Lea-Ann Ellison, an 8-month-pregnant woman from Los Angeles who posted controversial photos on Facebook lifting 75-pound weights while late in her pregnancy, has sparked flurry online.
The picture where Ellison, 35, is lifting the heavy weights while pregnant, was posted on the Facebook page of CrossFit, a popular excercise program.
"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 picture's caption reads, quoting Ellison.
The photo was posted on September 15 and has been liked over 18,000 times and received 3,403 comments at the time of writing this story.
It garnered both positive and negative comments from people including some who called her practice "sickening" and "crap."
"This is actually sickening, I hope pregnant around the world do not do this kind of crap," one woman wrote. "I am a crossfit enthusiast but I DO NOT recommend this at all."
However others voiced their support for Ellison.
"You are able to do what you were doing before pregnancy. If someone is cf before she became pregnant, then it's fine. Exercise is one of the best things you can do to stay healthy during pregnancy...that includes weight lifting!!!!!" one woman wrote. "You shouldn't try to pr but staying at your currently level is perfectly fine. Instead of negative comments be positive, especially when you have no clue what your talking about. Btw, I'm a personal trainer, a nutritionist and a nurse. She is fine."
Ellison has stood by her exercise routine replying to the comments 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! Lol! Again, thank you! It means so much to feel this much love from a community I adore," she wrote. (Check out Lea Ann Facebook Page.)
In an interview with Inside Edition, Ellison said weightlifting was safe for her.
"For me, it's completely safe because I've been doing it for so long," she told Inside Edition.
According to ABC News, Ellison started training for weightlifting figure competitions at the age of 20. She has been known to lift up to 190 pounds before she got pregnant but in the picture she is lifting 75 pounds.
Experts such as Dr. Peter Weiss, the director of the Rodeo Drive Women's Health Center in California, told Radio station KNX 1070 that if she was doing it before there's no harm for the baby.
"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," Weiss told the station.
"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 added.