Monday, April 14, 2008

URGENT REQUEST: Calling All Preggos and Former Preggos!

I have a special and urgent request for all of you who are currently pregnant, have been pregnant, or heck, like to put in their 2 cents on important issues! PLEASE RESPOND VIA COMMENT FUNCTION BY THURSDAY AT THE LATEST!

My friend, let's call her PIXIE (and this is not an imaginary friend) is in a class on universal design. She is exploring how a pregnant woman's needs change as pregnancy progresses (e.g. the picture of me in the "expectant mother" parking space). PIXIE would love if we could all weigh in on some additional examples of universal design, or areas in which we need universal design for preggos. Additionally, comments on society's response to what is in place or what should be in place is appreciated.

A more targeted question: do OB/GYN offices do anything in particular to pregnant women?

Some of my own thoughts:

For the first 18 weeks of my pregnancy, I would say that the only accommodation I was seeking was a sturdy waste basket to be attached to anything within arms reach of my body. That included my car, office, restaurants, grocery stores, etc. Truly, I was so sick, and actually losing a fair bit of weight, that I didn't notice the physical difficulties associated with pregnancy. Now that I am on the chunkeroo train, I have noticed quite a few changes that make every day life a little more difficult.

Pregnancy can affect a woman's ability to reach and bend, but it can also affect balance as well as the ability to breathe easy. I am not quite at the point where I am dramatically affected by my bodily changes, but do notice things are more difficult: tying shoes, shaving, walking up stairs, etc. I also notice strange things...like toilet seats are too low. I don't like my belly sitting on my legs. Exploring my office environment a bit more, my desk is currently okay, but I can imagine that many people have trouble pulling up to a desk with a belly. There are a few places that have "expectant mother" parking, but I have only seen 1 in Atlanta, and there certainly is not one at my office complex (the irony is that the closest entrance, the back "freight" entrance, is always sprinkled with smokers, so my shorter walk is tainted with cigarette smoke).

I am finding seat belts to be uncomfortable now, too. I haven't figured out a way to make it so that the lap belt part doesn't hurt my lower belly.

Some other observations: I don't like lying directly on my back. Therefore, acupuncture is not as "fun" and I imagine I will dislike being at the dentist this week as I am not only on my back, but launched backward, making it even more difficult to breathe.

Stepping into the shower is actually a bit more difficult. I have to do a sort of hurdle, and avoid my belly...with a slick tub, this is danger just waiting to happen. The bottom of our tub has some sort of textured circles, but they provide little to no traction. I think tubs don't accommodate ANYONE in this capacity-pregnant or not.

In terms of my particular OB/GYN office. There is no separate parking for preggos versus other gyn patients. (May I also add that they always have the heat on way too high). Additionally, the chairs in the waiting room are "pretty" but not particularly comfortable for pregnant women. I wish I could say that the office makes special accommodations for the preggos, but they really don't. It would be great if they could provide seating, both in the waiting areas, and in the examination room, more conducive to a pregnant woman's body. The chairs kind of hurt the back, and if they put you up on the table and tell you to wait, I end up lying down because I need some sort of back support. The office only has 1 set of stairs, and they just happen to be the only entrance (unless you go to the back to the handicap entrance...but it does not say preggos can use it, too). Stairs aren't a pregnant woman's best friend.

The "people movers" they have at the Atlanta airport are a great invention. They are the "flat" belts on the ground that move. I always still walk when I am on them, but they are helpful...pregnant or not!

I am sure a lot of you have some great additions to this topic. Please respond! If any strokes of genius bubble up in my head, I'll add some more thoughts. (The "genius" part is unlikely...coming from a girl who put grapefruit juice in her cereal this morning.)

Gratitudes:

-I am thankful for Skype. It's free, and a great way to video communicate with loved ones. Eric and I got to "talk" to my parents the other night over the computer. It was a treat! They were able to see, live, my fat belly and Eric's lumberjack beard. This is going to come in handy when I deliver...we'll be able to use the hospital's wireless to send live video of Linus to those loved ones far away. I highly recommend downloading this program. And if you do, let me know!

As this is an untraditional post, I am not going to do names. Eric and I are really starting to get serious, so we will have some additional deletions in the next post!

11 comments:

  1. Very interesting post... Some things you just do not think about until you are there!

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  2. Well, I'm not quite as far along as you are Ali, but I have had some difficulties so far (many of them are similar to yours):
    1)Shaving--I think they need to make razors with longer handles wo we can reach the bottom of our legs without going into contortions.
    2) Discounts at hair salons (my arms really hurt and I get out of breath blowdrying my hair).
    3)Mid-maternity clothes--we can't fit into most maternity clothes until the fourth month or so, which leaves us with about three months of no-man's-land squeezing into our fat pants and trying to cover the unzipped parts.
    4)I'd like large bras to be sold in normal stores (like Target) so that I don't have to pay $50 for a bra that I won't be able to fit in 6 months!!!
    That's all for me for now...I hope this helps

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  3. hi- i forwarded this post to current & former preggos that i know - hope they repsond!

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  4. This is probably obscure and only impacts Episcopalian and possibly Roman Catholics, but it used to be difficult to kneel in the pew with my tummy hitting the hymn rack in front of me.
    I think that having to reach for produce at the grocery store poses the risk of "upsetting the apple cart" (or oranges, cucumbers, pears, or anything else subject to rolling).

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  5. Oh! Another one! There need to be accessible bathrooms everywhere!!!!

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  6. Interesting post. I recently had a baby girl (5 weeks old!) and I am already starting to forget about all the annoyances that came along with pregnancy, however I do remember being frustrated at the 3 month mark for being in btw my old clothes and preggo clothes. It happened again by the 9th month too- most of the preggo clothes I purchased no longer were comfortable! By the 9th month sitting anywhere was uncomfortable! I also second the shaving and shower annoyances. The other thing that I hated was walking this winter. Running out of salt during one of the snowiest and iciest winters on record while 9 months pregnant was scary!!!

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  8. Hm. I'm only at the early part of my pregnancy (7th week) but it's hard to fit into my clothes; I wish there were more things to wear that would actually be comfortable without resorting to sweats :)
    I am usually able to find bathrooms, and they do have preggo parking at kroger stores where i get most of my groceries.
    I anticipate needing razors with longer handles -- considering that hair is growing at record speed and not just on top of my head!!!

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  9. Someone actually wants to hear the complaints/suggestions of a woman who is 8 1/2 months pregnant? Awesome.

    At the office:
    1) I am fortunate that my boss previously invested in ergonomic chairs--it makes a huge difference at this point.
    2) I would love to have a small stool to put my feet on (I use my computer speaker)--my feet don't quite reach the floor, which put a lot of strain on my back (I'm 5'2").
    3) The option to work from home is key. I have a friend who worked from home exclusively her last 2 weeks because she was just so swollen. I have the option and will be using it more.
    4) If there's room in an office space, a couch or someplace to put your feet up for a while (or maybe nap, if your workplace is really understanding) would be really nice.

    Clothes (this may not be structural but maybe it counts):
    1) I am totally with Renata on the bra thing! Bras for women who busty shouldn't cost so much, particularly if they're only planning to wear them for pregnancy. I take mine off the moment I get home!
    2) It would be nice if maternity clothes actually fit throughout pregnancy. Motherhood Maternity has this paneling called "Secret Fit" that seems like it would last throughout, but I just bought my first pair of these pants, so I'm not sure.

    Parking
    1) I know expectant mom parking is not feasible everywhere but it would be really nice at the grocery store (and maybe even some spots for parents with young kids). A pregnant woman has to eat and those grocery bags get heavy!

    I hope this helps out your friend. If you can, it would be nice if you share some of her results.

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  10. Also, in all the places I lived, I have only seen one grocery chain do this (Wegman's), and it is awesome--providing "helping hands", people who will take your cart to a drive up area and put your bags in your car. That chain also provides a babysitting service in a decked out room for young kids. Both these things are a huge help to preggos and new parents, and are probably good for business, too.

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  11. I don't know if I'm too late for this...
    #1...accomodating employer spaces for women who need to return to work and breastfeed.
    Handles in the bathroom because I'm so tired I need to sit down and feel like I'm going to fall in the toliet all of them time.
    Ditto on the razors.
    Ditto on the maternity clothes.

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