ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) – Doctors are seeing an increase in pregnant women pushing themselves through grueling workouts, sometimes for the entire length of the pregnancy.

Brianna Willey, a coach at CrossFit Midtown, is eight months pregnant with her second child. She’s an advocate of the new health trend involving expecting mothers.

"Labor is the hardest workout of anyone woman's life," she said. "Why not train your body to get prepared for that?"

Willey is among a new wave of mothers-to-be who are taking working out while pregnant to another level.

"Working out is my stress relief, my personal time," she said. "Working out is my version of self-care."

Some of the exercises involve heavy weights, handstand push-ups and lots of running. Some question the safety of the intense physical activity.

"I don't view it as controversial at all," said doctor Matthew Ralston, an obstetrician at Piedmont Hospital. "There are pretty good studies that show exercise does not induce premature labor. There's no bad time for exercise. You can certainly workout through the whole pregnancy."

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists warns pregnant women should avoid contact sports, especially ones that put an expecting mother at risk of getting hit in the abdomen. Doctors recommend women exercise regularly during pregnancy but stress it's always safest to first seek medical guidance.

Willey said lots of pregnant women reach out to her asking if the workouts are safe to do, and if not what they can do instead. "I'm getting lots more of those questions, not 'Oh, I can't workout anymore.’”

Willey is helping other pregnant women train.

"I don't think I'm as amazed as my husband or my mom, who's old school, who's like, 'Should you be squatting still?' Yes, I should still be squatting," she said. "It's just like every other day. Just growing a human now."

Copyright 2019 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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