When is it safe? Pregnant woman sparks Facebook debate with CrossFit photo
Published Saturday, September 21, 2013 1:23PM EDT
A 35-year-old stay-at-home mom in Los Angeles is causing a stir in the news and social media after a photo of her lifting weights while eight months pregnant was posted on CrossFit’s Facebook page.
The post has tallied up thousands of shares and comments from viewers both berating and supporting Lea-Ann Ellison; it has garnered more than 18,000 "likes" and has triggered a media frenzy.
"This is actually sickening," wrote Amanda Cinq-Mars on Facebook. "I am a CrossFit enthusiast but I DO NOT recommend this at all. Doctors always strongly suggest to not lift heavy because you can sever your placenta and cause major damage an early labor and it miscarriage .... Posting this picture (sends) people the wrong message that this is OKAY when it's not!!!!"
Meanwhile, defending Ellison, Charles Bailey wrote: "I think that we should all be more concerned about a mom who eats McDonalds everyday of her pregnancy, and doesn't exercise one bit. This woman is not just concerned about herself, she is concerned about her child's future and the example she sets for her other children about overcoming adversity."
Ellison, in a comment on the photo on her own page wrote, "I can't believe this photo has caused this much stir but it makes me hopeful that it will inspire other strong healthy moms to continue on doing what they love."
She wrote on CrossFit's Facebook page: "I want to thank everyone for their kind and supportive responses! Haters will hate and it's ok. My life is not their life thank goodness!"
So what do the medical experts say?
While some physical activities such as scuba diving and contact sports, or anything that forces a pregnant woman to lie on her back, should be avoided during pregnancy, the Mayo Clinic advises that exercise is generally deemed safe and is even encouraged.
Obstetrician Brittany Stofko, of Penn Medicine, told The Huffington Post that every pregnancy and every woman is different, and those who exercised before their pregnancy are typically better equipped to continue exercising at the same level during pregnancy.
Ellison pointed out in her original post that she has been doing CrossFit for two and a half years.