Lea-Ann Ellison, Heavily Pregnant Mother Defends Weight Lifting Regime Two Weeks Before Giving Birth

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A heavily pregnant mother-of-two has sparked a fierce online debate after she posted pictures of herself lifting weights on Facebook.

Lea-Ann Ellison is two weeks away from giving birth - but far from taking it easy, she's working out harder than ever.

The debate began when Ellison posted a picture of herself lifting a huge weight on the page for CrossFit, an exercise regime she follows, earlier this month.

Scroll down for a gallery of more pictures
leaann ellison pregnant weightlifter

This picture of Lea-Ann Ellison sparked a debate about the safety of exercising during pregnancy

It was accompanied with a quote, which reads: "Eight months pregnant with baby number three and CrossFit has been my sanity. I have been CrossFitting for 2 ½ years and strongly believe that pregnancy is not an illness, but a time to relish your body's capabilities to kick ass."

At time of press the picture had been shared nearly 3,000 times and a stream of comments both commending her and lambasting her have followed.

While some described the image as "beautiful" and praised Ellison for keeping fit, others branded her "plain silly" and even accused her of endangering the health of her unborn child.

The 35-year-old bodybuilder has taken it in her stride however, responding with gratitude for the support, adding: "Haters will hate and its OK. My life is not their life, thank goodness!"

And in an interview with Parentdish, Ellison whose two other children are aged 12 and eight, defended the "kick-ass photo of me doing an overhead squat'" and attacked her critics for spouting "garbage'"about pregnant women exercising.

leaann ellison pregnant weight lifter

Ellison has responded by stating 'pregnancy is not an illness'

She said: "People will always talk negatively about something they don't understand. I am OK with that and it seems like the most ignorant people have the loudest mouths.

"The majority of people are positive and supportive. I have had so many thank you notes and fan mail that I feel overwhelmed.

"Fitness begins early and pregnancy is not an illness. Mums need to quit being suppressed into a weaker role and take their health back. Move their bodies! Whether it is walking, swimming or weight lifting it doesn't matter. As long as they eat healthy and exercise, their bodies will gain what weight is necessary to support their pregnancy.

"Labour is a huge task on a mother's body and there is no better time to be strong than in preparation for childbirth - especially if your goal is a natural drug-free birth."

leaann ellison facebook responses

A selection of some of the responses to Ellison's photo

But it is safe?

Official NHS guidelines recommend 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day for expectant mothers, and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists says recreational exercise can be beneficial during pregnancy.

The RCOG advocates exercise where there are no complications in the pregnancy and precautions are taken such as not exercising at a high intensity to raise the heart rate to its maximum and not running while it's too hot due to a risk of overheating.

It states: "In most cases, exercise is safe for both mother and foetus during pregnancy and women should therefore be encouraged to initiate or continue exercise to derive the health benefits associated with such activities."

8 1/2 month pregnant mum posts photos of her weight lifting
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