Pregnant woman sparks furore as she's pictured lifting weights two weeks before due date

Pregnant women are advised to keep active during their pregnancy.

But weightlifter Lea-Ann Ellison, 35, has taken her workouts to the extreme, after she was snapped lifting hefty weights just TWO WEEKS before she's due to give birth.

The Los Angeles-based mum-to-be has sparked controversy worldwide after pictures of her hoisting heavy kettlebells and barbells above her head were posted on Facebook.

But despite receiving thousands of comments after the pictures went viral, Lea-Ann has stood strong on her pre-natal fitness regime.

She vowed: "I strongly believe that pregnancy is not an illness, but a time to relish in your body's capabilities to kick a*s."

Lea-Ann is a follower of the CrossFit regime, which is described as a 'strength and conditioning programme' that is adopted by many organisations, including 'military special operations units, champion martial artists and professional athletes worldwide.'

Just hours after the pictures of Lea-Ann's workout were posted online they'd already received almost 500 shares, before hitting almost 17,000 shares in under five days.

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The expectant mother has had to deal with some frenzied feedback too - which has been very mixed.

While some users showed their support for her training regime, many others lambasted the weightlifter and claimed she was putting out the wrong message to other expectant mothers.

User Amanda Cinq-Mars wrote: "This is actually sickening, I hope pregnant [women] around the world do not do this kind of cra*p.

"I am a crossfit enthusiast but I DO NOT recommend this at all. Doctors always strongly suggest to not lift heavy because you can sever your placenta and cause major damage and early labour and miscarriage...

"Posting this picture [gives] people the wrong message that this is OKAY when it's not!!!"

Another, Stephanie Herrera wrote: "Sure you look and sound cool, but we're only human...why would you risk hurting your baby just to stay in shape?

"That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. It's not time to kick a*s, it's time to be protective of your unborn child."

Meanwhile, others reached out to support the weightlifter - insisting she wasn't doing anything wrong.

User Jennifer Mosier Weaver added: "Safe? Absolutely! A fit mama makes for a better pregnancy and delivery for both mama and baby!"

While Charles Bailey added: "I think that we should all be more concerned about a mum who eats McDonalds everyday of her pregnancy and doesn't exercise one bit.

"This woman is not just concerned about herself, she is concerned about her child's future and the example she sets for her other children about overcoming adversity."

Lea-Ann herself waded in on the debate on Facebook, writing "I want to thank everyone for their kind and supportive responses! Haters will hate and it's ok.

"My life is not their life thank goodness! Lol! Again, thank you! It means so much to feel this much love from a community I adore."

The pictures are bound to spark another debate on just what type and how much exercise is safe during pregnancy.

According to NHS guidelines, the advice is stay "active and fit" during pregnancy as it helps with weight gain, labour and getting back into shape after the birth.

The advice is that you"keep up your normal daily physical activity or exercise for as long as you feel comfortable."

But according to experts at Babycenter, in your second and third trimesters it's advisable you don't lift weights while standing still.

"You have an increase in blood volume and blood can pool in your legs, leaving you feeling lightheaded and dizzy," they recommend. "Instead, sit down to lift weights."

What do you think of Lea-Ann Ellison's training regime? Tell us over on Twitter, now.

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