Holi and pregnancy: How can artificial colours affect you and your unborn baby? Precautions for pregnant women  |  Photo Credit: Thinkstock
New Delhi: Holi is a beautiful Hindu spring festival celebrated every year with much fun and frolic. But the festival can take a toll on your health, considering the amount of water and colour one ends up playing with on Holi. Traditionally, Holi colours were made from natural sources such as flowers, spices berries, and other plants that are considered safe to play with. However, modern versions of coloured powder and liquids thrown during the festival contain toxic agents posing serious health risks. Chemical colours can severely affect pregnant women and infants.
Usually, herbal gulaal, also known as chemical free colours, are flooding the market as the festival approaches. But experts warned that these so-called organic colours ‘deemed safe and eco-friendly alternatives to synthetic colours’ are unlikely to be free of toxic substances. One of the best ways to find out whether the herbal colours you bought from the supermarket is organic is to get tested.
Researchers have found that modern versions of Holi colours contain toxic chemicals that may cause damage to the eyes, skin and lungs.
How can Holi colours affect pregnant women and their babies?
Modern versions of Holi colours are made out of dyes, chemicals, or may contain heavy metals or even pieces of crushed glass. According to BabyCenter, these metals such as lead oxide, copper sulphate can harm you and your unborn baby in a number of ways, including the nervous and respiratory systems. In severe cases of exposure, they can prove fatal, resulting in miscarriage, preterm birth or low birth weight.
Can pregnant women play Holi?
Yes, certainly, but with some precautions. Homemade colours made using ingredients such as fruits and flowers are considered safe. Moreover, natural colours made from herbal or vegetable dyes are also considered safe pregnant women and their unborn babies. It is believed that most herbal dyes also use floral or herbal extracts that act as antioxidants as well.
However, you need to be cautious of the label ‘natural’ or ‘organic’, considering the fact that the terms are being used very loosely nowadays. Moreover, there are no regulations that control the production of Holi colours. For instance, natural henna is considered safe, but black henna may cause allergic contact dermatitis due to the presence of paraphenylendiamine (PPD) in it. This means, there’s a probability that colours containing either of these forms of Henna will also be labelled as ‘natural’.
So, if you’re expecting and are planning to play Holi, the best option would be to opt for colours made at home. This will help you enjoy the festival of colours without worrying about the effects the colour might have on you or your baby. If you do not have the time to make colours at home, you need to be very careful about where you buy from.
Remember, a little planning and some compromise can help you enjoy the festival without some of the unpleasant pregnancy problems afterwards.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a professional healthcare provider if you have any specific questions about any medical matter.