What is Lightning Crotch in Pregnancy?

What is Lightning Crotch in Pregnancy?

Pregnancy brings its fair share of aches, pains, twinges, and tweaks.

You’re growing a baby, after all, and your body is going through quite a few changes.

One particular pain is called lightning crotch.

Never, fear, mama, lighting crotch isn’t usually an indication of anything serious.

In this article: 📝

  • What is lightning crotch?
  • What causes lightning crotch during pregnancy?
  • Is lightning crotch a sign of labor?
  • How can you prevent lightning crotch pain during pregnancy?
  • When should you call a doctor?

What is lightning crotch?

Lightning crotch refers to a stabbing pain in your crotch or groin area. [1]

It feels like an internal zap and is usually quite short-lived—just like a bolt of lightning.

And while it’s likely to go away as quickly as it came, that doesn’t make it any less unpleasant.

It’s a common pregnancy symptom, but isn’t universal.

While some women experience it quite regularly, others don’t experience it at all.

If lightning crotch sounds familiar to you, you probably find that you don’t experience it all the time.

Lightning crotch tends to be sporadic and usually happens if you haven’t changed positions in a while, and the pain typically ends once the baby is born.

What causes lightning crotch during pregnancy?

If you do experience lightning crotch, it’s more likely to bother you during your third trimester, rather than early on.

“While it can feel a little different from person to person, it can often feel like sharp, shooting pain in the vaginal area, a stinging or pins and needles sensation, or a brief pain in the pelvic area that’s stronger than a menstrual cramp.”, explains embryologist Navya Muralidhar.

That said, some kind of vaginal or pelvic discomfort is normal throughout pregnancy.

Doctors aren’t 100% sure what causes lightning crotch, but some of the potential causes include:

  • Baby moving: Your acrobatic baby—and all their flips, twists, and kicks—can put pressure on a nerve.
  • Baby dropping: Dropping is when the baby’s head drops into your pelvis ahead of labor. It can put pressure on the nerve endings near your cervix, uterus, and bladder.
  • Pelvic shifts: As your baby grows and starts to drop into your lower pelvis, your pelvic bones will pull apart. This (as you might expect) can be a bit painful.

Is lightning crotch a sign of labor?

Especially if this is your first pregnancy, you might confuse lightning crotch with labor contractions.

They’re not quite the same though.

Lightning crotch happens randomly, while labor contractions are consistent and repeat at regular intervals that get closer over time. [2]

That said, if lightning crotch is combined with pressure in your pelvis, diarrhea, a burst of energy, or the loss of your mucus plug, you could well be in labor!

🤰 Get clued up on Signs of Labor (And What Happens Next): Your Complete Guide

How can you prevent lightning crotch pain during pregnancy?

Honestly, there’s not much you can do to prevent these lightning crotch episodes from striking.

But there are a few home remedies you can try to make lightning crotch less painful. [3]

  • Move around: Changing positions or moving around can help to take the pressure off a nerve that your little one has pinched.
  • Have a warm bath: Taking a warm bath can help to relax the muscles that are under a bit of strain. Don’t make it too hot, though. You don’t want it to affect your baby’s core temperature.
  • Wear comfortable clothing that doesn’t constrict your pelvis.
  • Use a pregnancy support belt: A pregnancy support belt lifts the weight of your baby and takes the pressure off your pelvis. You can wear one either under or over your clothes.

If you’re in quite a bit of pain, a chiropractor might be able to help by adjusting your pelvis slightly, or your doctor might recommend a pain relief injection.

When should you call a doctor?

Lightning crotch is normal and, most of the time, there’s no need to alert your doctor.

But if you’re also experiencing dizziness, bleeding or other vaginal fluid, fever, headaches, blurred vision, or sudden swelling in your face, hands, or feet), call your doctor straight away.

It’s also possible to experience lightning crotch if you’re not pregnant.

This might be caused by menstrual cramps, endometriosis, a ruptured cyst, ovulation pain, and bladder infections.

If you’re not pregnant, have a chat with your doctor about the pain you’re experiencing.

A few tests should help to diagnose what’s going on.

And if you want to talk to other women who might be going through the same thing, we’re having the conversation on Peanut.


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