Published in the April 2011 issue of Today’s Hospitalist
WHEN MARIA TRANTO, DO, WAS PREGNANT with her first child, she struggled with lab coats that didn’t fit her expanding waistline. But it wasn’t until a few years later when pregnant colleagues asked for help finding a better-fitting coat that she started thinking about possible solutions.
That’s when Dr. Tranto, a solo internist in Weirton, W.Va., realized there was a market for maternity lab coats. She and her husband, hospitalist George Dimitriou, MD, got to work, designing a coat specifically for pregnant physicians.
The result is the PROcreations Maternity Lab Coat, which the couple took to market in late 2009. This patented coat features a belt in the back that can expand during pregnancy, making it ideal for expectant women.
Another great feature: While the coat expands around the bust and belly, the length of the coat and sleeves remains the same. Pregnant women who have tried simply ordering a bigger coat know that length can be a big problem.
"The adjustable belt makes the coat flattering not only during pregnancy," Dr. Tranto says. "It also helps the coat conform to the figure of many nonpregnant women better than standard lab coats on the market."
According to Dr. Tranto, the coats have been selling briskly, in part because the retail price of $68.50 for a basic model is very competitive with standard lab coats. The coat has also found additional markets with medical students, pharmacists, optometrists, veterinarians and lab techs.
Dr. Tranto notes that the coats are made and manufactured entirely in the U.S. The fabric comes from Missouri, and the coats are made in a small Ohio town.
What’s next? Her company is working on other products geared toward physicians, and while she’s not ready to talk about those yet, she says she has definitely been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug.
"The days of the primary care physician are dwindling," Dr. Tranto says, "so you have to reinvent yourself."
More information about the maternity lab coat is online at www.maternitylabcoats.com.