Can the positive psychological benefits of exercise be achieved while pregnant?

From this perspective, I spoke with Kelli Eisemann, who is 32 weeks pregnant with her second child. It seems that yes, it can but up to a certain point in the pregnancy.  

In the video, Kelli explains that she had already been exercising before her first pregnancy and did not begin a new exercise routine while pregnant.  I need to note that one must always speak with their doctor about starting a new pregnant exercise program.  Previous to pregnancy, Kelli has experience in running, strength training, and high-intensity interval training. She explains the mental health benefits she gets from exercise pre-pregnancy and while pregnant.

Elda interviewing Kelli about the mental health benefits from exercise while pregnant. Source: Elda Negrete’s YouTube page

According to an article titled “What your baby feels when you exercise” on, the author describes some unique research they found. Research shows that a mother’s stress may impact the baby’s immune system. But when momma exercises and experiences the feel-good hormone, endorphin, both she and baby may feel calm. This research relates to what Kelli was describing in the video; exercise to relieve stress. 

Another article titled “Exercise during pregnancy gives newborn brain development a head start” on explains how researchers investigate the benefits of moderate exercise on a baby’s brain development.

Exercise during pregnancy gives newborn development a head start. Source:

Women were randomly assigned to an exercise group or a sedentary group. Women in the exercise group had to perform at least 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise three times per week at a moderate intensity. Women in the sedentary group did not exercise. Using an EEG, the brain activity of the newborns was assessed between the ages of 8 to 12 days, which enables the recording of the brain’s electrical activity. “We used 124 soft electrodes placed on the infant’s head and waited for the child to fall asleep on their mother’s lap. We then measured auditory memory through the brain’s unconscious response to repeated and novel sounds,” researcher Labonté-LeMoyne said. “Our results show that the babies born from the mothers who were physically active have a more mature cerebral activation, suggesting that their brains developed more rapidly.”

Have feedback, thoughts, or want to share how exercise affects your mental health, let me know in the comments below!

Per this blog’s disclaimer, statements made here are not for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All the information contained in this blog is for educational and informational use only.

Published by coachelda

Hi, I’m Elda! Personal Trainer, Powerlifting Coach, Full-Time Psychology Student...when my head is not in books, I will use this blog to share my love of exercise, exploring positive mental health practices, and other favorites with you.

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