Like many first-time moms-to-be, I found pregnancy to be a nerve-racking set of painful, annoying, disturbing, and often surprising symptoms. Not only was each one a completely new experience for me, but I unfortunately discovered that sometimes the only cure for pregnancy pain is waiting it out and giving birth. When I experienced lightning crotch — the painfully accurate name for those feelings of electricity coming out of your vagina in late pregnancy — I asked my midwife for advice. Luckily, I found some relatively easy-to-use lightning crotch remedies, to relieve my pain until my baby was born.
For anyone who hasn’t experienced lightning crotch themselves, it’s exactly what it sounds like — electric pain in your pelvic area. As Chaunie Brusie, RN, BSN wrote for Healthline, "lightning pain is caused by the pressure and position of the baby as they descend into the birth canal to get ready for delivery." In other words, as your baby gets bigger, they literally touch your cervix from the inside, which I can tell you feels just as weird as it sounds. The only thing that helped me personally with my lightning crotch was trying to take it easy and resting as much as I could, especially with a giant pregnancy pillow between my legs.
When I’ve asked other experienced moms to share their best lightning crotch remedies, I learned even more tricks and tips for easing this shocking pain, including applying an ice pack directly to your aching vagina, or resting in a warm bath. Other mom-proven cures include lying on your left side, or resting on hands and knees, to move your baby's head off of your sore cervix for a change. I totally wish I had thought to ask other moms when I was still pregnant and trying to cope with electric pain during the unbearably long and uncomfortable last weeks of pregnancy. If you are in your third trimester and find yourself with electricity-like pain coming out of your vagina, you might try some of the following tried and true remedies:
"I squeezed a rolled up towel or small bouncy ball between my knees to help relieve some of the pressure. Also, ice, ice baby! An ice pack tucked right inside your pants can feel amazing when you are dealing with lightning crotch."
"I used to get on the floor on my hands and knees, and then spread my legs as far apart as possible and lay my head on the floor. It gave me amazing relief, even though it probably looked completely ridiculous."
"I would literally start doing Lamaze breathing through the pain, and hoped my vagina wouldn’t catch fire."
"The thing that worked best for me was sitting with my knees on the couch then putting hands or fore arms on the floor and staying in the position as long as was comfortable. I read about it on spinning babies blog or website."
"I didn’t try any specific remedies, but I can say that it always happened when I was walking or running, so I just kept moving and it eventually passed."
"I finally felt better, while lying on my stomach, during a prenatal massage, on one of those tables with a belly cut out. I couldn't afford a daily massage (I wish), so I started piling pillows on my bed to create a 'nest' of sorts, so I could lie on my stomach, and take the pressure off my poor crotch."
"My coping strategy involved lots of bitching and moaning. I tried to take it easy (which, let’s be real, never quite happened). The rare sprawl upside down with my legs splayed open over the back of the couch helped a bit. Nothing truly prevented the episodes, except delivery, I'm afraid."
"Lie down and moan."
"It was so bad. The only thing that worked was getting rest, when I could, which wasn't happening as often as I needed it to."
"I’m not saying it helped entirely, but I definitely tried an ice pack on the crotch."
"Mine seemed to get better after I started wearing a maternity support belt. I don't know if it was a coincidence or a cure, but it seemed to help with those zapping pains, so I didn't question it."
"Nothing really helped, until she came out. It was torture. I took so many jet tub soaks, used ice packs, and tried to rest (which was impossible with three other kids. Still just pain."
"They only stopped at night when lying on my left side, with a pillow between my knees. I worked on my feet all day, so I am sure it had something to do with my son's head not resting on my cervix, but it was something."
"Literally the only thing that helped with lightning crotch was to get in the water. I went to the pool every day, and took so many warm baths that I was sure I would end up having a water birth."
"Believe it or not, moving helped. I felt best when I was walking or bouncing on an exercise ball, which were the same things I did during labor."
"Yoga, or any position where my belly was hanging under me, or resting on the floor. Basically, anything to reverse gravity and pressure on my vagina."
"Drinking something cold or sweet seemed to make my baby move, which either made my pain better or worse."
"My OB told me to take magnesium supplements to help with all sorts of pregnancy symptoms — constipation, restless legs, and lightning crotch. It worked."
"It sounds weird, but nothing worked better than one of those microwavable rice packs between my legs."
"I would lay in my side and lift one leg in the air repeatedly. Similar to those '80s workout videos. If that didn’t work, I found screaming profanities at my husband a good secondary remedy."
This first-time mom wants to have a home birth, but is she ready? Watch how a doula supports a military mom who's determined to have a home birth in Episode One of Romper's Doula Diaries, Season Two, below. Visit Bustle Digital Group's YouTube page for the next three episodes, launching every Monday starting November 26.