Photo of pregnant weightlifter sparks heated debate - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Photo of pregnant weightlifter sparks heated debate

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The caption on Lea-Ann Ellison's photo says it all: "8 months pregnant with baby number 3."

"I have been CrossFitting for 2½ years," Ellison posted on CrossFit's Facebook page, "and … strongly believe that pregnancy is not an illness, but a time to relish in your body's capabilities to kick ass."

The photo of the 35-year-old former bodybuilder from California prompted a slew of comments — both positive and negative.

"This is shocking and not in a good way. Lifting heavy things during pregnancy is dangerous to you and your baby," Natalie Rose wrote.

"Why would you risk hurting your baby just to stay in shape?" Stephanie Herrera asked. "This is the stupidest thing I've ever heard."

Others jumped in to defend the fit mom.

"I'm 6 months pregnant with triplets and am still Crossfitting as much as I can!" Carol Bolliger shared.

"Doctors say it is perfectly fine to stick to your exercise route while pregnant, in fact it is encouraged," Kristen Funk wrote.

Exercise is encouraged during pregnancy, says Dr. Siobhan Dolan, an OB-GYN and medical adviser for March of Dimes. Ellison's routine is an extreme example, but most moms can benefit from aerobic activity and strength training before and after childbirth, she says.

"A woman's overall health, including obstetric and medical risks, should be evaluated before prescribing an exercise program," the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' guidelines say. "Generally, participation in a wide range of recreational activities appears to be safe during pregnancy; however, each sport should be reviewed individually for its potential risk."

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