LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A Los Angeles woman is sparking controversy after a photo of her lifting seemingly heavy weights while eight months pregnant was posted online.
The popular CrossFit exercise program published the photo of 35-year-old Lea-Ann Ellison, who attends a Hollywood gym, on Facebook earlier this week.
CrossFit workouts call for “constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement.” While they are typically short in duration — 30 minutes or less — they are known for being physically demanding.
“8 months pregnant with baby number 3 and CrossFit has been my sanity. I have been CrossFitting for 2 1/2 years and … strongly believe that pregnancy is not an illness, but a time to relish in your body’s capabilities to kick ass,” the photo’s caption reads, quoting Ellison.
While the post has received more than 17,000 likes and has been shared thousands of times, several commenters are questioning Ellison’s decision to continue her workout regimen at the end of her pregnancy.
“Sure you look and sound cool, but we’re only human…why would you risk hurting your baby just to stay in shape? That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. It’s not a time to kick ass, it’s a time to be protective of your unborn child. Normally I’m for crossfit, but this doesn’t make any sense to me,” Stephanie Herrera wrote.
“This is actually sickening, I hope pregnant around the world do not do this kind of crap. 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 goes people the wrong message that this is OKAY when it’s not!!!!” Amanda Cinq-Mars posted.
However, others have voiced their support for her.
“I have never seen so much stupidity in the comments section… If you have been doing it before pregnancy – keep on doing it, scale, modify, don’t go below parallel, watch your breathing and be smart. But absolutely do it. Every women in my gym ( Outlaw CrossFit ), that crossfited during her pregnancy had an easy pregnancy, speedy delivery and healthy babies. That includes my wife,” Matvei Sigalov wrote.
“Safe? Absolutely! A fit mama makes for a better pregnancy and delivery for both mama and baby! You go mama!” Jennifer Mosier Weaver wrote.
Ellison responded to the outrage during an “Inside Edition” interview, hoping to lift the negative connotations of working out while pregnant.
“For me, it’s completely safe because I’ve been doing it for so long,” she said.
Experts agreed with her.
KNX 1070’s Chris Sedens and Jan Stevens talked with Dr. Peter Weiss, a Beverly Hills OB/GYN and the director of the Rodeo Drive Women’s Health Center.
“We find that exercise and pregnancy actually can be very, very helpful. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Royal Society of Medicine in England support exercise and pregnancy. However, we don’t want to go to an extreme. We have to define what is extreme. I don’t know about you, but I don’t work out as much as a professional weightlifter or bodybuilder does, but if you were doing something that your body is used to, there’s no real harm in it,” said Weiss.
Weiss said every woman and her capabilities during pregnancy is different, and someone like Ellison, who has been weightlifting for years, is capable of more than most.
“We don’t do stories about the woman who is 150 pounds overweight and don’t have any sensationalized photos saying how bad that is,” he said.