If you're anything like me, pregnancy is full of mysterious, annoying, and often disconcerting aches, cramps, twinges, and pains. It's enough to make even the calmest mom-to-be freak out. My weirdest pregnancy symptom, however, was definitely the sharp, electricity-like pain shooting out of my vagina during my third trimester. My midwife told me I had "lightning crotch" and that it's generally not something to worry about. Thankfully, she also told me there are ways to treat pregnancy lightning crotch, too.
Unfortunately, the best treatment for your pregnancy lightning crotch entirely depends on what's causing it, so you might be in for a little bit of trial and error before you find the right remedy. As Chaunie Brusie, RN, BSN, author, labor, and delivery nurse, explains via Healthline, lightning-like pains in your crotch can be caused by the pressure of your baby's head on your cervix and as they move into position for birth. According to OB-GYN Peter Ahlering, another cause of lightning crotch might actually be varicose veins on your labia or inside your vagina, which can be treated and/or will go away after delivery. What to Expect explains that it can also be a sign that your cervix is dilating to make way for your baby, so while painful and annoying, if this is the cause at least you know the end of your pregnancy pain is in sight.
As always, the American Pregnancy Association (APA) recommends that you call your midwife or doctor right away if you have severe and/or long-lasting pregnancy pain, especially if you also have other symptoms or it doesn't get better after certain treatments. But if you want to try and treat your lightning crotch at home, here's a few ways to do it:
Try A New Position
As Brusie told Healthline, lightning-like pain in your crotch during pregnancy is generally caused by your baby putting pressure on or irritating the nerves inside your uterus, so your best bet for treatment is to find a way to relieve that pressure.
According to the APA, sometimes the best way to relieve pain in pregnancy is to try sitting or lying in a new position, or to go for a walk to see if it shifts baby and gives you some relief. If changing things up doesn't help, you should definitely call your provider, as it could be a sign of something more serious or require medical treatment.
Take It Easy
As Healthline explains, some pregnancy pains — including lightning crotch — might be a sign that you need to take it easy, or that you are moving in a way that might not be working for your body late in your pregnancy. In other words, it's super important to listen to what your body is telling you.
A study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology found that pregnant people who have to bend and twist frequently for their jobs were the most at risk for pelvic pain during pregnancy. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, you may be able to ask for accommodations at work — like a temporary change in duties — if your job is causing your pregnancy pain.
Ahlering told SELF that lightning crotch might actually be a symptom of varicose veins on your labia and vagina during pregnancy, caused by pressure and your growing baby. On the bright side, if varicose veins are to blame, compression pantyhose can help. If they don't, they will likely go away after delivery, which will give you another thing to look forward to postpartum.
Try A Support Band
Healthline recommends a pregnancy support band to treat lightning pain, by literally lifting your belly and taking the pressure off your poor, aching cervix. As an added bonus, the site notes that these bands can also help with other third trimester aches and pains caused by your growing and changing body.
Find Your Inner-Yogi
According to Deb Young and Russ Young, co-owners of the Online Yoga Studio, there are several yoga poses that can help with pregnancy-related pain. One pose they suggest for pelvic pain is Uttana Shishosana, or extended puppy pose. Because you do it on all fours, they note that adding this pose to your routine can literally take pressure off your aching pelvis, back, and cervix, and help with related pain like lightning crotch.
Call Your Doctor
According to the APA, pregnancy pain, like lightning crotch, can be no big deal. I mean, aside from the "lightning-like pain coming out of your vagina" part. However, if it doesn't go away, is accompanied by symptoms like vaginal discharge, bleeding, or a fever, or is so bad you literally can't cope, you should definitely call your obstetrics provider so they can rule out or treat a more serious medical problem.
According to What to Expect, your lightning crotch might mean you're in labor. A whole host of things at the end of your pregnancy can cause lightning crotch, including your cervix dilating or your baby's head irritating nerves as they move towards your cervix.
Healthline recommends that if your lightning pain is accompanied by contractions or other labor symptoms, or happens before 37 weeks gestation, you call your doctor or midwife. It turns out the one surefire way to treat pregnancy lightning crotch is delivering your baby.
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