Hatch, a Haven for Pregnant and New Moms, Open in Wayne
A doctor and a prenatal and postpartum fitness guru team up to help new and expectant moms.
Radhika Kakarla is an OB/GYN, so she understands what happens to a woman’s body during pregnancy. But her experience with pregnancy, birth, and especially as a new mother, gave her an insight: there are big gaps between what women need to know during this crucial period and what they get from doctors, nurses, and hospitals.
From the time a woman finds out she’s pregnant, there are so many things to know about and do. Eat right, get in shape, prepare mentally and physically for birth — the list goes on and on. But the resources for women to get reliable information are somewhat scarce, so expectant moms turn to websites and message boards, like BabyCenter and The Bump, and books.
Now, they have a new place to go: Hatch, which opened recently in Wayne. The goal, Kakarla said, is “to bridge the gap between medical care and holistic care,” by giving pregnant and new moms a place to learn, connect, and take care of themselves and their babies. It’s a spa-like environment, with soothing colors and a clean, modern look.
Kakarla teamed up with Kelly McBride, who founded Belly Pilates in Bryn Mawr in 2005 and has been working with new and expectant moms for many years, to create Hatch. It’s based on three pillars for women: Know (education), Glow (mental health tools), and Grow (fitness and postpartum therapy). Hatch goes well beyond the traditional hospital childbirth class or prenatal yoga. The focus here is on self-care for moms, both mentally and physically, as they face some of the most challenging and rewarding times in their lives.
“We really wanted to capture that whole circle,” Kakarla said, from pregnancy to birth through the postpartum period and well into infancy.
She said she realized that she was spending a lot of time in her own practice answering the same questions from pregnant women. It’s easy for that talk to become rote, Kakarla said. So one of the goals behind Hatch is to create educated patients, who can be informed — and, often, reassured — without going to their doctor.
“How can I curate the information, and give it to you in snackable bites, so you can walk out of here feeling good about what you’re doing?” Kakarla said.
Hatch has two “health concierges,” who are there to help new members identify what they need and be a resource. They’re trained labor and delivery nurses, and while they won’t dispense medical advice, they’re experienced with answering the common questions and concerns of pregnant women. And all the programs at Hatch are evidence-based, aimed at giving moms the most up-to-date information.
The “Know” programs start with a basic class, cheekily titled, “The Stick Turned Blue, NOW What Do I Do?” and extend through prenatal nutrition, infant feeding and sleep essentials, and breastfeeding. They also go beyond the baby, into how to minimize the use of toxic chemicals in your home and even how to ease the transition back to work.
“Glow” programs, developed by a psychologist, include weekly support groups to help women share their experiences — and make friends.
“What we’re finding is that people are coming in in different stages of their pregnancy,” Kakarla said. “Our biggest hook is the fitness, and it’ll be the information that keeps them coming back.”
McBride, who is Hatch’s executive director, developed the “Grow” courses. The prenatal program is largely yoga-based, while the postpartum program is more Pilates-based. They have one thing in common, though — McBride’s focus on where pain and imbalances start, and fixing them so they don’t become big problems. For example, even the way a mother reaches down to pick up her baby can create issues if it’s done wrong, McBride said, in part because that movement happens so many times.
Small adjustments, she said, can make a big difference, during pregnancy and in the postpartum period. Many women don’t talk about what they experience physically during pregnancy and after birth. Hatch’s programs can help, from relieving hip and back pain to rebuilding pelvic floor muscles and reducing the difficulties that can come with childbirth.
“One of my main goals for new moms is to let them know that they’re not alone,” McBride said.
She also works with moms at every level of fitness, working to build strength and confidence, whether it’s through the Pilates reformer or a “Restore Your Core” class.
“I meet the moms where they are,” McBride said.
Kakarla and McBride want moms to meet each other, too. There’s a cute “child sitting” space, stocked with toys and mats, so moms can sip a cup of coffee and bond while their babies play. Pregnancy and new motherhood can be lonely, Kakarla said, so building a community is a real emphasis. Babies who aren’t crawling are welcome at all classes, to make it easier for new moms to get out and take care of themselves.
Hatch is membership-based: $299 for the first month, and $249 after that, which includes two introductory sessions with a health concierge, unlimited fitness classes, core educational courses, access to the child sitting area, and support groups. Other services, including massage and private fitness sessions, are available at a discount for members. (Sign up now for an introductory offer, and pay $149 for the first month or $499 for the first three months.) But non-members can also take classes, get a massage, or attend a workshop or special presentation.
“We’re asking moms not so much to invest in us, but to invest in themselves,” McBride said. “It’s their club.”
Hatch is at 250 W. Lancaster Ave., Suite 110, in Wayne. Click here to learn more.
Photograph by Gwyneth K. Shaw.