Tell us a little about yourself.
I am Dr. Pinkey Patel, Pharm D, a pre/postnatal certified trainer, clinical pharmacist, and Oklahoma native passionate about bridging the gap in women’s maternal healthcare globally by making pregnancy and postpartum resources accessible, easy-to-understand, and helpful in teaching women to advocate for their health in the form of an app, consultancy, and blog! When I am not playing mama to a six month baby boy, Arjun and three year old daughter, Karishma, you can find me pumping iron, trying to squeeze in a run, or enjoying some good ole’ tex mex. With a baby in one arm and a laptop in the other, I am navigating mompreneurship while working full time!
You can follow Dr. Pinkey on Instagram @fitpinkx
What brought you to where you are now? Bring us along from the beginning.
This truly has been a long journey, that keeps unfolding. I am an Oklahoma native that grew up in small town Oklahoma. My parents immigrated from India over 30 years ago and they worked in the hospitality industry to create the 'American dream." To be honest, I still felt the need to hustle my way, on my own. I soaked every opportunity dry to pay for my college—from pageants, choir, valedictorian, three jobs while I secretly studied my highlighted organic chemistry note cards—you name it!
I received my doctorate from the University of Oklahoma at 23, got married, practiced pharmacy (still do!), became a personal trainer (over ten years ago), and eventually started a family. You probably wonder how I ended up starting my company in the tech and wellness space, being a health professional...well, it was all because of my experience while pregnant and my postpartum period. It was and still has it's challenges as I navigate this new 'hood' of motherhood, work, and entrepreneurship—but this is truly the most fulfilling work I can do—to help other mamas and babies thrive. Now, you can catch me in the closet or corner of the house squeezing in work while my littles are off to bed, but nothing can quite explain how good it feels..to give back.
Tell us about your partner. What made you want to start or grow a family together?
My husband and I are actually high school sweethearts! Much of our time initially was spent on AOL messenger, ha! We attended undergrad together and got married during my last year of pharmacy school. We made the personal decision to start a family six years after being married, this was to enjoy each other after being in school for so long & travel some! We always wanted to grow a family together. In August of 2015, I found out I was pregnant with my first born, Karishma.
What was your journey to parenthood like?
I have to admit, this is something we just learn as we go. It really is just that—a journey. The most fulfilling yet challenging role there ever was! I always knew how I wanted to parent, but honestly—they in turn, teach you so much as well. It has been one of the most humbling experiences and trust me, I am still learning!
What was happening in your life when you decided to start your family?
I was working full time as a clinical pharmacist, and it was definitely a slower time compared to the second time around! We actually decided to conceive in the beginning of 2015, but it didn't happen until the end of July/August that year.
How did you care for yourself while trying to conceive?
Prior to conception, I was deep into research and was extremely fascinated in what was truly involved in bringing a baby into this world. Sure, we think about increasing hydration, eating healthy, and exercising—but I wanted to learn how and why. I really do believe that preparing the in utero environment prior to conception is immensely valuable. This goes back to egg and sperm quality. Micronutrient status is a modifiable risk factor that may have an impact on female fertility, as essential vitamins and minerals have important roles in the physiological processes that are involved. Adequate levels are important for oocyte quality, maturation, fertilization, and implantation, whereas antioxidants are vital to reduce oxidative stress, a process known to impair fertility. Once conceived, the babe lives in the uterus for nine months—it was my goal is prime "it's home" to the best of my ability. This was personally done by ensuring I was working out regularly, juicing at home, and eating dense/whole food. There are substantial benefits to corrective exercise during preconception and of course, pregnancy. I always recommend my clients be in the best shape, if possible, walking into a potential pregnancy—as there are numerous benefits to not only the mom, but baby.
How did you care for your body while pregnant?
This was achieved by a combo of working out, eating as well as I could (listen, not perfect here—my sweet tooth had to be tamed!), and accepting that my body was made to do this. Mental health
was a priority when I learned how quickly I was going down a rabbit hole at times (hello, hormones). Although I am not a fan of yoga (ha!), I even started to incorporate this into my training! I definitely attribute much of my ability to labor naturally for 60 hours (my daughter clearly was taking her time) to yoga, strength, and endurance training! I also gave myself grace with my weight gain. This can oddly be a stressor since we have to learn to embrace our changing bodies as we grow these humans. Having faith in the process and accepting that we were made to do this, helped me tremendously.
What experiences shaped your understanding of conception and pregnancy?
As a healthcare professional and a 'scientist' by nature, I was intrigued by the process. Being a personal trainer that received in-depth training in pre/post natal fitness also contributed to my understanding of movement patterns that serve mamas during pregnancy and postpartum. In fact, my postpartum experience and meaningful conversations that I had with many women led me to developing my passion, The SnapBack
The average time between delivery and the first postpartum follow up visit is six weeks. After six weeks of sedentary living and physical-mental changes, most women are cleared to return to normal activity. Nine months of creating life and readjusting organs, cannot be solved effectively in one appointment after six weeks. Women deserve better healthcare and tools. The North American region has one of the highest spends on maternal care, yet we experience some of the highest complication and C-section rates. We can mitigate peeing on ourselves, we can mitigate pelvic floor separation, and we can reduce anxiety by being equipped with the right, science-backed, tools. I cannot wait to take my experiences and help shape a better future for mamas, everywhere.
Tell us how you found out you were pregnant. We'd love details!
We were actually at a friend's wedding, out of state. I had picked up an acupuncture session with one of my favorite acupuncturists while I was there, between the wedding and reception. Upon seeing the acupuncturist, she asked me if I had taken a test for pregnancy. We were trying so I told her I did earlier that week, however, it was negative. She proceeded to tell me to take one again. I brushed it off until a few hours later, I felt compelled to check. I went to Walgreens in my Indian outfit and grabbed a test. We went back to the hotel and of course, the little line slowly crept in—I was pregnant! I screamed and couldn't believe it, so I made my husband go back and get five more tests (LOL). I came back, took all five and then went outside by the pool and stared at them. My life changed that day!
What have you learned as a result of trying to get pregnant and/or being pregnant?
That we as women are forces and the act of building, carrying, and birthing humans is, by far, the most rewarding and challenging act. Looking back as I just had another baby, it really does fly by. I have ultimately learned to trust my body, above all. Oh, and that although I already respected and was in awe of my mother, each day I wake up and STILL wonder—"how on earth did my mom do this?"
What's your wish for women who are trying to conceive?
No matter how long you try or what the outcome, we must respect our bodies and use the time to conceive as an opportunity to prepare the in utero environment as the future home for the babe. It will eventually happen, no matter the route—not all is in our control. What IS in our control is how we cultivate and prepare our bodies for the responsibility of carrying these tiny humans.