisable not to trust these labels completely unless you know the source. There is no regulation and these colors fall in a gray zone. Unlabelled, loose colors are by far the most popularly used ones. They may contain chemicals which could affect pregnant women in the following ways:
1.Skin irritation: This is the most common problem seen with colors used to play Holi. Pregnancy itself could cause rashes and irritation and this may further worsen with chemicals. As a precaution, you can apply a thin film of coconut oil all over the body and to the hair. Wear long sleeved clothing to minimize color contact. At parties, you can volunteer to provide the colors and see that unlabelled, loose colors are kept to a minimum. After the celebration, call dibs on using the bathroom and get the colors off at the earliest!
2. Effects on the baby: Some colors, especially oil-based ones, have compounds with the potential to get absorbed through the skin. These compounds could theoretically go on to affect the baby or cause miscarriage. However, this is not a realistic risk. The amount of exposure needed to cause such harm would be in kilos of the color on a daily basis for a number of days. Such an exposure is relevant for women working in industries where such colors are made and does not hold relevance for a typical Holi celebration. However, if these colors are applied, washing them off soon and thoroughly is adequate protection.
Food and drink are an integral part of Holi celebrations. For pregnant women, it goes without saying that alcohol and the ever popular “bhang” should be avoided. It’s also best to avoid food and milk products that have been prepared too much in advance. They are a source of infection and can give you an upset stomach. So stick to freshly prepared food at home and go easy on the fried, sweet and heavy stuff to keep yourself comfortable!
If pregnancy is advanced and the bump is obvious, people celebrating with you are naturally careful. If you are in early pregnancy, it may be a good idea to either let people know or avoid an unknown environment to keep the jostling at bay.
Go ahead! Have a splash this Holi in your pregnancy!
Author: Dr. Parikshit Tank, M.D.(Obstetrics& Gynaecology)
Knowledge Partner: Johnson & Johnson Private Ltd.
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