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5 Red Flags That Your Lightning Crotch Is More Serious Than You Think

There are innumerable discomforts involved in making and baking a baby. It starts with swallowing vitamins that are roughly the size of your thumb and ends with a baby being spewed forth from your loins. One of the more uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy some women experience is referred to colloquially as "lightning crotch." It's a shooting pain in your downtown that comes on like literal lightning. It's usually no big deal, but there are some red flags that your lightning crotch is more serious than you think.

Lightning crotch is a painful, transient pain that often begins late in the third trimester. It's a shooting, sharp pain that radiates from your womb to your vagina, vulva, and even your rectum. Sometimes caused by the baby's position shifting in the womb toward the birth canal, it can signal baby's preparation for birth. However, birth could still be weeks away, noted Healthline.

Like lightning, the pain comes on fast and bright. It blooms quickly and then fades as you shift your position. However, not all vaginal pain in pregnancy is lightning crotch, and some are cause for concern. Here are five red flags that your lightning crotch should concern you, according to nurse practitioner Lauren Trimmer of Ontario.



Trimmer tells Romper that while some spotting in the third trimester is normal, if it's accompanied by pain, you need to call your provider. While it's likely nothing to worry about, as it could just be lightning crotch combined with losing your mucus plug, it should be charted and discussed.

And don't get too excited about the mucus plug. I know you've heard it means labor is imminent, but it could be days or weeks until you actually go into labor after losing it.


Unusual Wetness

It's harder than you think to notice when you're leaking amniotic fluid sometimes, especially if it's a slow drip. However, Trimmer notes, "If you notice really watery discharge, or if you think you've wet yourself a little, it could be amniotic fluid." If that's accompanied by lightning crotch, "you might be seeing your baby sooner than you think."

This one would be really hard for many moms who experience some level of incontinence after giving birth or while pregnant. It can be hard to tell if it's amniotic fluid or if that last sneezing fit from picnicking beneath the oak tree caused a little leak.


Itching Or Something Protruding From The Vagina

If you see, or more likely feel, anything unusual in or around your vulva or vagina, you need to contact your provider. "Sores and itching are symptoms of active sexually transmitted infection, and it needs to be treated quickly, and may change the route of your birth," Trimmer says. Also, there is something called umbilical cord prolapse, which, according to the Cleveland Clinic is when "the umbilical cord drops (prolapses) through the open cervix into the vagina ahead of the baby. The cord can then become trapped against the baby's body during delivery." This is dangerous and can lead to stillbirth. If you think it's your umbilical cord, dial 9-1-1 immediately.


Difficulty Urinating Or Blood In Your Urine

It's possible it's not lightning crotch at all. Sometimes pregnant women with urinary tract infections can get sharp pain in their urethra. Also, their urethras may swell, causing pressure in the vulvar area, according to Trimmer. If you notice blood in your urine, or if you feel like you constantly need to pee, it's probably a UTI and needs treatment.


Sharp Pain & Constant Pressure

If you feel the lightning pain when you shift positions or stand, and also feel a constant, low level pressure-pain, it's probably not lightning crotch, notes Trimmer. It could be a varicose vein on your vulva. "They're really more common than you realize, and they can be really painful. Unfortunately, there's not a lot to be done about them except wear tight panties and sit on pillows."

Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.