SOME women might choose to celebrate their pregnancy with a baby shower or a photo shoot.

But now a growing number of mums to be are having their bumps painted.

From a lifelike depiction of an unborn baby to a map of the world, baby bump painting, or gestational art as it is also known, is a growing trend.

Leila Searle, a beauty therapist and face painter from Upton in Poole, has had a number of requests to paint expectant mothers’ stomachs in the past six months.

“It makes a good canvas as you can include more detail,” she said.

“As long as there are no sudden movements it is fine, although I’m sure the babies can feel something – it might be quite ticklish for them. I was painting a lady’s bump the other day and her baby was moving around so much that we had to wait until it settled down!”

Sophia Vieira who lives in Whitecliff in Poole, had a planet painted on her stomach to mark her second pregnancy.

“I invited Leila to do some face painting for my daughter’s birthday and when I heard about the baby bump painting I thought it would be an original way to celebrate the bump,” she said.

Leila, who has created a new heart design to tie in with Valentine’s Day, said she has had some unusual requests from space hoppers to gremlins.

“I try to accommodate most requests but I don’t like to do anything too freaky,” she said.

Earlier this week Leila was invited onto a local radio station to paint pregnant DJ Zoe Hanson’s stomach live on air.

“I use normal face paints, they are non toxic and have been approved by the Food and Drugs Association so they are safe.”

Sophia whose baby is due shortly added: “I find it very relaxing – as it means you can put your feet up for an hour – it also helps to take my mind off the pregnancy”.