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.)
-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!