Heart Rate Variability

Heart Rate Variability is used to assess your body’s ability to adapt via your nervous system. Your nervous system communicates to you when you’re safe or unsafe. Ideally,  80% of the time we will live in the state of safety and only spend about 20% of our time in that perceived threat state.

We like to think of Heart Rate Variability as the range of motion of our autonomic nervous system. It is highly individualized and fluctuates greatly. When it is trending down, we look at things like fatigue, dehydration, nutrition, alcohol consumption, stress, sickness, and so on. You could also be training too hard or not getting enough quality sleep or not hydrating efficiently. Note that alcohol can influence Heart Rate Variability for up to 5 days.

When your Heart Rate Variability is trending up, this is a good sign that you’re on point with hydration, nutrition, sleep, and engaging in sustainable fitness (Hello B! Community). When it is trending up this is a good time to push yourself in training or go for that personal record.

Heart Rate Variability gives insight into the capacity of your parasympathetics in restoring function and bringing you back to midline after a sympathetic, fight or flight experience like a tough workout or stressful experience at work. This is a great health marker and allows us, at BIRTHFIT, to embrace fluidity in training throughout pregnancy and into the first year postpartum.




Lindsey Mathews, DC


@BIRTHFIT @lindsey_k_mathews


Want more?

Click here to read more about BIRTHFIT + Whoop.

Speaking of sleep…Read this blog post on how blue light may be keeping you and your baby awake.

Want to go deeper into the science of breath and the nervous system? This post is a great intro into the Polyvagal Theory.


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BIRTHFIT Education: https://birthfit.com/education/birthfiteducation/ 

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