Pretty Pushers began with one question:
What to wear in the hospital during birth?
Mary Apple was born on Maryland's Eastern Shore and moved to New York at the age of 17 to attend art school in Brooklyn. Her studies in Fine Art led to weaving, which then led to a true interest in how craft could be a part of something more every-day...like fashion. Hardly every-day attire, Apple started a swimwear label named Barely Mary, for those who dared to wear crocheted mohair and blue sheepskin bikinis adorned with crystals.
When pregnant in 2006 at the age of 25, she knew she just couldn’t wear an awkward, unisex hospital gown when it was time to give birth to her first child. She knew there had to be something better. She made the first Pretty Pusher Labor and Delivery Gown out of soft yellow cotton jersey. She gave the dress a tie halter top and an angled flair skirt.
As she was settling into her labor room, the nurses told her she had to remove the “pretty dress” she was wearing and change into a regular hospital gown. She insisted that this was her garment of choice for birth and that she was going to wear it. Although the halter was perfect for IV access on both arms, the cut of the back was not low enough for epidural access. She asked the nurses to cut it to below her waist, but time was running out and again they told her she would have to change into the hospital gown. She reluctantly did so...putting on the unisex frock that left her whole backside bare! She hated feeling so exposed and without control, and confined to the delivery bed.
She vowed to herself that she would design a garment that would preserve modesty AND make it easy for L&D staff to access necessary points.
At home with her newborn, Mary constructed a new version of the dress—this time with a lower back opening as well as a frontal entrance for monitors. With the full coverage of the skirt, it would allow women to be up and active during labor. This improved design is still the design Pretty Pushers uses today.
During the birth of her second child, Pretty Pushers was up and running and Apple wore the 'I Dream of Sushi' labor gown. She ended up in the same Delivery Room and had the same midwife who was present when she had to be changed out of her first gown, several years previous. This time, that same midwife, the nurses, and even the anesthesiologist praised the function of this improved gown.
11 years since that first yellow dress, more than 100,000 new moms around the world have worn a Pretty Pushers Labor Gown for the most important day of their lives. Apple still lives in New York City with her husband and 2 children.
There are many different names for the hospital gown replacement during birth - Labor Gown, Delivery Gown, Birthing Gown, Delivery Dress, Labor and Delivery Gown, and more. All serve the purpose of empowering a pregnant woman beyond the status of 'Patient' in a hospital setting.