7 Things Lightning Crotch Can Tell You About Your Pregnancy

Ad failed to load

I was late in my third trimester when I felt a sharp pain in my vagina. I had no idea what was happening, it just felt like electricity was shooting at me from the inside. Was I in labor? Was something wrong? Was my baby secretly Storm from X-Men? So, I called my midwife to ask. She chuckled a bit and told me that I was experiencing a common symptom of late pregnancy — vaginal pain — which is sometimes called "lightning crotch." It turns out there are things lightning crotch can tell you about your pregnancy, too. Thankfully, for the most part, it's typically not a big deal. I mean, aside from the pain part, because OMG it hurts.

According to my midwife, my lightening crotch pain was a sign that my cervix was changing. My baby had descended into my pelvis and was literally touching me from the inside, which was exactly what it felt like (if my baby had electricity coming out of her, that is). All of that pressure was causing my cervix to thin and dilate. Unfortunately for me, my body didn't get the memo. Did you know you can be dilated for weeks without going into labor? Yeah, neither did I. Ugh.

For other pregnant people lightning crotch might be a sign of something else. According to What to Expect, it 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. As always, you should consult your health care provider if you have any questions or concerns about your pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), even though some pain in pregnancy is completely normal and to be expected, pain that is persistent, and doesn't go away if you take it easy or shift positions, should always be checked out, as it may be a sign of something serious. So with that in mind, here's what lightning crotch could be trying to tell you about your pregnancy:

Ad failed to load

Your Baby Is Stretching


As nurse Chaunie Brusie, RN, BSN told Healthline, lightning-like sharp pains in your crotch during late pregnancy are generally caused by your baby literally touching you from the inside and irritating nerves inside your uterus. As your pregnancy progresses, and your baby grows, it becomes more difficult for them to stretch or turn without causing you discomfort.

Your Baby Has "Dropped"

For me, my baby dropping meant finally feeling like I could breathe again, but it seems that I traded one discomfort for another. According to What to Expect, when your baby descends inside your body to get ready for their birthday, they can literally cause lightning-like nerve pain. This is due to irritation or pressure on the nerves inside your uterus, which, as OB-GYN Idries Abdur-Rahman, M.D. tells SELF, are located near your cervix.

Your Cervix Is Changing


According to my midwife, my lightning crotch was likely caused by my cervix dilating. As What to Expect explains, what feels like vaginal pain during pregnancy might actually be your cervix changing — thinning out and dilating (getting bigger) to prepare your body for your baby's birth. This happens due to hormonal changes and actual pressure from your baby's head on your cervix.  

Ad failed to load

You Have Varicose Veins

Did you know you could get varicose veins on your labia and vagina during pregnancy? I didn't, until it happened to me. As Peter Ahlering, M.D., an OB-GYN at the Missouri Center for Reproductive Medicine, tells SELF, "There's increasing pressure from the enlarging uterus, so the blood from everything below it doesn't make its way effectively upward as it typically does. That pressure changes cause dilation of those veins." This dilation can cause lightning crotch pain. The good news is that this type of pain can be treated with compression pantyhose, and your varicose veins should get smaller or go away entirely after you give birth.

You May Go Into Labor Soon


For some pregnant people, lightning crotch is an early sign of labor. According to Healthline, if you experience lightning crotch pain with other symptoms — like a back ache, contractions, or leaking fluid — you just might be in labor and should contact your health care provider to see what next steps they recommend.

There's A Problem

Unfortunately, for some women — including me — cervical dilation can take several weeks, or you might be dilated for weeks before going into labor, so lightning crotch pains might not mean that you will have your baby today, or even any time soon.

According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), even though lightning crotch pain in pregnancy is normal, it may be a sign of something serious. As always, it's never a bad idea to ask your OB-GYN or midwife about pain during pregnancy, especially if it's accompanied by other symptoms (like a fever, chills, or discharge), doesn't go away when you change positions, or you think you might be in labor.  

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

8 Things That *Will* Go Wrong Every Time You Plan A Kid-Free Night

The last time my husband and I went out to dinner alone was… actually, I can’t remember. But I can count on one hand how many times I’ve seen a movie in a theater in the last year. Before we had children we used to go out all the time. But even with …
By Liza Wyles

These Photos Of North West Then & Now Will Take You On A Sweet Trip Down Memory Lane

When Kim Kardashian welcomed her first daughter, North West, with her husband, Kanye West, in 2013, her whole life was changed. The social media and reality TV star became a mom for the first time and her Instagram presence took a very adorable turn.…
By Casey Suglia

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

This Is What It Means If Your Pregnancy Test Changes Overnight

The time between when a woman suspects she might be pregnant and when it is confirmed for sure is the longest of her life. Regardless of whether you are hoping for a positive or a negative result, the odds are good that you are sweating bullets when …
By Shannon Evans

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

This Woman Thought She Had An Eyelash Stuck In Her Eye. Then It Moved.

I'm not a person who is easily icked out. As a kid, I collected bugs and thought I was going to be an entomologist and asked Santa Claus for ant farms and nets to catch bees. I'm still super curious about anything that flies and crawls, which might s…
By Karen Fratti

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

11 Ways Your Pregnancy Will Be Different If You Have A Boy Vs A Girl

If you've been pregnant before, you might start comparing your previous pregnancies to that of your current pregnancy. A lot of things can change from pregnancy to pregnancy, based on a whole host of different factors (including how well you remember…
By Lauren Schumacker

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

12 Moms Share How They Stay Healthy During Flu Season

Unfortunately, we're in the middle of the roughest flu seasons in recent memory. And we’re not totally out of the woods, either. People around the country are still getting the flu, and, sadly, some of them are having to be hospitalized due to flu-re…
By Priscilla Blossom

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack