- The Washington Times - Monday, June 25, 2001

NEW BERLIN, Wis. — LaNette McQuitty fanned out the cards and asked the game-players to pick one. Stu LaRose held his face down as the selection was made, but his wife, Julie, couldn´t help sneaking a peek at the card.

"You´re not supposed to look at it," Mrs. McQuitty reminded her.

Too late.

"It´s a boy. Max Arthur: 6 pounds, 15 ounces and 19 inches," Julie LaRose read from the card.

That disclosure wasn´t supposed to come until the end of the board game. Called "Who´s having this baby anyway?," it was created by Miss McQuitty and Aimie Siller as a way of educating people about childbirth.

The LaRoses were expecting their first child when they played the game.

The board game traces the desires of the mother- and father-to-be, moods and physical changes, as well as the baby´s development during the 40 weeks of pregnancy.

As many as four players start with their purple, yellow, pink and blue plastic game pieces in the conception area — a bed with a smiling pillow — and move along the board as each draws a card from one of four piles, one for each trimester and another called "Labor."

The cards mix advice with observations, such as one in the third trimester: "Mom has locked her keys in the car 3 times this month! She has pregnancy brain. Move ahead a week. Between hormonal changes and preoccupation with the upcoming birth, Mom may find she´s not always able to focus."

Or a card from the first trimester pile: "Mom has gone 10 weeks without coffee. Move ahead 3 weeks. Studies show that as little as three cups of caffeinated beverages a day may increase risk of miscarriage and growth retardation."

At the conclusion, players turn over that first card they picked to learn the sex of their mock baby.

"I thought it was hilarious actually. There were some really funny parts that pegged my personality," Stu LaRose said.

Julie LaRose said the game also made her laugh — which is important during pregnancy.

Production started more than a year ago, and Miss McQuitty said more than 1,200 copies of the game have been sold, at $34.95 each, in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Some high schools are using the game in human growth and development classes, she said, and it will be used next fall in the nursing program at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas.

"I think it ties to our faculty´s belief that the more ways you try to present and reinforce information, the more likely the students will recall the information when they need it," said Deborah Garrison, who heads the program at Midwestern State.

Miss McQuitty and Miss Siller, both of New Berlin, own Baby´s Birth Benefits and are certified as professional labor assistants through the Association of Labor Assistance and Childbirth Educators.

Miss McQuitty said the idea for the game came from a dream after a long night assisting at a birth.

"What we thought is that moms need to know the options, and that pregnancy is normal and it´s not a medical crisis," said Miss McQuitty, who described the game as the first of its kind.

Paragon Packaging of Lake Bluff, Ill., which is responsible for manufacturing Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit, decided to add the game to its roster because it was a unique educational tool, company President Ron Cohn said.

"These ladies are very bright and very committed and very passionate for this product," Mr. Cohn said.

Miss McQuitty and Miss Siller are talking to national retail chains about adding the game to their shelves.

Miss McQuitty projects sales of 30,000 copies over the next two years.

Then there´s a sequel, "Who´s raising this baby anyway?," that the two women expect to have in production by next spring.

That could be only the start, Miss McQuitty said.

"Heck, we may just go all the way to menopause," she said.

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