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Stacie Venagro is 30 weeks pregnant and she still has a
six-pack. Everybody calm down—things are going to be just fine.
The three-time World Miss Fitness America Pro
and 2014 Miss Fitness Universe caught our eye when, while scrolling through
Instagram, we came across her feed. Like many first-time moms-to-be, Venagro,
31, has been visually documenting her growing belly, taking and posting shots
every week. The difference between her and many other pregnant women, though,
is the size and shape of that belly.
Thanks to decades of hardcore physical
activity (she was a childhood dancer and gymnast, and now owns a fitness studio in Cranston, R.I.),
her core is basically made of solid muscle. When a baby starts
growing beneath all of those layers of power, it's going to take a lot more for
a bump to start showing. As a result, she has managed to maintain some
semblance of a six-pack
throughout her pregnancy.
Even now, in the third trimester, you can still see ripples of muscle.
So far, she's gained a modest amount of weight, and by the looks of her recent 3-D ultrasound, the baby is coming along nicely.
On Venagro's Instagram account, shots from
past fitness competitions mingle with pictures of cribs and her Vizsla/furbaby, Brody, who surely has no idea what's in it for him once the new star arrives. So far, there hasn't been any real backlash to her pregnancy photos (unlike lingerie model mom Sarah Stage, who
was chastised throughout—and after—her pregnancy for not showing enough).
Venagro and I chatted about exercising while pregnant, not "eating for two" and
enjoying the occasional half-pound cookie.
When did you notice
the first changes in your belly?
Halfway through, at 20 weeks, I started seeing some changes.
My stomach was coming out a bit, my jeans were fitting a little differently. When I
buy jeans, I've always had to buy jeans for my legs and butt. Now, I need to
buy for my waist. I'm always in yoga pants or gym clothes, so I don't notice
At 28 weeks, I started to notice my stomach getting in the
way, like when bending over, putting socks on, picking up weights, putting them
Have you received any
negative comments on Instagram?
I'm embracing this pregnancy. I'm embracing my body's changes.
No, and I have to say, I'm shocked. It's mostly been from family. My husband
thinks I need to eat more. He'll bring me home dark chocolate or peanut butter
balls and say, "You can eat it; you can afford it." And I can, and I do, but I
do it in moderation.
My friend and people in the fitness world have ben extremely
supportive. They know that I'm embracing this pregnancy. I'm embracing my
What was your doctor's
advice in the beginning?
My doctor told me all I needed was an extra 200 calories per
day, none of this "eating for two" stuff. I wanted to make sure they were clean
calories. I take in either a bigger breakfast or lunch and a smaller
dinner. I'll have an Isagenix shake,
adding blueberries, chia and flax seeds, frozen berries, ice, water, coconut
oil and powdered peanut butter. That takes it from 270 calories to more than
I'm used to always eating every
two to three hours; I've been doing that for years. So my next meal is something
like egg whites, Ezekiel toast and spinach. Lunch today was a cup of pasta e fagioli,
chicken with green beans and roasted potatoes, all in a sensible portion, and
mousse cake for desert.
At night, I'll have a shake or a bar.
Even though my doctor told me I only need 200 extra
calories a day, I get some flack for it. (But) I do have sweets. I have
chocolate. There's a picture on Instagram of me chowing down a half-pound cookie
in Key West. It's all in moderation. I'm taking in healthy and unhealthy
calories, in a moderate way.
What does your doctor
She says I'm measuring right on point. I just passed my
glucose test. The baby's heart rate is consistently in the 150/155 range.
What do you say to
people who say pregnant women shouldn't lift weights or let their heart rate
rise above 140?
The hardest part (of pregnancy) has been people telling me, "You shouldn't lift that."
My cousin recently asked me what the hardest thing about
pregnancy has been. The truth is, I've had a great pregnancy—no morning
sickness, no insomnia, just a little acid reflux. I was a little tired in my
first trimester, but I listened to my body and would lie down and relax
in the afternoon. But for me, the hardest part has been people telling me, "You
shouldn't lift that." My doctor said as long as I wasn't straining, it was fine
to continue lifting weights. So I haven't gone higher than the weight I'd
already been lifting to avoid straining. For example, when I got pregnant, I
was lifting 15 pounds with biceps curls. So I'm staying at that; I'm not trying
to go up.
I no longer do core stuff on my back because I'm in the
third trimester, so I'm
doing more ab things while sitting in a chair or with my back against the wall.
Coco (Ice T's wife)
recently gave birth after sporting a small bump and snapped right back into
pre-pregnancy shape. She's taken some heat from people. What do you have to say to
her and women like her, who happen to sport small bumps?
As long as she was doing what's best for her body then kuddos to
her! Listening to the doctors and making sure you are on track is all you need.
Don't let someone else's negativity ruin your day or even stress you out during
your own pregnancy. One person may gain 15 pounds and the next may gain 100 pounds;
everyone is different. You can only compare yourself to who you were
I'm sure some people will read this Q & A and judge Venagro. They might say she's depriving herself of one of the purported joys of pregnancy (i.e., letting yourself eat whatever you want). They might fret that she's not giving her baby enough nutrition. They might be silently jealous of her lack of weight gain while simultaneously criticizing her for not gaining enough. But the truth is, this is Venagro's pregnancy, her body, her baby. As long as everyone is healthy and happy, let's respect the choices other moms make.
Photographs by: Gordon Smith, Noel Daganta and Stacie Venagro