Published on February 5th, 2015


Of prenatal fitness and other matters

Childbirth educator Sonali Shivlani’s new book is a handy guide for expectant mothers wanting guidance before, during and after birth.
by Salil Jayakar | @Salilicious on Twitter

sonali shivlaniMumbai-based Sonali Shivlani (in pic on left) is a childbirth and lactation educator with a certification from Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA), USA. She began practicing as a child birth trainer in May 2004 with BEAMS, a specialty hospital for women. In 2005, she set up her own practice and introduced her prenatal program which covers all aspects of pregnancy, birth and the post-partum period for couples. Since inception, Sonali’s Pregnancy Program has helped more than 10,000 pregnant couples prepare not only for the pregnancy and the birth of their child but also for the months thereafter.

Sonali is the author of Prenatal Fitness 360°: The Way to a Healthy Pregnancy, which draws from her rich experience as a childbirth educator and combines it with her passion for fitness. “Though this is my second book, this is the one I have worked on the longest – 18 months. It is twice the pregnancy gestation period so you can say it is twice the satisfaction,” she says.

In an e-mail interview with Salil Jayakar, Sonali talks about her new book and why it is a must-read for pregnant couples…

Why a book on prenatal fitness?
Fitness is close to my heart and I think I have been exercising for as long as I can remember. When I became the Executive Director for CAPPA India in 2009, it did not have any training program for fitness during pregnancy. I felt strongly that this was an important and crucial area since a fit mom will deliver a fit baby. We had long discussions and they (CAPPA) gave me the green signal to actually pen the fitness educator program. The program was launched worldwide in 2012 and as the Director of the program, I train internationally once a year and spread this knowledge to trainers all over the world. Somewhere along this journey came the thought of writing this book.

How easy or difficult was it to put this book together?
There are many books in the market that talk about various pregnancy-related topics but I could not find any which had it all. So I said to myself: Why not write what I consider the perfect book? I have written the book in simple, easy to understand language making sure that all technicalities are taken care of. I have also included daily meal plans and exercise routines to follow so that moms can follow a variety every day.

The toughest was getting the illustrations right. The book has over 150 illustrations and these are postures so they have to be absolutely correct. Also, placing the images during type setting took days as they would keep getting mixed up. Since I was the only technical person on board, I had to actually go through the book innumerable times to ensure that each exercise was paired with the correct illustration.

What to put in was easy. I would close my eyes and think about what I wanted as a pregnant mom and pen it down. A part of me wanted to write more about the ups and downs of pregnancy, changes in the woman, role of the partner on the emotional front, etc but I had to stop somewhere.

Is prenatal fitness a real issue with pregnant mothers? Aren’t they more worried about other stuff?
A pregnant woman would worry about delivering a healthy baby, a safe and easy birth, the right weight gain, losing weight post birth, etc. All these aspects are related to fitness. Research shows Expectant motherthat if a mom is exercising during pregnancy the baby is also technically exercising and hence, is fitter. Exercise is a mood elevator and hence pregnant women experience less mood swings. It also makes you energetic, improves sleep, prepares the body for a smoother birth experience and of course, helps in the right weight gain and loss. The right nutrition will help as well.

Does this book dispel any myths about prenatal fitness? Please elaborate on some common ones.
This is touched on briefly. Some of the common myths that women have is that it is not safe to exercise, weight lifting cannot be done during pregnancy, eating for two means eating double, any amount of weight gain is normal during pregnancy, and so on.

What can readers expect from your book? Are men expected to participate, too?
There is a section on couples’ exercise. I have actually given women 10-minutes-per-day routines which means there is no excuse to not exercise. Also the book has been reviewed by three prominent obstetricians and they have each written a note as a prelude to the book.

What are your top 3 tips on prenatal fitness?
Be happy, listen to your body and eat healthy.

Sonali signs off with these words: “I want fitness during pregnancy to be accessible to each and every pregnant mom and with this book I hope to bring prenatal fitness to their homes.”

Prenatal Fitness 360°: The Way to a Healthy Pregnancy is available on Amazon, Amazon Kindle and Flipkart. For more information contact Sonali on +91 98212 90090 or +91 22 65068534 or write to sshivlani@gmail.com.

(Pictures courtesy Sonali Shivlani and www.parentingnation.in)

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