U.S. Birth Rate Still Declines, but Business Is Booming

From Royalty to Roommates, Giving ‘Push Presents’ is In, However, Faux is a No By Eleanor McCoulla


St Hollywood, FL -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/31/2012 -- The National Center for Health Statistics reported in October that the count of births in the United States for the 12-month period ending June 2012 was 3,942,000 — 1 percent lower than the year before. In fact, the number of births in the U.S. has been steadily declining since 2007’s historic high.

However, a smaller proportion of childbearing-aged women and the nation’s economic woes may not be putting the chill on all aspects of the practice of baby-making. One pregnancy trend is experiencing unprecedented growth: push presents.

Push presents

In essence, it’s a gift given to a new mom to appreciate her journey through pregnancy.

And although the possibly TMI term ‘push present’ has met with a degree of distaste, upon second thought, the idea of honoring a woman’s sacrifice during pregnancy and childbirth most often seems only natural, and is quickly becoming the norm. Thanks in part to some word-of-mouth publicity (and perhaps a little peer pressure), many women no longer wonder if they will receive a luxurious gift around their due date, but wonder what they will receive.

Despite declining population growth in the U.S., more and more push gift options spring up on the Web each day: marketing schemes run the gamut from personalized ‘story of your life’ photo books to LED-lit birthstone-colored faux flower arrangements.

As reported by marketing and media research firms Mindshare and Ogilvy & Mather, women currently account for roughly 85 percent of all consumer purchases, a state which likely only fosters the growth of the birthing gift trend.

What companies are pushing via the fashionable new handle changes daily, but the concept behind the trend is actually ancient. Legend has it, a thousand years ago, men presented their pregnant mates with a gift in honor of the Roman goddess Juno — she was thought to be a protector of women during childbirth, and the trinket symbolized the deity’s protection of both mother and child.

A millennium later, the practice has survived, and evolved into a more polished ritual. Also often called a ‘push gift,’ more and more women around the world receive elaborate jewelry pieces from family, friends or partners before or after giving birth. Most notably the piece is designed to symbolize the labor and pregnancy experience — even if there wasn’t a lot of ‘pushing’ involved, as in the case of births via caesarian section.

A 2008 survey of 30,000 women conducted by BabyCenter.com found that 38 percent of new mothers received a push present, and 55 percent of pregnant mothers wanted one.

Although the concept’s detractors say the act of child birth shouldn’t be associated with materialism, most givers and receivers of push gifts say the act symbolizes the indescribable struggles and joy involved in the birthing process, which is why the gift shouldn’t be an inexpensive bauble.

“I was still in the hospital and was feeling completely unattractive and exhausted,” wrote Phoenix mom Cathy Baker on one leading push present company’s Website. Upon receiving a push gift of precious jewelry from her husband, she “read this beautiful poem that was written on the top inside of the box all about how much he appreciated me and what I’ve been through. I instantly started crying! It was such a beautiful and emotional moment for both of us.”

In recent months, the burgeoning push present industry has also enjoyed new vigor due to the endorsement of the glitterati: a string of celebs have been spotted sporting gifts of everything from luxury cars to canary diamonds.

“OK! Magazine” told us in March that Jessica Simpson’s NFL star fiancé presented her with a collection of custom-designed platinum bracelets. Reality star and new mom Kristin Cavallari reportedly received a pricey handbag from fiancé Jay Cutler in August, and just a month later, the web was awash with reports of expectant “Jersey Shore” star Snookie’s bargain-priced sterling silver charm bracelet. Kate Middleton’s Balmoral castle, err, ‘cottage,’ may not be topped anytime soon.

Push presents may have a bit of a bad rap as fodder for keeping up with the Jones’, however, one South Florida jewelry designer says that, regardless of the price tag, it’s not just the bling that makes the gift: It’s the symbolism behind it.

“During my wife’s first pregnancy, I was introduced to the term ‘push present’ and really believe that if ever there was a time in her life she deserved a gift of appreciation from me, it was then. I knew I wanted the gift to be luxurious but also truly unique to the situation. I wanted something symbolic that had real meaning to it. After extensive searching, I realized that there was nothing out there that combined luxury, beauty, and true meaning. I started this brand and vowed to make the ideal push present for all those expecting,” says Erik Kaplan, founder of Juno Lucina, a Hollywood-based fine jewelry brand that crafts symbolic diamond pendants, earrings, and bracelets. The original designers of the trendsetting ‘Push Pendant,’ in recent years, Juno Lucina has emerged at the forefront of the pregnancy gift market.

Over the last year, Kaplan’s U.S.-based company has seen sales of their Signature Pendant increase by more than 300 percent. The gold and diamond pendant is styled as a representation of Juno’s hands cradling and protecting the head of mother and child. “This is no time to buy a charm or kitschy gemstone piece, as this is the most deserving gift she will ever receive, and as such should be made of gold and diamonds,” Kaplan said. Depending on the diamond weight, options range in price from $300 to $4,999.

Kaplan says it’s a small price to pay for immortalizing a moment in a woman’s life which, on average, may come along only once or twice.

“The journey of pregnancy is something men will never understand,” Kaplan said. “We can only watch and support. I believe there is no gift-giving day in the world that makes more sense than this one: appreciating a loved one’s journey through pregnancy and childbirth, which is why this trend will continue to grow into a society norm.”

For more information 866-860-8261 or visit http://www.jlucina.com/