Pregnancy in the lap of luxury?

More expectant moms are working until the last possible minute.

Published April 30, 2008 5:38PM (EDT)

I had to laugh at this CNN story from Tuesday about expectant moms spending their pregnancies in the lap of luxury. The piece surveys a litany of new services that cater to the well-to-do mother-to-be, from L.A.-based the Baby Planners, which will find you the best pregnancy photographer in town or book a prenatal massage for you, to Fresh Mommy, which will bring healthy, fresh meals to your doorstop, both pre- and post-natal. For enough coin, you can even have a servant slather cocoa butter on your pregnant belly or spoon Ben & Jerry's into your mouth.

I have no particular beef with well-heeled moms-to-be -- and their friends and family members -- juicing the economy by spending on pricey services to make their pregnancies easier or more comfortable or even fun. What's funny about this story, though, is that it's unabashedly promotional, interviewing the marketers of these services, while talking up all that they have to offer. For example: "Say you're eight months pregnant, your husband is away on business, and you find yourself with an intense craving for won ton soup -- at midnight. You could pray that your favorite Chinese restaurant is still open for deliveries, or you could call your personal pregnancy concierge." Um, or if it's not the middle of the night, you could call a friend and ask her to get some takeout and come over to hang out ... oh, never mind. The clear message in this story: Some moms are spending big bucks being pampered during their expectant months, and you, girlfriend, deserve all this and more, too! Then, the last section of the article sounds a scolding note of caution: Don't go into debt, moms-to-be, buying all these services shamelessly promoted in the rest of the article.

Meanwhile, the Christian Science Monitor is reporting about a different pregnancy trend: expectant moms working until the last possible minute before the baby arrives, so that they can save all their time off for when the baby is born: "Call it the American way of maternity. Eighty percent of pregnant women who work remained on the job until one month or less before their child's birth, according to newly released Census data for 2003. In 1965 that figure was 35 percent." As Melanie Davis, a vice president of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce, says of her son: "It would have been nice to have some time off before he was born, but I would rather have more time at home with him."

So much for spending your pregnancy in the lap of luxury!

By Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

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