Unlike many other entrepreneurs, Ganga Raj, Suma Ajith and Anjali Raj were not desperate to set a startup as they were all busy and successful in their respective careers. But when it occurred to them that their expertise in fitness, childbirth education and public health, if channelised and brought into a single platform, can become a one-of- its- kind initiative for expectant mothers— ‘I LOVE 9 Months’ was born.
As Suma puts it, it is India's first pregnancy fitness and wellness initiative. ‘Though there are many fitness centres in our country, what makes us different from them is that we become a complete guide for a healthy and happy pregnancy, which includes guiding and empowering women who plan to conceive, want a peaceful pregnancy and are also looking forward to have a stress-free post-pregnancy period. To make our services more accessible, we are launching an app as well. Though it has already been launched, it will be made available in Kerala only from May,” she added.
Asked about the reason behind setting up such a venture, Ganga says that even though she has been into fitness and yoga for quite a few years now, of late she has been noticing that a section of women who want to incorporate pregnancy without hampering their lifestyle has increased. She says that women nowadays are very particular that they need to get empowered enough to handle every aspect of pregnancy on their own as families have already become nuclear.
The best solution for all these, according to the trio, is staying mentally and physically healthy and stable so that pregnancy doesn't seem like a ‘tsunami’ that has hit your life and will change it forever.
Subscribing to the app ‘I Love 9 Months’ provides a complete set package of 108 days that includes various exercises personally created by Ganga and advocated by doctors. All the exercises have been carefully included keeping in mind the trimesters and are also feasible for those who have never been into working out.
Anjali, a certified Lamaze trainer, says that though it is very important for a couple to understand the changes pregnancy has brought to their lives, very few hospitals provide this facility. Anjali provides Skype classes for those who avail Lamaze classes. “We just make the couple aware of the facts they will go through during pregnancy. We make them understand that it's not just the wife's business,” she says.
Suma, an audiologist by profession, mostly concentrates on infant health. The Q&A section in the app provides answers to any queries expectant mother have.
I love 9 months also provides birth support services through trained midwives called Sahodaries who provide mental and physical support for women who do not have their immediate family to look after them during pregnancy.
The trio has planned extensive intervention through workshops and seminars at hospitals and other NGOs in order to spread awareness on the need of fitness during pregnancy. They are also planning to collaborate with Kudumbashree to spread the initiative....