Not Your Grandmother’s Pregnancy To-do List

A recent list of “prenatal chores for the 21st century” reminded me how much pregnancy has changed in the last generation. Whatever happened to:
1. Make a list of phone numbers so your husband can call the relatives with the birth news from the hospital (and collect a bunch of quarters, since he’ll probably have to use the pay phone down the hall from your room).
2. Take a neutral outfit to bring the baby home. (After all, you don’t know if it will be a boy or a girl and you don’t want strangers to mis-identify it.)
3. Be sure there’s room in the back seat of the car for Mom to sit there holding Baby on the way home from the hospital.
4. Remind your husband to buy cigars to give out after the birth. Oops, can’t buy them yet — don’t know whether we need pink or blue.
5. Address the birth announcements and take them to the hospital with you in case you have time to fill in the information while you are bedridden (up to a week).

Contrast that to the more recent list:
1. Set up a pregnancy/new baby blog.
2. Find an online pregnancy support group.
3. Register your baby’s domain name.
4. Make plans to store the umbilical cord.
5. Set up text message alerts to announce the blessed event.

It got me to thinking about what other changes have come about in birth preparation in the last couple of decades.

Did anyone know what a doula was in 1990? Did anyone make a “birth plan” in those days? Ultrasounds have been around since the 1970s, but not with the 3D and 4D technology they have today.

And, certainly, no one ever bared a pregnant belly to the public even a generation ago (we can thank Demi Moore for changing that).

Naming the Baby …
Has the baby-naming process changed, too? Actually, it’s big business — more than 80 baby-name books have been published in the last three years, and according to The Wall Street Journal, more than 100 specialty Web sites have popped up offering everything from searchable databases and online snap polls to private consultations.
Here’s a look back a couple of decades at the most popular baby names, according to the U.S. Census Bureau:

1 Michael, Jessica
2 Christopher, Ashley
3 Matthew, Amanda
4 Joshua, Jennifer
5 David, Sarah
6 Andrew, Stephanie
7 Daniel, Brittany
8 James, Nicole
9 Justin, Heather
10 Robert, Elizabeth

1 Jacob, Emily
2 Michael, Isabella
3 Ethan, Emma
4 Joshua, Ava
5 Daniel, Madison
6 Christopher, Sophia
7 Anthony, Olivia
8 William, Abigail
9 Matthew, Hannah
10 Andrew, Elizabeth

Don’t Name Your Baby This …
We’ve all got our favorite BAD Baby Name, but a recent book by that title reminded us of some extraordinary examples. These are all real, I swear!
Acne Fountain
Lust T. Castle
Mary A. Jerk
Fanny Whiffer
Lard Mooney
Good Hell
Emma Royd
Stud Duck
Noble Butt
Naught E. Bishop

Source: “BAD BABY NAMES,” by Michael Sherrod and Matthew Rayback. Ancestry Publishing, March 2008.

Still Stuck? Try a Sci-Fi Baby Name
Hot off the press is yet another baby-naming book for sci-fi fans. Of course, we don’t need to remind you of these names, but sometimes pregnancy fogs the mind and you might not be able to recall:
Chakotay – from “Star Trek: Voyager” – this loyal second-in-command is one of my personal favorites, so I’d love to name a son (or grandson) after him.
Barbarella – both a comic book heroine and the star of a 1968 movie by this name
Lois – Superman’s long-suffering girlfriend – but your daughter might wait a long time to be lucky in love
Zardoz – from the 1974 epic of the same name, also known as Mighty Zardoz (try telling “Mighty Zardoz” that it’s his bedtime or he’s had too many cookies and see what happens).
Dana – inquisitive, smart and brave from the “X-files” TV series
Yoda – of “Star Wars” fame, but don’t blame me if your kid thinks he knows everything
Mindy – however, your daughter could fall in love with an alien (from the TV series “Mork and Mindy,” circa 1980)
Logan – from “Logan’s Run” (1976) and the X-Men (Wolverine’s human name)

Source: “Sci-Fi Baby Names,” by Robert Schnakenberg, Quirk Books, 2007.

Elaine Heitman is the Executive Editor of Charlotte Parent Magazine