Meet @fitpinkrx Dr. Pinkey Patel is a clinical pharmacist and personal trainer specializing in pre and postnatal fitness. This Oklahoma City native started out doing pageants to win scholarships and worked her way to her doctorate at 24, when she wasn’t studying you could find her singing with the all-state choir or playing sports. Fast forward now, she is 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 intuitive global postpartum app. When she’s not playing mama to her 22 month son, Arjun and 5 year old daughter, Karishma, she can be found pumping iron. With a bottle in one hand and a laptop in the other, Pinkey is navigating mom-preneurship one meltdown at a time to help support thriving moms and babies. Here is her story!
I don’t think I am the coolest, but hey – I will go with it! Ha! I was born and raised here (Oklahoma). As a first generation immigrant and the first to graduate college in my own family, there was and will always be an inner fire to pursue more. My parents came here with $7 from India, without having an education or knowing English. They worked tirelessly to make a living for us, and ensure we were able to have the opportunity to accomplish milestones they never could. When I graduated with my doctorate in pharmacy, I assumed this was my final destination. Graduating as valedictorian, funding my way through graduate school, and really leaning into my passion for science and math landed me in pharmacy. After graduating as a pharmacist, I practiced as a clinical pharmacist for 10 years, until recently. I formally left corporate America and the profession to pursue The SnapBack full time. If you would have asked me 10 years ago where I imagined myself, it would have never been here. I would rather have taken organic chemistry five times than take a marketing class or a business class in school. Ha! It’s funny how I ended up building a business, when I had no business building one. However, my postpartum experience was so challenging and eye opening, that I was compelled to make a solution for every mother after me.
What was your biggest lesson in bodybuilding?
Aside from learning the science involved in manipulating body composition, the discipline involved in bodybuilding primed me for entrepreneurship. Why? Because of the required grit and daily monotonous work you have to perform without someone constantly cheering you on or seeing fast results. Often, most will discourage you from adapting a wellness habit or take on. Which may hold true for starting a new initiative. There are many lessons that I carried with me moving forward; I never realized these would assist me in the often lonely road of entrepreneurship. Bodybuilding requires patience and some days you often feel like there is no progress, exactly like a new founder life! Little did I know this background experience was going to resonate so well with my future.
Speaking of motherhood. When does newborn life get really hard? At the six week mark?
The entire first 0-12 weeks are challenging, to be honest. And beyond! Sure, 6 weeks is definitely a hard time because you’re most likely sleep deprived, navigating your hormones, ensuring the baby is thriving. If you decide to continue producing milk, that brings on it’s own challenges.
Not only are you attempting to keep yourself alive at the bare minimum, you are also navigating keeping a whole new human alive, to be frank. Your hormones have to regulate on top of all of this. What most do not realize is that 80% of women have postpartum blues for two weeks, and that can eventually go on to become depression. There are a lot of aspects of our burden that can fuel this. Arriving at your 6 week appointment can seem like a blur. Your long awaited appointment actually ends up being faster than expected, you get asked about birth control, given a mental health survey/test and get vaguely cleared to “resume all normal” activity after having your organs reorganized while accommodating the baby and being sedentary for 6 weeks. That is where The SnapBack comes in. This was purely built out of a need after discovering that moms (whether 3 months or 3 years postpartum) were later experiencing common but not normal conditions that could have easily been avoided if there was more guidance in recovering versus jetting off at their 6 week appointment to every boot camp under the sun.
Women proceed to go back to doing what they were doing before – crunches, sit-ups, leg lifts, sprinting. This often exacerbates underlying issues related to a weak pelvic floor (your uterus sits on this muscle and it needs to be strengthened!). To answer your question, looking back, it’s all hard, but in different ways. Newborns have their challenges and toddlers (I am in it, ha!) do too.
Was that what sparked the idea for Snapback?
I performed a significant amount of research prior to having my first born, Karishma. Dotting my “I’s” and crossing my “T’s” – or so I thought. I had an amazing Doula; this investment honestly accounts for my positive birthing experience. I had sixty-hour non-medicated labor. You would think that that was my hardest part of motherhood, and I thought that it was going to be, but when I went home, even with my preparation and support, I was blindsided by the lack of credible resources. Pregnancy resources are ample, but the postpartum landscape is vastly different. This time period is overlooked and mothers are underserved. I asked myself, how can we truly build a thriving society if our moms are unserved and ultimately not thriving?In 2016, I was in the thick of it. 2017, I came up for air. In 2018, I spent time coordinating focus groups which translated to a side consultancy business. I needed to validate the market beyond myself. This year was spent building products, visualizing what I wanted this space to look like, what I wanted our brand to feel/breathe and look like – and more importantly, what our mission and goals were in terms of impact. Sure, changes and pivots happen in business, but I am happy to share that our mission of impact will never change.
In 2019, I was ready to push the gas — but I found out I was pregnant in January! A little more pivoting happened. I was working full time and also had a firecracker of a 2 year old as my shadow. 🙂 Knowing the bump was going to make its appearance earlier, I rented out a coworking space locally in Oklahoma. I filmed ten hours of rehab exercises that now are housed on the App. In fact, if you download it today – everything in the App has baby Arjun hidden in there!
We are so grateful for the community we built, that serves as our anchor. In April of 2019, we launched our social media communities where our goals were to transparently share evidence based resources, non-judgmentally. Before we launched any products or resources, it was important for us to establish this foundation. Being in healthcare, it was vital for our platform to ensure information was rooted in science. September of 2019, 3 weeks before I delivered my son, we launched the beta App in 166 countries!
Tell me about Snapback, and how women can benefit from its services?
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