A lot of women worry that they will miss being pregnant or forget how their bodies grew and changed to accommodate their growing baby. Some women decide to have a belly cast made of the pregnant body in order to remember and honour the time they were pregnant. Although belly casting is extremely popular in America, its popularity is increasing in the UK too.
A belly cast is a 3 dimensional sculpture and may also be referred to as a pre-natal cast, pregnancy plaster cast, a belly mask or a belly mould.
A belly cast is usually made in the eighth or ninth month of pregnancy and people may decide to try and make their own, order a do-it-yourself kit or go to a professional business to have one made.
Some women decide to make a cast of just their belly, while others decide to include the breast, shoulders and even the arms or thighs. There is no right or wrong style of belly cast.
The majority of belly casts are then created into works of art by using transfers to decorate them or by painting designs on them. These can then be displayed and hung on walls just like a normal picture.
Belly casting kits can be purchased easily from a large selection of shops or specialists and although they vary in price can cost as little as £20 or you could purchase the materials separately from an art and craft shop.
Belly casts are made by using plaster gauze bandages such as mod-roc and layering them onto the belly. It is important that a lubricant such as Vaseline is used generously onto the mum-to-be’s skin. The mum-to-be will need help to make her own belly cast. The mum-to-be will then need to remain as still as possible for approximately 30 minutes in order to allow the plaster gauze to begin to set. Then the mum-to-be will need to try and wriggle out from the cast gently and the cast may need another 24-36 hours to set and dry completely. The cast will then need to be painted with a primer such as Gesso in order to preserve the cast and to stop it from absorbing too much moisture. Once this primer is dry, the cast is ready to displayed or decorated.
Many pregnant women like to record the making of the belly cast by taking plenty of photographs of the process. A belly cast could also be a great present for a baby shower, though it’s worth checking that the Mum-to-be would like one!
by Jenny, Mum to William and James