AURORA -- Finding clothing that fits well, looks good and is comfortable is tough for many, but expecting and new mothers have exceptional challenges in the fashion department.
One Aurora resident is trying to provide an outlet for expecting and new moms to feel comfortable in their skin and clothes.
Courtney Micatrotto, who's been certified in pre- and postpartum fitness for nine years, has combined those passions -- fitness and motherhood -- in a new company -- Boobs & Belly, which aims to to provide comfortable, convenient, stylish exercise clothes for mothers.
"When you're pregnant, you go through so many phases and stages it's hard to find something you can wear the whole way through," she said. "I wanted to create pieces that transitioned from pregnancy into motherhood. I'm 16 months postpartum and wear my clothes every day."
Micatrotto has experienced some of these challenges herself going through her own three pregnancies. Her children are Lylah, 7; Niko, 5; and Markos, 16 months.
Despite what many have traditionally been led to believe -- that expecting mothers need to rest and avoid strenuous exercise -- Micatrotto said the opposite is true.
"This is the most important time in your life to be strong," she said, adding that the American Council of Gynecology and Obstetrics announced in 1995 that exercise should be encouraged among expecting mothers.
Since then, she said experts have been refining what's an appropriate level of exercise during pregnancy, but there are no hard-and-fast rules because everyone's pregnancy is a little different.
Sometimes getting out of the house and into an exercise routine is a big challenge for women who feel they have nothing to wear that's both comfortable to move in and good looking. Micatrotto said Boobs & Belly works to fill that niche.
The first piece she designed was a tank top.
"I wanted to create the Ultimate Tank, something that gave them all the options they deserve," she said.
Micatrotto said the Ultimate Tank is the foundation of her line, which adjusts around the changing curves of new mothers. The sides panels unzip to expand as expectant moms progress from trimester to trimester.
The bra portion of the tank also includes inserts for nursing pads and clasps that make nursing convenient. It also includes a band of elastic for extra support and breathable Coolmax lining for comfort during workouts.
Boobs & Belly also offers a bandeau to wear under the tank and exercise capris, added Micatrotto.
In addition to providing apparel for new moms, Micatrotto said she tries to provide information and events for moms to help guide them through pregnancy and postpartum fitness. The Daily Mommy Challenge is a collection of videos she offers from the company's website, www.boobsandbelly.com.
"The Daily Mommy Challenge is something quick to incorporate into the day," she said.
"If you can't make it to the gym. It's really important (for mothers) to get back and start as soon as they are cleared by their doctor."
By getting back in an exercise routine early, she said children tend to develop the same regular exercise habits when they see their moms working out.
Micatrotto said she and an intern are the primary employees of Boobs & Belly, but additional local work is created in the manufacturing process and other contracted services.
She said she's moved production several times, but it's now based in Cleveland, and she wants to keep everything local.
"For me, I feel comfortable right here; this is where I'm digging my heels in, and this is where I'm going to stay," she said.
In this month's edition of Cleveland Magazine, she's recognized as one of the area's "30 Most Interesting People." She's also appeared on Fox 8.
"There are so many amazing individuals featured in this issue, and to be on the page opposite (Cleveland Cavaliers player) J.R. Smith was just incredible," she said.
With EssentialZen Yoga, she presented a free event Jan. 28 aimed at helping moms get back into shape.
Micatrotto also is offering the "Prenatal/Mommy & Me" series on Sundays from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at EssentialZen Yoga from Feb. 5 to 26. The class is designed to improve or maintain strength and endurance during pregnancy or postpartum mothers.
For both programs, register at www.essentialzen.net.
Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4188
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