Disturbing or inspiring? The mum weightlifting at 8 months pregnant

When Lea-Ann Ellison posted a photograph of herself on Facebook lifting weights while eight-and-a-half months pregnant (see below), she had no idea of the storm of controversy it would provoke.

She wrote: “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 photograph has been shared more than 3500 times since it was posted on September 16 and, while some have described the image as "beautiful" and praised her for keeping fit, others found it disturbing, labelled her "plain silly" and "sickening", while some even accused her of endangering the health of her unborn child.

But Lea-Ann, a 35-year-old mother of two, can't understand what all the fuss is about. She just wants to be a "hot mum".

Lea-Ann continues to defend herself, writing on her Facebook page, “I can’t believe this photo has caused this much stir but it makes me hopeful that it will inspire other strong healthy moms to continue on doing what they love. Pregnancy is not an illness! Get it Moms!”

According to the Better Health Channel pregnant women are cautioned: "If weight training, choose low weights and medium to high repetitions – avoid lifting heavy weights altogether."

During pregnancy, particularly during the final trimester, the body sends out hormones to help relax the muscles and ligaments to prepare for childbirth. This makes pregnant women more prone to injuries, warranting advice such as 'don't carry furniture' and 'put your feet up as often as possible'.

But medical experts generally agree that exercise is to be encouraged during pregnancy.

Obstetrician Brittany Stofko, of Penn Medicine, told The Huffington Post that every pregnancy and every woman is different, and those who exercised before their pregnancy are typically better equipped to continue exercising at the same level during pregnancy.

What do you think of Lea-Ann's workout routine? Inspiring or disturbing?

Images courtesy of Facebook, Crossfit and Nick Stern