An avid CrossFit fan who continued her weightlifting workouts just a few weeks from delivering a baby is being lambasted by commenters after she posted photos showing herself pumping iron, bearing her heavily pregnant belly.

Photos of Lea Ann Ellison Doing CrossFit Pregnant Spark Controversy About Exercise

“Eight 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 a**.” (Photo: Nick Stern, Caption: Lea-Ann Ellison via CrossFit/Facebook redacted by TheBlaze)

The photo shows Lea-Ann Ellison, pregnant with her third child, squatting with a weighted bar raised above her head. It has 16,900 likes and more than 2,800 shares as of Friday after being posted Sunday, Sept. 15 on CrossFit’s Facebook page.

But it has been met with some strong criticism. Here’s a look at just a few of the negative comments on the photo:

  • Shawn Tassone: Actually not a good thing to do at 8 months. The added intrabdominal pressure isn’t safe and its not good to promote this. Weights are fine but this is just plain silly
  • Natalie Rose: This is shocking and not in a good way. Lifting heavy things during pregnancy is dangerous to you and your baby. Especially being that far along and over your head.
  • John Gervais: This is EXACTLY what cross-fit SHOULD NOT BE! I have seen women nearly miscarry due to excessive exercise in the last trimester. This isn’t her staying healthy, this is her being selfish and putting her “looking good” over the health of her baby.
  • Rhiannon Gamble: Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
  • Ava Szlamas: This Is not “cool” or “brave” – this is ignorant and selfish! Pregnancy is a time to take care of your body, and be gentle. Not test it to the limits. This woman is a disgrace and sets a poor example of CF and fitness.
  • Stephanie Hamblin: Not safe, accidents happen. It’s best to put your baby’s safety first.
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Lea-Ann Ellison lifting weights while in her third-trimester. She was photographed for an article in In Touch Weekly. (Photo: Nick Stern via Lea-Ann Ellison/Facebook)

Others though have jumped to Ellison’s defense. Here are some of those comments:

  • Donna Whitfield: Just left the gym… I love when I see a woman expecting working out. It say’s she cares about herself and her baby.
  • Fräu Laura Shultz: You’re children are healthy and look happy. And this little one will be the same. You know your limitations and I’m sure you would never risk the well being of your unborn child. Keep doing what your doing :0) Many Blessings to you and yours!!
  • Marc Knapp: Thousands of women a day choose have abortions and no one bats an eye… A woman chooses to crossfit while pregnant and everyone loses their minds!
  • Sarah Hamilton Reed: I did crossfit past my due date. Had a baby in under 2 hours, went home 24 hrs later, and cooked dinner. Thank You crossfit for strong pelvis, legs and heart. And I WAS ABLE TO CARE FOR MY BABY BETTER post birth because I was physically in better shape than most post birth women. All se has todo is listen to her body and stop when it says too.

But what’s the medical perspective on the actions of the woman who lists her religious views as “Love thyself first”?

“Unless you’re experiencing serious complications, sitting around won’t help,” the MayoClinic stated on its website.

Aside from helping keep the mother healthy and feeling good, exercise can have positive effects on the baby as well.

The MayoClinic does use some words of caution for mothers who did not exercise before pregnancy, saying they should work up to it. But for women who were active before, it says “you can probably continue to work out at the same level while you’re pregnant — as long as you’re feeling comfortable and your health care provider says it’s OK.”

Dr. Brittany Stofko, an obstetrician with Penn Medicine echoed that sentiment about pregnancy exercise to the Huffington Post.

Ellison responded to criticism by changing her profile picture to this (below):

lea-ann ellison profile picture

Ellison’s new profile picture. (Photo via Lea-Ann Ellison/Facebook)

Ellison explained on her Facebook page, which has more photos of the mother lighting weights, that the images were taken by Nick Stern for a feature in In Touch Weekly about pregnant woman exercising.

lea-ann ellison crossfit

The photos of Lea-Ann have received both negative and positive comments, sparking a debate about what is healthy exercise for pregnant women. (Photo via Lea-Ann Ellison/Facebook)

“I had NO IDEA what a stir this would create…. It makes me feel proud and loved and STRONGER!!!! Thank you also to the haters who continue to prove their weak minded, self hatred toward strong powerful women,” Ellison said in a comment on her viral photo.

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// ]]>(H/T: Daily Mail)

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