Although pregnancy can be one of the most exciting times in your life, it can come along with several less than fun symptoms. Pregnancy can actually cause several extremely uncomfortable symptoms. While many people are aware of the possibility of nausea and vomiting and Braxton-Hicks contractions, they may not be as familiar with lightning crotch.
Lightning crotch is the term most mamas-to-be use for intense shooting pain in the crotch, which is most likely to occur during pregnancy. We have a lot of nerves running through the muscles of our back, through our abs, and they all travel down toward the pubic bone, into the vagina and inner thigh area. The weight of the baby can compress these nerves and then you get that zing of pain. Lightning crotch can happen at any time of the night or day, but it occurs most often when mom has been in one spot for a prolonged period of time—for example, after sleeping in one position and then getting up to go to the bathroom, or after sitting at a computer or in a car for several hours. This discomfort, which is more common in expectant moms with pre-existing back issues, could last several minutes before subsiding. It can also occur if a person is not pregnant, but will then have different causes. It’s important to learn what causes it, when you should be concerned, how to stay comfortable, and when it’s a sign that you should head to the hospital.
There are multiple reasons you may be experiencing Lighting Crotch:
- Your baby is stretching
Lightning-like sharp pains in your crotch during late pregnancy are generally caused by your baby literally touching you from the inside and irritating nerves inside your uterus. As your pregnancy progresses, and your baby grows, it becomes more difficult for them to stretch or turn without causing you discomfort.
- Your baby dropped
When your baby descends inside your body to get ready for their birthday, they can literally cause lightning-like nerve pain. This is due to irritation or pressure on the nerves inside your uterus.
- Your cervix is changing
Lightning crotch can be caused by cervix dilation and thinning. This happens due to hormonal changes and actual pressure from your baby’s head on your cervix.
A pair of thick ligaments supports the uterus. During pregnancy, the growing belly puts extra pressure on these ligaments, which causes them to stretch and become thin.
Moving in a certain way may cause the ligaments to stretch too far or too fast, causing sudden, sharp pain. However, it is important to note there may be an issue causing pain. For some women, cervical dilation can take several weeks, or you might be dilated for weeks before going into labor, so lightning crotch pains might not mean that you will have your baby today, or even any time soon.
Lightning crotch can happen at any time of the night or day, but it occurs most often when mom has been in one spot for a prolonged period of time—for example, after sleeping in one position and then getting up to go to the bathroom, or after sitting at a computer or in a car for several hours.
According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), even though lightning crotch pain in pregnancy is normal, it may be a sign of something serious. As always, it’s never a bad idea to ask your OB-GYN or midwife about pain during pregnancy, especially if it’s accompanied by other symptoms (like a fever, chills, or discharge), doesn’t go away when you change positions, or you think you might be in labor.
However, there are easy and quick tips for relieving some of the pain:
It might sound counterproductive, but staying active will help a lot during your pregnancy.
Not only will it help ward off any excess pounds that might make you more uncomfortable, but it will help keep your joints open and flexible, which is important as they take on a heavier workload from your growing baby. Focus on cardio and a lot a lot of stretching the hip area.
Wear a support brace
There are many different types of supportive garments and braces for pregnant women, but their function is usually the same. They help lift and support your belly to take some of that pressure off of your hips, joints, and yes, even cervix.
Certified pregnancy massage therapists can apply counter-pressure to your back and sacral area, which can help ease some of those sore muscles that are pulling on the nerves around your hips. Relaxing those muscles can really help reduce the pain.