Reports of a popular Houston area stripper's miscarriage while performing the popular dance move known as "twerking" have been denied via the exotic dancer's Vine account.
According to purported eyewitness reports, Jhonni Blaze, who describes herself as a "pole assassin," began to bleed "profusely" while on stage before going into convulsions backstage at VLive nightclub in Houston, Texas last week.
Blaze was supposedly rushed to a nearby hospital where doctors performed a blood transfusion to account for the blood loss, but attempts at saving her child fell short.
The self-proclaimed Queen of Houston has taken to her Twitter account in vehemently denying these allegations to her social media followers.
The possibility of something this outrageous can't help but make someone think: what are the health concerns of "twerking" while pregnant?
Miscarriage Risk from Strenuous Physical Activity
As one might imagine, there is little scientific evidence to either prove or disprove that rapidly shaking one's buttocks in an up and down motion is harmful for a developing child. However, past studies have analyzed how strenuous physical exertion can lead to a miscarriage, which is defined as the loss of a fetus before 22 out of 37 weeks of gestation.
In a study published in 2007, a group of Danish researchers conducted tests to measure leisure-time physical exercise during pregnancy and risk of miscarriage. A total of 92,671 pregnant women were asked to answer computer-assisted telephone interviews either during pregnancy or after a miscarriage.
The findings showed that the risk of having a miscarriage was substantially higher among women who exercised over seven hours a week before a fetus was 18 weeks old than among those who did not exercise at all.
Specifically, "high-impact exercise" early in pregnancy, like strenuous jogging and ball games, was associated with an increased miscarriage risk, though there was no evidence that any exercise after 18 weeks was linked to risk of miscarriage.
A 2010 study on female textile workers in China found that being in uncomfortable positions like crouching for long periods of time was associated with elevated miscarriage risk, while light to medium physical activity was associated with reduced miscarriage risk compared to women who were completely sedentary.
Researchers in both studies acknowledged that their studies were based on participants' self-reports, so their conclusions should be interpreted carefully — it's not clear that strenuous exertion was the direct cause of the miscarriages.
According to WebMD, doctors generally encourage women to get mild to moderate exercise throughout pregnancy, in order to maintain their own health and that of their developing child.
The most important factor is comfort. Exercise routines should be low-impact, like swimming, moderate jogging, and light aerobics, and avoid any risk of even mild abdominal trauma that can harm a developing fetus.
WebMD specifically discourages pregnant women from activities with "jarring motions or rapid changes in direction," "bouncing while stretching," and "waist-twisting movements while standing" — especially in hot and humid environments.
Unfortunately for twerking enthusiasts, all of these describe variations of their dance style. Even if accounts of Blaze's miscarriage are untrue, this medical advice suggests that she, and all other women, should avoid twerking too hard while pregnant.
If you don't think "twerking" can be classified as a strenuous physical activity, take a look at Jhonni Blaze's instructional video:
Exercise During Pregnancy. WebMD.
Madsen M, Jørgensen T, Jensen ML, et al. Leisure time physical exercise during pregnancy and the risk of miscarriage: a study within the Danish National Birth Cohort. BJOG. 2007.
Wong EY, Ray R, Gao DL, et al. Physical activity, physical exertion, and miscarriage risk in women textile workers in Shanghai, China. American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 2010.