Like many moms-to-be, pregnancy provided me a whole host of new sensations, aches, and pains. None were as weird and disconcerting as the sharp, electrical vaginal pain I felt in the third trimester, though. When I called my midwife in a panic she told me this was actually a pretty common late pregnancy symptom, aptly named "lightning crotch." Fortunately it's usually no big deal, but there are signs your lightning crotch is getting worse that you should definitely not ignore.
According to What to Expect, lightning crotch 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. And as What to Expect notes, lightning crotch pain can be a sign that your cervix is changing to prepare for your baby's birth. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), if this happens before 37 weeks gestation you might be in preterm labor and need to see your doctor or midwife right away. As always, if you have other symptoms — like vaginal bleeding, or your pain is persistent and doesn't ease up when you lie down or change positions — you should never hesitate to call or even head to the hospital, as it can signal a more serious health problem.
For more about how to tell if your lightning crotch is getting worse, and what you can do about it, read on: