The best time of the year is upon us, and the resplendent marketplaces, the scrumptious delicacies and the slight nip in the air make for a delightful combination. Now, if you happen to be pregnant at this time of the year, you may have resigned to the idea that you won’t be able to make the most of the festivities.
I was pregnant on Diwali two years ago, and contrary to popular belief, I was able to have a pretty good time. What’s more-you get an extra dose of love and attention (not to mention gifts!) when you’re pregnant during the festivities. The key, though, is to participate mindfully and to make informed choices.
By the end of this blog post, I hope that you will be convinced that-with the right kind of precautions-you can have a great time this Diwali season.
1. Spring-cleaning: We may be well into the autumnal months, but spring-cleaning is an essential chore in most Indian homes before Diwali. You may be tempted to get cracking on those unsorted piles of books and clothes and wiping the dust off the nooks and corners, but keep in mind that these physically arduous tasks are not ideal for you. Apart from the dangers of intense physical labour, you’re also at risk of inhaling those harmful cleaning chemicals. Leave the tasks of cleaning and sorting to the others this year. You can do your bit by decorating the home. Look up some interesting DIY décor tips to get your home Diwali-ready.
2. Festivity feasting: Let’s face it-Diwali feasts are all about the sugary, spicy and deep-fried foods-just the kind that the dreams of our cravings are made of! These foods are hard to resist, and when you’re pregnant, your uncontrollable cravings dare to get the better of you. So, should you let go and dig in this one time? Probably not. I made the mistake of binge-eating these goodies, and the indigestion, acidity and heartburn was regrettable, to say the least. The key is to indulge, but in moderation. Moderation is best exercised both in terms of quantity and quality. You can eat a bite or two of mithai every few hours and snack on the chips, namkeen and savoury snacks, but ensure that a large part of your diet is about healthy snack items (there’s no dearth of delicious healthy recipes online). Alcohol and extra doses of caffeine are still best avoided.
3. Outfits and beauty treatments: For me, taking my time to get dressed on Diwali is an exceptionally enjoyable beauty ritual. Pre-Diwali beauty treatments are an indulgence in their own right, but it’s important to keep in mind that not all beauty treatments are safe for pregnant women. This is, of course, something you should keep in mind in the context of beauty treatments throughout your pregnancy. Avoid treatments or makeup products that are heavy on chemicals. As for your outfit, pick natural fabrics over synthetic ones. Not only will these help you feel cool and comfortable, but they’re also less likely to catch fire. Skip the heels and opt for comfortable and supportive footwear. If you’re choosing to wear flats, make sure that the sole of the shoe grips well.
4. Firecrackers: Let’s spell out both concerns right away: loud noise and pollution. Both of these things aren’t great for you or your baby. If there must be fireworks as a part of your Diwali, then make sure that you’re standing at a safe distance.
5. Customs and rituals: Diwali celebrations are a lot about the customs and rituals. This can often translate into bending down to touch the feet of elders while greeting them, or kneeling down during the puja. Just as you’re advised against lifting or moving heavy objects, it is wise for you to avoid straining your back while greeting adults or participating in the puja. The extent to which you need to be mindful of this depends on the stage of your pregnancy, of course. So, if you must be bending over, then make sure to use your knees rather than strain your back.
Here’s wishing you (and your bump) a safe, splendid and happy Diwali!
Shefali Kapoor, 30, Bangalore