It’s not often a model causes controversy simply for having washboard abs, but Sarah Stage is not your average model. The 33-year-old is 26 weeks pregnant — and has a six-pack instead of a baby bump.
This isn’t the first time the lingerie and fitness model has showed off a seemingly impossible physique during pregnancy. She faced criticism back in 2015 when, while pregnant with her first son James Hunter, she maintained her six-pack abs until her eighth month and had people accuse her of putting her unborn child at risk.
Nevertheless, her son was born at a healthy weight of 8 pounds, 7 ounces and was 22 inches long. Stage shed the 28 pounds she gained during her pregnancy in just two weeks, according to People.com, and was back to modeling bikinis less than a month later. This time around, too, Stage insists she’s been given her doctor’s blessing to continue working out (just with lighter weights) and that her second baby’s development and growth is right on track.
“Baby #2 is healthy and measuring just fine,” she wrote on Instagram. “I would think that after having James, who was born almost 9 lbs and healthy, people would be more understanding during this pregnancy and keep their ignorant comments to themselves. We are all different. That’s what makes us special and unique!”
While Stage may be considered an anomaly to her critics, her uber-toned pregnancy physique doesn’t necessarily mean she is unhealthy.
“Having six-pack abs during pregnancy is generally not common — it’s quite the opposite. But it does happen that some women are just very toned,” Dr. Diana Ramos, M.D., a Los Angeles-based OB-GYN and member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, tells LIVESTRONG.COM.
That said, Dr. Ramos stresses that prenatal care should always remain the top priority during pregnancy — not how well a mom is maintaining her figure.
“For moms who see [Stage] and feel jealous, pregnancy is not the time to lose weight,” she says. “Don’t start an intense exercise regimen if you haven’t done so before getting pregnant. That’s when it could be dangerous.”
Talk to your doctor about what kind of workout regimen is healthiest for you. And if you’ve had a little one and are ready to get back on the fitness train, here are some great tips to kick-start your weight loss!