Lightning Crotch or pelvic pain during pregnancy is exactly what it sounds like. It is an electric or sharp, shooting, stabbing sensation felt in the pelvis, rectum or vulva when you are pregnant.
The good news is that this is normal and a sign that you are getting closer to your delivery day. The not so good news is that you may experience it for several weeks before actually going into labor. It generally occurs in the 3rd trimester as the baby and the uterus grow in size and weight.
There is no medical term for lightning crotch because it is not a disease. Not all pregnant people experience lightning crotch.
What Does Lightning Crotch Feel Like?
Lightning crotch is a variety of sensations in the pelvic area that pregnant woman may experience at the end of their pregnancy. It has been described as:
- Sharp, shooting pelvic pain during pregnancy
- A pins and needles sensation in the pelvic area, rectum, or vagina
- A brief bolt of pain, which has been described as taking the breath away
What Causes Lightning Crotch?
A variety of things can cause the quick, electric shocks in your crotch including:
- Stretching of round ligaments. As your uterus grows during pregnancy, the two round ligaments (rope-like bands that are a supporting part of the uterus) in your pelvis will stretch and thicken to accommodate it. When these ligaments are stretched too far or too fast, it causes the sensation known as lightning crotch.
- Growth & Movement of Baby: As your baby continues to grow, it can put pressure on nerves endings around your pelvis causing sharp pain.
- Position of Baby: As your baby’s head drops lower into your pelvis in the last few weeks of pregnancy or as the baby descends into the birth canal during labor, the pressure on the nerves increases.
How Can I Prevent Lightning Crotch?
Since the exact cause can vary, there is no specific way to prevent lightning crotch pain. However, women who commit to exercise during pregnancy, with an aerobic and cardio regiment before getting pregnant and throughout pregnancy set themselves up for a seamless pregnancy, birth and postpartum period.
Childbirth is a natural physiological event that is physical, mental and spiritual. To prepare for childbirth, you must address all three aspects; the mind, body and spirit. You can do this by taking a good, physiologic childbirth class or course such as the Beyond the Birth Birth Plan Childbirth Course. A good class will provide you with exercises to help support your body as physical changes occur throughout pregnancy and childbirth.
If you start an exercise routine at the beginning of your pregnancy, it will be help you stay active throughout the nine months.
Should I be Worried about Lightning Crotch?
No. Don’t worry. It will resolve once the baby is born. When you experience lightning crotch during pregnancy, pause, and tune into your body. Try to breathe – inhale and exhale slowly. The sensation will pass as quickly as it came.
If You are Experiencing Lightning Crotch, Try These Natural Tips
The following modalities can help ease its occurrence and can be an ally for your growing body in your third trimester.
- Chiropractic care
- Prenatal massage
- Craniosacral therapy
- Floating, swimming, being in the water
- Pelvic floor strengthening
- Pelvic floor physical therapy
- Pregnancy support belt
- Rebozo/ bellybinding / supportive belly band
- Supplement with Magnesium or eat Magnesium-rich foods (this important mineral can help prevent muscle cramps that can cause pelvic pain during pregnancy)
How is Lightning Crotch Different than Round Ligament Pain?
Where you feel the pressure and sensation are different. Lightning crotch is felt in your vagina, while round ligament pain are spasm-like pains felt in your low abdomen or sides. Round ligament pain may feel like a dull ache and can even feel crampy. Lightning crotch feels like a jolt of energy or sudden charge. Round ligament pain happens in the 2nd trimester while lightening crotch occurs in the 3rd trimester. Both can be alarming, and uncomfortable but are generally not a reason for concern on their own.
Additional Tips for Dealing with Lightning Crotch
Again, if you are in your third trimester and are experiencing lightning in your crotch, don’t panic. This is normal. If you have not been active during your pregnancy, start today.
Focus on the lower back, glutes, pelvic floor muscles and abdominal muscles. These support your posture and will play a big role in childbirth.
Check in with your posture, an anatomically correct posture will help distribute tension and weight of the growing baby. The stronger and more vascular your muscles are, the fewer aches, pain and weird pregnancy sensations you will encounter.
As labor approaches, don’t forget to practice relaxing. By relaxing, I mean tuning into your muscles and releasing tension. Strong muscles are very important for childbirth, it is the opening and relaxing that will allow your baby to pass through the vaginal canal and into the world.
Disclaimer: For informational purposes only. This article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always ask your healthcare provider about any health concerns you may have.
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