Low cost, prenatal fitness classes. What a progressive thought. The New York City Prenatal Fitness Initiative is a community model that should be replicated on a national scale. A nurse midwife, Marilinda Pascoe and Andrea Bachrach Mata, an aquatic fitness instructor founded a program that offers prenatal water exercise and yoga to low-income pregnant women in North Manhattan and the Bronx at an affordable cost. For 7 weeks, pregnant women will be able to do light aerobics, swim, dance, gentle stretching and exercise for a total cost of $60.00 in a community pool. Not only will these women have fun by releasing endorphins (substances released by the brain that make you feel happy) but they will also be reducing their risks of developing gestational diabetes, obesity and other potential complications. Three weeks ago the program sponsored a community walk and invited pregnant women to participate.

Pascoe states that her program would like to collaborate with private and public partners to establish community prenatal fitness programs on a larger scale. And, why not? Fitness is a lifestyle that’s should not be synonymous with the elite. Everyone deserves to be healthy regardless of their socioeconomic status. If insurance companies and employers really want to promote health, let them pay for gym memberships or offer reduced premiums for their subscribers.

The mothers who participate in Pascoe and Mata’s program are to be commended. It is said that it takes 21 to 30 repetitions before something can become a habit. I hope that all of the participating moms develop good lifestyle habits that will be passed onto their future generations. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t take a bankroll or deep pockets to be healthy. It takes commitment, dedication and vision which Pascoe and Mata obviously have. Kudos to the New York City Prenatal Fitness Initiative for a job well done. We look forward to hearing more great things about you in the future.

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