During pregnancy, nothing is quite as shocking as being woken up from a dead sleep by a strike of lightning (or a lightsaber) stabbing you in your vagina and your rectum at the same time. It’s like what I’d imagine a taser feeling like — but all up in your lady bits. This is lightning crotch, ladies and gentleman. I’ve had the privilege of experiencing lightning crotch throughout my pregnancy, especially early in the first trimester, and now in the third. But what about lightning crotch at 16 weeks? It seems to be a common complaint.
I didn’t feel lightning crotch as much in my second trimester, but apparently many others do. And that’s understandable as there are a ton of different things going on in there while your body is growing a baby. Dr. Diana Roth, an OB-GYN at Boro Park OB-GYN in Brooklyn, New York, was quoted in a previous Romper article saying that lightning crotch is caused by an increased blood flow to your pelvis and vagina, and it's also caused by an “enlarging uterus.” The reason you’d feel lightning crotch in your second trimester is potentially because your uterus is continuing to grow — along with your baby — and there’s still some increased blood flow happening down there. That’s also why they say most women have the best orgasms during their second trimester. (You’re welcome for that information.) For some moms, at 16 weeks they could already be feeling their baby kicking or bumping into their cervix. This is called quickening, and that could be causing discomfort as well.
Additionally, Dr. Jamil Abdur-Rahman, an OB-GYN and medical travel blogger for TwinDoctorsTV, said in another Romper article that the increased blood supply down there can cause “varicosities,” i.e., dilated pelvic veins, which causes some sharp pains. He also blames the relaxin hormone for lightning crotch, which is released all throughout your pregnancy. He notes that relaxin causes your joints, ligaments, and tendons — all of them — to relax throughout your body so your pelvis becomes more pliable and expandable for when your baby has to move through the birth canal.
You shouldn’t fret too much about lightning crotch at 16 weeks, unless it’s accompanied by abnormal discharge, bleeding, or a fever — then it could be a sign of something serious, according to Health Line. And if you’re feeling a consistent backache, contractions, or leaking fluid, you could even be in labor, Health Line noted.
So what can you do about this painful part of pregnancy? Roth suggested taking Tylenol if it’s lingering, since that’s pregnancy safe. Otherwise, Health Line noted that you should try to stay active in order to keep your joints open and flexible, change up your workload if your job is strenuous on your body, wear a support brace that will “lift and support your belly to take pressure off of your hips, joints, and cervix,” get a pregnancy massage, and/or even try to swim since that will take pressure off of your body while getting exercise.
While lightning crotch definitely sucks, don’t worry too much about it as long as you’re not having abnormal discharge, bleeding, a fever, a consistent backache, consistent contractions, or leaking fluid. It’s probably just your body stretching and “relaxing” to get ready for labor. Or you’re feeling your baby a little bit early. If you’re worried or the pain is unbearable, it is always a good idea to call your healthcare provider to see what they think. It’s better to be safe than sorry, plus a little peace of mind definitely never hurt anyone — especially when it comes to being pregnant.