I was late in my third trimester when I felt a sharp pain in my vagina. I had no idea what was happening, it just felt like electricity was shooting at me from the inside. Was I in labor? Was something wrong? Was my baby secretly Storm from X-Men? So, I called my midwife to ask. She chuckled a bit and told me that I was experiencing a common symptom of late pregnancy — vaginal pain — which is sometimes called "lightning crotch." It turns out there are things lightning crotch can tell you about your pregnancy, too. Thankfully, for the most part, it's typically not a big deal. I mean, aside from the pain part, because OMG it hurts.
According to my midwife, my lightening crotch pain was a sign that my cervix was changing. My baby had descended into my pelvis and was literally touching me from the inside, which was exactly what it felt like (if my baby had electricity coming out of her, that is). All of that pressure was causing my cervix to thin and dilate. Unfortunately for me, my body didn't get the memo. Did you know you can be dilated for weeks without going into labor? Yeah, neither did I. Ugh.
For other pregnant people lightning crotch might be a sign of something else. According to What to Expect, it can be caused by your baby's head irritating nerves in your uterus. Healthline explains that as your baby grows and moves into position for birth, they may stretch or put pressure on your cervix, which can cause those annoying lightning-like pains. As always, you should consult your health care provider if you have any questions or concerns about your pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), even though some pain in pregnancy is completely normal and to be expected, pain that is persistent, and doesn't go away if you take it easy or shift positions, should always be checked out, as it may be a sign of something serious. So with that in mind, here's what lightning crotch could be trying to tell you about your pregnancy: