An athlete and mother has been praised for sharing a photo online of the excess skin on her stomach to highlight how women’s bodies change after giving birth.
Stephanie Rothstein, a professional runner from Phoenix, Arizona, shared the photo of the loose skin on her stomach with her tens of thousands of followers Instagram.
“When I look down I see stretch marks that are here to stay, ab muscles that need continued strengthening, legs that are powerful, and feet that are ready to fly!” the 32-year-old wrote alongside the photo.
Ms Rothstein has used her Instagram page to document her training, as well as raise awareness of how pregnancy can impact a woman's body. The runner had her first child in June 2014, followed by another baby 15 months later.
The births left the athlete with diastasis recti, where the space between the right and left abdominal muslces widen.
Ms Rothstein, who often uses #keepitreal, has previously blogged an image which shows her pressing three of her fingers into the gap between her left and right abdominal muscles 7 weeks after giving birth.
"I can stick 3 fingers in between my 2 ab walls. But it's not about ascetics it's about functionality," she wrote.
The runner also charted how her body transformed during pregnancy, and revealed to her followers that she become embarrased of her stomach bceause of her stretch marks.
"But I'm reminded they are simply lines of love and proof of what the human body is capable of. So regardless of your mid section appearance, own your body and sport those tummies loud and proud," she told her followers.
Ms Rothstein started running aged 4, and is currently training to qualify for the 10,000 metres race at the Olympics to represent the US.
Her followers have praised her for her honesty, and for how she has changed their attitudes towards their own bodies.
User emilyurais responded to one photo: “I love you for sharing this, so real. I´m a mother of three (five year old twins and a 3 year old boy). I´m still getting used to a body with stretch marks, but much prouder today after seeing you.”
Ms Rosthein Bruce told SELF.com: “Going through pregnancy and childbirth was very humbling and I felt that not many women… shared the real and raw part of it. I can run 5:20 pace for a half marathon, but I still pee my pants, have diastasis recti, stretch marks, and other postpartum issues,'"
The athlete is the latest mother to use social media to emphasise that pregnancy dramatically changes a woman's body.
Earlier this year, a woman was hailed an “inspiration” for sharing a photo of her body on Instagram 24-hours after giving birth.
Erica Andrews from Zanesville, Ohio, wrote: This is what 24 hours postpartum looks like. Baby in sling. Skin to skin. Adult diapers. And a rosy glow.”
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