How One New York Mom Makes City Living Easier for Pregnant Women

When Christine Serdjenian Yearwood was pregnant, she quickly realized how tough it can be for pregnant women who live in urban areas. That's why she started a company that aims to make life easier for big-city preggos.

Looks like Olivia Wilde isn't the only person who understands that subway-riding pregnant women don't always have it easy. Anyone who has ever attempted to navigate city life while expecting knows that more often than not, it's no walk in the park (no pun intended!) Christine Serdjenian Yearwood became fully aware of this when she was pregnant with her own daughter—and that's why she decided to found UP-STAND, a company that aims to make big-city residents more considerate of the pregnant women around them.

"I had a healthy pregnancy and after I had my daughter, the transition to becoming a parent was pretty isolating and pretty difficult. I joined a bunch of mom groups in my neighborhood—I live in Queens. When I went, I heard all of the women talk about how hard it is to have child and to be pregnant in New York City," Yearwood told Fit Pregnancy. "Going up and down the subway stairs, not having a seat, having to wait in line, having to carry [and walk with] groceries...there seems to be this need for New York City to be a more family-friendly place."

Yearwood's husband encouraged her to put these observations into action, and that's how UP-STAND was born. The company sells shirts, pins and other items pregnant women can use to signify that they have babies on board—these items could certainly remind others that these women should be treated in a certain way...and it's no secret that sometimes, people need all the reminders they can get.

"The response has been wonderful from parents and moms and pregnant women," Yearwood said. "Everyone I've talked to who gets it says it's a wonderful idea and 'I wish that was around when I was pregnant.' or 'how can I be supportive?' I think for the broader community there's still a lot of work that needs to be done in terms of understanding that it's not just a courtesy. For a lot of women, there are a lot of health and safety concerns that go along with being pregnant."

Yearwood's friend and fellow entrepreneurial mom, Heather Clarke Mackin, is one of the moms who has benefitted from UP-STAND and its missions. "I wear her pins as I am 27 weeks pregnant and they have been a life saver! I also used her cute shirts for my pregnancy announcement," the self-proclaimed "huge fan" of the company told Fit Pregnancy. (Heather also appeared as a model in Fit Pregnancy's recent belly painting Facebook Live.)

But New York women aren't the only ones who stand to benefit from what Yearwood is creating. The founder hopes to encourage national brands to partner with UP-STAND for family-friendly campaigns, and she understand that these pregnancy struggles aren't exclusive to urban-dwelling moms. "I'm trying to expand the pins to other cities. They also have applicability in more suburban places. Just being out and about as a pregnant woman no matter where you're living [can be tough]—a lot of times you need help carrying things, you need other people at work to be aware, especially if you're doing physical labor. Any place that doesn't have assigned seating, like a theatre, [a coffee shop, or a waiting room]...that can be anywhere in the U.S.." 

Yearwood has big hopes for her company: She hopes public transportation companies will support the mission and help dole out items to pregnant riders—and she even has an idea for an app that will help make big cities more family-friendly. "I think right now there are a lot of things that prevent people who have additional considerations from even venturing out to do things," she said. "That definitely includes nursing moms and parents as well...if people would be willing to be considerate and accomodate them, I think that would be really helpful."