Pregnancy is an interesting and unpredictable time for most women, and the cervix is a major part of the mystery. Before pregnancy, chance are you aren't even really aware of this amazing body part, but then you get pregnant and suddenly you feel like your cervix is reliving each stab scene in the Scream movies. That sudden and unpleasant stabbing pain down there is called lightning crotch, and if you aren't quite sure what you're experiencing, there are a couple clear signs of lightning crotch to let you know.
With the first random ping of pain, it's pretty natural to feel the need to reach out to your OB-GYN. Especially considering the anxiety it might cause to feel like lightning just shot through your vagina, it's expected to feel concerned at first. But you don't need to panic. Lightning crotch is a fairly normal and fun (not) symptom of pregnancy most expecting moms are bound to run across at some point or another. The only causes for concern include signs your lightning crotch needs medical attention, like excess bleeding, extreme fever, or severe back pain. These signs, however, are not generally directly related to lightning crotch. Instead, they can be related to other issues, like a kidney infection, and might feel similar but aren't quite the same.
When you first experience lightning crotch could honestly be at any point in your pregnancy. If you don't have any cysts or general issues, this vaginal pain could be due to your uterus growing and increased blood flow to your pelvis. Both of these things actually compress your bladder, which can cause all kinds of uncomfortable feelings.
In the second trimester, however, the risk of lightning crotch (and reasons it might happen to you) increase quite a bit. This is a time when your baby starts dancing, kicking, and moving around like crazy in the womb, along with experiencing big growth spurts. Mama Natural shared that the stretching that occurs with round ligaments that support the uterus and pelvis can result in lightning crotch pain, often due to the growth and gymnastics occurring inside. A piece of advice is to sometimes increase your magnesium intake, as some experts believe a deficiency could contribute to your striking pain.
Moving into the second trimester, there are even more reasons why you might experience lightning crotch, such as your baby's intrauterine gymnastics (nothing like a tiny foot kicking you in the cervix!) and increasing weight. Varicose veins are another possible cause for lightning crotch at this point, as they can develop in the labia and vagina during pregnancy. What fun! And that's not all: Stretching of the round ligaments, which support the uterus and pelvis, can result in this type of pain, explains the pregnancy guide Mama Natural. Some experts believe that magnesium deficiency might make these symptoms worse, as it is essential for proper nerve function (but be sure to check with your doctor before taking any supplements!).
If you're nearing the end of your pregnancy, lightning crotch can be even more prevalent with your body's preparation to deliver — it's a sign you're getting closer to labor every day, according to Healthline. Just remember that as off-putting as a sudden lightning of pain through your vagina feels, it's generally not a cause for concern. If you're unsure what you're experiencing, here are some signs and causes to watch for throughout your nine months of pregnancy.
1. Shooting Pains
The most obvious sign of lightning crotch is the simple feeling of sharp pain or "lightning" shooting up through your vaginal region. It's often totally random and unexpected, and chances are that it will catch you off guard (especially the first time it happens). It's generally a quick pain that's gone in seconds, but leaves you wondering what the hell just happened. Don't panic, chances are you're experiencing lightning crotch ... Fun!
"Most of the time, lightning pain is not serious, especially if it's not interfering with your daily activities and isn't accompanied by any other symptoms," writes at Chaunie Brusie, RN, BSN, at Healthline.com.
However, you know your body best. "If you’re having pain or any other symptoms like fever, increased or abnormal discharge, bleeding, or fluid leaking, schedule an appointment with your doctor," Brusie adds. "Be especially cautious if you are under 37 weeks in your pregnancy."
2. A Light Zing
According to the aforementioned Healthline article, it can also feel like a small "zing" of pain through your crotch that occurs when you move or shift.
3. A Kicking Pain
Another major sign of lightning crotch occurs when you feel a kick from your little one inside accompanied by a pang of pain down there. One of the causes of lightning crotch is the kicking from your baby in the second trimester and beyond. So don't be alarmed if a kick is also accompanied by a short lightning crotch episode.
4. Enlargement & Dilation
"Lightning pain is caused by the pressure and position of the baby as they descend into the birth canal to get ready for delivery" Healthline shared, which means that as your uterus enlarges and cervix dilates, you're going to feel some changes and discomfort. Take comfort in knowing that a sign of lightning crotch is also a sign of progress.
5. Varicose Veins
Mama Natural also explained that you can get varicosities in the vaginal area during pregnancy, which is a major sign for experiencing lightning crotch. Because these veins cause blood to pool in the lower extremities, zings of pain are to be expected as a result.
Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:
Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.