If you haven't seen L.A. model Sarah Stage's stomach by now, perhaps the first pregnant belly ever to go viral, here you go. At eight and half months pregnant, she barely looks like she's carrying a baby. In fact, the 30-year-old is flaunting a pretty impressive six-pack, as she has regularly shown the world on her Instagram feed throughout her pregnancy (and well before).
In return, plenty of people have slammed this very fit mom-to-be, expressing concern about the baby's health and about her body:
"That is disturbing," said one commenter. "Does your baby have room to move? Not healthy for your little one."
"My stomach looks bigger when I eat a meal!" noted another.
Molly Sims jumped into the fray, too, telling Entertainment Tonight, "She's not normal! It's not normal!"
To date, Stage says she's gained about 18 pounds—which is normal and healthy, per Jennifer Ashton, MD, an ob-gyn and an ABC News medical contributor. Stage will likely gain about half a pound a week going forward, notes Dr. Ashton, so her bump should get more sizable. She'll also inch closer to the recommended 25 to 35 pound weight gain during pregnancy (although that's an average, and varies depending on a woman's pre-pregnancy weight).
Stage is unapologetic, as she should be. She does light prenatal training and Pilates, she's said, and gets healthy meals delivered that typically include quinoa, brown rice, veggies, steak, and chicken. "My doctor says the baby is healthy and that's all that matters to us," she told an Australian news site. Meanwhile, people should be more concerned about the fact that nearly half of all pregnant women gain more weight than recommended during pregnancy, per a new study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Fat-shaming has been around forever. Thin-shaming is now a thing, as became painfully obvious a few months ago when DJ and producer Diplo tweeted, "Someone should make a kickstarter to get taylor swift a booty." And now, the Internet has taken body-shaming to a whole new level: bashing a preggo woman's body.
Yes, posting lots and lots of selfies of your lingerie-clad self does tend to invite commentary, whether or not you're packing a baby. Still, the fact is pregnant bellies come in all sorts of glorious shapes and sizes, as is true of women's bodies in general. Some women carry very small, some balloon out. Some women carry high, some carry low. There's no one "right" size or shape.
Besides, if there's one time in life when a belly deserves to be wholly celebrated, it's pregnancy. When you're carrying a human being in your body, you deserve good vibes, not bad. Rock on, Sarah Stage. But please, spare us Instagram selfies of the birth.
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