According to ABC News on Saturday, controversial photos of a pregnant California woman lifting 75 pounds for exercise have ignited a flurry of Facebook comments as some call into question the practice of pumping iron while expecting.
Lee-Ann Ellison started training for weightlifting figure competitions at the age of 20.
Now she's along 33 weeks in her pregnancy, and told ABC News she is keeping up with her practice, which makes her "feel really confident and really good" about her body.
"Weightlifting is not a joke, it's not for newbies," she said.
Ellison has been known to lift as much as 190 pounds before her pregnancy but is seen in photos hoisting just 75 pounds out of an abundance of caution.
While her pictures, which have gained more than 16,000 comments online, have some complimenting her strength, others question if her practices are hazardous to her pregnancy.
"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.
Another commenter noted that she was a CNA during all of her pregnancies, and she was lifting patients in and out of bed, some of them weighing more than 75 pounds, the amount of weight Ellison is lifting in these photos. If your body knows how to hold the weight correctly, and there isn't a problem with the placenta, there shouldn't be a problem.
Weight lifting for Ellison is perfectly normal... for her
In actuality, since she was already lifting weights before she was pregnant, her body was already accustomed to it. Her obstetrician has given her the okay to continue weight lifting as long as she feels like doing it, and no other complications arise during her pregnancy.
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 Robin EliseWeiss, LCCE, Master of Public Health and Pregnancy writer on About.com.
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.