Sarah Stage, the Costa Rican model made famous for her Instagram photos of her pregnancy abs, has given birth to a big, healthy baby boy—and she's sharing some pretty adorable pictures of the guy. Newborn James Hunter came in at at a totally normal size: "8.7lbs/22 inches of HEALTHY baby!" Stage captioned on Instagram. This is pretty darn amazing if you remember Stage's 8-month-pregnant selfie (pictured) and considering she only gained 20lbs during her pregnancy.
While pregnant, the 30-year-old new mom shared some pretty amazing photos of her bod—complete with some rock-hard abs on top of her baby bump. As a lingerie model based in Los Angeles, Stage isn't shy about posing in her undies, but as her belly grew during pregnancy, some folks raised concern over whether a six-pack is even safe. Others have admitted to a little bit of preg body envy.
Sure, Stage might not have looked quite like most of us do when we're about to deliver, but her dedication to fitness isn't unhealthy for her or her baby. We all know exercise during pregnancy isn't just good for pregnant women, but recommended—as much as 30 minutes 5-7 days a week is ideal.
For Stage's abs, though? You don't grow a six-pack while growing a baby, says Ob-Gyn Margaret Dziadosz. "It may be possible to maintain appearance of upper abs [like Stage has], but in the lower abdomen, the muscles will 'come apart' as the belly distends," Dziadosz explains. It's likely that Stage varied her normal routine to accommodate core exercises to make sure her workout regimen was safe. "It's less about 'squeezing' the baby with ab and core work, and more about what position you are in while doing any exercise," she says. "In the first trimester, lying on your back makes it hard for blood to get back up to the heart, which could be dangerous for both mom and baby, so it should be avoided." Instead, place an exercise ball beneath the lower part of the back to give support and aid blood flow.
While Dziadosz did say that Stage's abs are unusual for someone as far along as she is, she also mentioned that keeping an active lifestyle likely offered Stage a slew of benefits: less chance for gestational diabetes and high-blood pressure, decreased pregnancy insomnia and constipation—and maybe best of all—the possibility of an easier labor.
Regardless, all this talk and judgment about what women's bodies should look like during pregnancy—a natural, healthy (and beautiful!) stage in a woman's life—makes it hard to believe it's the 21st century! We say Stage should be proud of her changing body (as should all expecting mamas!), and free to show it off. It's pretty awesome to see what our bodies are capable of, and even better that they come in all shapes, sizes and forms. Or perhaps Stage said it best in this Instagram post: "A real woman is... whatever the hell she wants to be." Amen.