Book Review: "Fit & Healthy Pregnancy" by Kristina Pinto
Exercise during pregnancy has come a long way in terms of acceptance from the medical world. Nevertheless, I still come across a lot of people who are shocked to see a pregnant woman lifting weights, running, or exerting herself in any way. Mom, marathoner, and running coach Kristina Pinto’s new book, Fit & Healthy Pregnancy aims to not only dispel some of the myths about prenatal fitness, but also delve into how exercise can make you a better, healthier mom.
At the beginning of the book, Kristina tells the story of how she discovered the benefits of exercise after the birth of her own child. Her story resonated with me, both on a personal level and based on stories I’ve heard from other women. Kristina hits the nail on the head when she relates her own experience of getting back into running after her pregnancy and postpartum depression:
It took six months to motivate myself to start running at all and a year to run a slow but liberating 10K…It was no fluke that my slow return to running coincided with greater adoration of my baby and a new love for being his mother.
Many moms feel that following athletic pursuits has to be a thing of the past after a new baby is born. What Kristina drives home here – and what seems to be the case for most women - is that an active lifestyle can help you see motherhood in a new light and achieve a higher level of balance.
Fit & Healthy Pregnancy is a superb resource for several reasons:
Comprehensive and Detailed: The book has an amazing scope, both in terms of the amount of time covered (pre-conception to postpartum) and the topics explored – everything from the common concerns about nutrition, weight gain, and labor preparation, to more specific information about sport specific training for swimming, cycling, and running at each stage of pregnancy, how to fuel recovery while breastfeeding, helpful gear to have at each stage, and a purchase guide for a trainer, jogger, or treadmill.
Applicable for Women at All Fitness Levels: A lot of the prenatal fitness books I’ve read are geared either toward women who are completely new to exercise or more advanced athletes. Kristina’s book strikes a happy medium between those two extremes, providing information for both the newcomer and the seasoned athlete. The book is clearly written from an athlete’s perspective, but also provides guidance for those who are newer to the fitness scene.
Mind/Body Approach: In addition to being a mom, running coach, and marathoner, Kristina Pinto also happens to be a developmental psychologist. This background allows her to address both the physical and mental benefits of training during and after pregnancy – as well as the physical and mental challenges. Any mom will tell you that the mental game is one of the most challenging and frustrating elements of staying in shape and staying sane as a mother. Kristina also wrote the book with Dr. Rachel Kramer, who is not only an OB-GYN but also a mom and athlete herself.
Practical Information: Each chapter of Fit & Healthy Pregnancy includes a segment with sport-specific training plans for runners, cyclists, and swimmers, as well as a Strength and Flexibility section with exercises for each trimester. To that end, it’s a guide not only to the “why” but also the “how” behind exercising as a new mom.
As a mom and someone who both specializes in prenatal fitness and wellness for new mothers, I am excited to see this book out there. It has helped me during my current pregnancy and is definitely on my recommended reading list for any mom who wants to learn more about staying active, sane, and healthy as a mom.
“Fit & Healthy Pregnancy” is available for $12.85 at Amazon.com.