What Is Lightning Crotch Pain?

What Is Lightning Crotch Pain?

Have you been struck by lightning crotch? There’s no medical term for super painful vaginal or pelvic electric-bolt twinges during pregnancy, but plenty of moms-to-be experience what’s been dubbed "lightning crotch" toward the end of their pregnancies. The good news is that it isn’t dangerous, nor is it a sign that there’s a problem.

Have you ever experienced a sudden sharp pain deep inside your crotch? Something that feels like a strong jab, perhaps, or an electric shock, maybe with some burning, pins and needles, or stinging thrown in?

If the answer is yes, then you’ve experienced what's known as lightning crotch. The very uncomfortable, take-your-breath-away deep pelvic pain is surprisingly common during late pregnancy, and it typically hits without any warning at all.

Keep in mind that the pain from lightning crotch should last just a few seconds. Anything longer warrants bringing up with your practitioner, as it could be a sign of something more serious.

There are plenty of aches and pains you’ll feel during pregnancy, especially in the pelvic area where so much of the action is happening. General pelvic pain or discomfort is common, but it's more of an achy, crampy feeling than a sudden shooting sensation like lightning crotch is.

There’s also round ligament pain, often described as a pulling sensation in your lower abdomen and pelvic area. There’s sciatica, pain in the pelvic and rectum area that usually radiates down the leg. Or you might experience painful pressure down there coming from varicose veins in the vulva.

All these types of pain are different from lightning crotch, which refers to the sharp, electric pains you might feel for a few seconds in your nether regions.

Lightning crotch can occur at any time in pregnancy, but it's most common in the third trimester, when your baby is bigger and you’re getting closer to your due date.

The pain will end when your pregnancy ends and your baby is born.  

Why do moms-to-be get lightning crotch? There’s no one definitive reason, but there are plenty of theories on its triggers.

It could be that your little (yet getting-bigger-every-day) baby is pressing on or kicking a nerve that runs to the cervix or its surroundings, causing those zings of pain. Or maybe the increasing pressure of baby’s head as it drops lower into your pelvis to get ready for the big day could be the cause of those lightning bolts to your vaginal area.

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to prevent lightning from striking your crotch area. If you do have those electric shocks of pain, seeking relief — while not always possible to find — is your only option.

Here’s the real deal about lightning crotch — and it’s probably not something you want to hear: There’s not much you can do when it strikes, other than grin and bear it (or yelp loudly in pain). There are a couple of things you can try for relief, however:

Don’t be shocked if nothing seems to work, though. Lightning crotch may be one of those pregnancy symptoms you just have to deal with.

Need some reassurance about your lightning crotch pain? It’s not triggered by cervical dilation, which means there’s no reason to worry that you're going into labor. It’s also not dangerous or a sign that something’s wrong with your pregnancy or the baby. Still, it makes sense to ask your practitioner about those twinges at your next prenatal visit.

Definitely alert your doctor or midwife if lightning crotch lasts for more than a few seconds, or if it's accompanied by other symptoms like vaginal bleeding, fever or contractions, or if the sharp pains don’t subside.

Here's the bottom line: Though uncomfortable and painful, lightning crotch is just another annoying pregnancy symptom that you’ll have to endure until your baby is born. Hang in there!

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