Prenatal henna design by Heidi Duncan, inspired by a Native American dreamcatcher

Photo used with permission.

I love how henna enhances the natural beauty of every pregnant woman. Whether it’s applied during a private session with a couple of friends or included as part of a Mother Blessing event, this is a unique way to create a special memory while mom enjoys some pampering. The lavender-scented paste gently stains the skin, leaving behind an intricate design that hides stretch marks, looks great in maternity photos and might even last long enough to be your focal point during labor.

Feeling inspired? I offer appointments throughout the Greater Nashville area. Contact me to schedule your personalized session.


“Lounging while the lightly scented and cooling henna paste is applied to the skin is very calming and provides an opportunity to support and encourage the new mom. This is a wonderful time to quietly visit with friends while creating a joyous celebration of the last phase of pregnancy.”  –Henna Caravan


Prenatal henna sessions are $125.  The session location is chosen by the client, typically at home with a couple of friends or at a special event such as a Mother Blessing.  Plan on a session lasting up to 3 hours for a detailed full belly design such as the ones shown here and usually longer if there are guests present.  (The chatter and laughter help pass the time but also means I have to stop while my canvas is “in motion.”)

I use genuine henna mixed with Lavender essential oil for my prenatal mehndi designs.  (My preferred powders are distributed by Henna Caravan and Artistic Adornment.  I use high-quality essential oils.)


Prenatal henna belly tattoos are a wonderful way to prepare for a maternity photo shoot.

Photo used with permission.

Henna is applied as a paste and allowed to dry on the skin for a few hours, preferably overnight for prenatal clients since the tight skin of the belly doesn’t receive the natural dye as readily. During that time, the skin below becomes stained in a golden color. The dried paste is then removed. (I use a paper medical tape to cover the design and most of the paste will come off easily when you remove the tape.) The color of the stain will mature to a darker brown within 48 hours. Completed designs can last anywhere from 1-3 weeks.

A comfy chair for mom is a plus!

My preference is to create a design inspired by images my client is attracted to or finds meaningful. Search for photos online of patterns and shapes that you like and I will do my best to recreate that for you. I sometimes use a basic transfer medium such as those used by traditional tattoo artists. It washes off readily and most will be covered by the henna.

If you are planning maternity photos and want your mehndi tattoo to be featured, you may want to schedule a two-part session with your photographer: a brief time (15-20 minutes) at the end of our session to capture the very dark paste design (before it is covered and sealed) and a standard photo session 2-3 days afterwards when the stain is at its peak.

Lovely floral henna design done by Heidi Duncan on a mom preparing for a home birth

Photo used with permission.


Henna is a natural product and is safe for most people, most of the time.  If you’ve previously had a mehndi tattoo done, you can probably continue to use henna while you’re pregnant, provided your pregnancy isn’t considered high risk. Check with your doctor or midwife to make sure that it is safe for you.

Do not use henna if you suffer or have suffered from any of the following conditions.

Do not use henna if you already have children who suffer or who have suffered from the following conditions.

  • G6DP Deficiency (Glucose-6 Phosphate Dehydrogenase Deficiency)
  • Hyperbilirubinemia
  • Anemia
  • Any Chronic or acute condition which affects your blood system
  • Any Chronic or acute condition which affects your immune system
  • Citrus allergies
  • Allergy/intolerance to Fava Beans

If you are not sure if you have any of these conditions, consult with your primary physician, midwife or OB before proceeding.

CONTENTS: red henna/Lawsonia inermis (organic when available), lemon juice, sucrose, and essential oil of Lavender.  Does not contain chemical dyes, PPD, preservatives or nut derivatives.

WARNING:  “Black henna” is not real natural henna.  It is a chemical that is dangerous and can permanently burn skin.  Never use black henna!