Pregnant woman with rock-hard abs speaks out about viral photos

/ Source: TODAY

She might be seven months pregnant, but one Rhode Island woman still has abs that would make even the most dedicated gym-goer jealous.

Stacie Venagro, who owns a gym in Cranston, has been getting a lot of attention this week for the Instagram photos she posts of her impressive physique, including her growing belly. Many new fans can't get over what unbelievable shape she's in, only 10 weeks away from giving birth. But in an interview with TODAY, the 31-year-old pointed out that she was in pretty good shape before baby, too.

"I'm not here to build muscle or anything like that; my body just needs to maintain while I'm pregnant," said Venagro, who's due in April.

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"I don't work out more than most active women," she said. "I'm in the gym an hour or less every day. But I'm an athlete. I'm always staying active."

Still, her photos are inspiring other moms-to-be and serving as a reminder that being pregnant doesn't mean fitness has to fall by the wayside.

Dr. Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz, MD, an OB-GYN in Beverly Hills, told TODAY it's usually perfectly fine for women to keep up their workout routine while they're pregnant, with some exceptions — hot yoga, for example. And she points out that not every woman has the same routine.

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"I've cared for pro athletes who can do stuff while they are pregnant that many of us wouldn't even dream of doing while not pregnant," she said.

Venagro, a personal trainer who's also won fitness competitions, said some people have questioned her fitness habits, but she assures critics she would never do anything unsafe.

"Negative comments don't bother me," she said. "Why am I going to let that bother me and stress me out and possibly stress the baby out? People close to me who know me best know I wouldn't do anything to jeopardize my body or my baby."

She's shocked so many people have taken an interest in what she considers everyday life.

"It's really taken me by surprise," Venagro said, adding that she hopes other moms know they, too, can keep up a fitness routine while pregnant. Just listen to your body, she said, and know when it's time to take it easy.

"There are some days where I'm like, eh, I don't feel like working out today," she said. "If I just want to relax and hang out on the couch for a bit, then I do that."