If you have ever been pregnant, you know there are tons of random aches and pains you learn to endure. There are sciatica pains, sore boobs, round ligament pains in your hips and abdomen, nausea, headaches, leg cramps … and the list goes on and on. But have you ever experienced, or even heard of, Lightning Crotch?
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How it sounds is exactly how it feels. It is a sharp, super painful twinge felt in the vaginal or pelvic area, usually towards the end of a pregnancy. Many describe it as feeling like being stabbed with a knife, your baby karate-kicking you, or a bolt of lightning shooting through your vagina. And it can literally take your breath away, double you over and freeze you in your tracks.
Actress Hilary Duff recently admitted to experiencing lightning crotch on an episode of “The Ellen Degeneres Show.” The “Younger” star explained that she reached out to her midwife with a text. She shared, “So I texted my midwife the other day, and was like, ‘What’s up with the stabbing pains in my vagina?!’ … It feels awful like you’re being struck by lightning.”
Duff shared how surprised she was by her midwife’s nonchalant response. She explained, “She just wrote back, and she was like, ‘Oh, lightning crotch’ — like it was no big thing.” But she felt like it was a “quite traumatic” situation.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) March 12, 2021
After experiencing lightning crotch with my second and third pregnancies, I would have to agree with Duff. The first time I felt that stabbing jolt of pain, it was quite a shock to my system. I had no idea what it was called at the time, nor did I know how common it is. And I panicked a bit because I wasn’t sure if it was just some kind of Braxton Hicks for my vagina or something I should genuinely be worried about.
When I mentioned the phenomenon of lightning crotch to a group of fellow moms, quite a few of them shared that they had experienced the same thing. One mom described it as a “head butt” to her vagina, and another mom referred to the pain as “excruciating.” And one mom was upset that no other mom took the time to warn her that such a pain was even possible. She exclaimed, “These are things us mommas need to be sharing with each other!”
According to a medically reviewed article on WhatToExpect.com, lightning crotch is a common occurrence that usually happens in the third trimester. There is no definitive reason for the pain. However, theories point to the possibility of the baby pressing or kicking an area of the cervix that a nerve runs through. Or, as the baby’s head drops lower in the pelvis, it can increase pressure in that area and cause pain.
The good news is that the pain of lightning crotch lasts for a very short period of time. The pain is usually not dangerous or a sign that something is wrong with the pregnancy. However, if the pain lasts more than a few seconds or is accompanied by other symptoms, you should definitely discuss it with your doctor or midwife.
The bad news is there isn’t much you can do to prevent lightning crotch. But if you are one of the unlucky people to experience it, there are a few things you can do for relief. First, try shifting positions whenever you feel pain. And consistently staying active throughout your pregnancy can keep your joints open and flexible. Pregnancy massages focusing on your back and sacral area can help relieve pressure in your pelvic area. And last but not least, supportive garments can help lift and support your growing belly and lighten the load.
Unfortunately, lightning crotch is just the beginning of a long list of grievances that start from the minute you find out you are pregnant. But pregnancy pains are temporary discomforts. And frankly, they don’t matter much once you have your beautiful baby in your arms.