Pregnancy is full of "fun" surprises. While the journey itself can be nothing short of magnificent, there's bound to be a few moments that feel like anything but. From early first trimester nausea to something called lightning crotch, growing a baby can be uncomfortable, to say the least. And if you've ever experienced lightning crotch — a sudden, sharp pain in your vagina — you know it's as awful as it sounds. There are some things that can cause lightning crotch during pregnancy, too, so if you know them, I say try your best to avoid them at all costs. Then again, avoidance doesn't guarantee you'll miss out on this "fun" experience. Pregnancy is full of "fun" surprises, remember?
In both of my pregnancies, I experienced this out-of-nowhere-punch-you-in-the-vag pain, also known as the aforementioned lightning crotch, on a semi-regular basis. What's typically happening when you experience a "strike," according to Healthline, is your body's preparation for delivery. The baby's positioning as he or she descends into the birth canal adds more pressure on the cervix. The good news is that lightning crotch means you're getting closer to meeting your little one. The bad news is, well, it's not called "lightning crotch" for nothing.
For me, lightning crotch was always unexpected (like in the middle of dinner at a crowded restaurant), as if my body was trying to remind me that I was pregnant. And while it might feel like lightning crotch is your baby's way of telling you to get ready for the childbirth pain ahead, it can also be a sign of something more. So if you're experiencing lightning crotch, it's important not to ignore things like a fever, bleeding, abnormal discharge, fluid leakage, or bleeding. And in the meantime, read up on some of the things that can cause lightning crotch during pregnancy:
The Position Of The Baby
Again, the most common cause of lightning crotch is the baby preparing for delivery. Obviously, when that "lightning" happens, there's bound to be some pressure down there. According to Healthline, that pressure stems from either the baby's head on the cervix (i.e. it's almost go time!), or the baby's putting added stress on nerve endings around the pelvis.
The Baby Dropping
Some babies won't "drop" into the pelvis until labor is already underway, while others do it in the weeks before it's "go time." Much like what's already been said, the "dropping" is also referred to as lightning. You can tell it's happened by how much pressure you feel. Dr. William Sears, pediatrician and author of over 30 parenting books, says you might also notice the urge to go to the bathroom more frequently when your baby has dropped. You'll probably also have significant back pain. These signs, along with the sharp pains of baby settling into the pelvis, means labor is around the corner.
The Baby Stretching
Babies move inside the womb throughout pregnancy, but when they're of a noticeable size and weight — towards the end of your third trimester — every movement can become uncomfortable, and even painful. If baby stretches or changes positions, you might feel that electrifying twinge. Fun, right?
The ligaments that stretch from your hip bones to your pelvic bone help support your uterus during pregnancy. Dr. Idries Abdur-Rahman, M.D., a board-certified OB-GYN, tells SELF, "They get stretched as the uterus enlarges, so people can feel a pulling sensation, usually around the hip bones." Dr. Abdur-Rahman adds the pain might even go as far as pulling at the labia (ouch!), but a pregnancy support belt or compression a 'la Spanx can help.
If your baby decides they're most comfortable when resting on your nerves, you're going to feel it in the form of this lightning crotch pain. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to relieve the discomfort, per the website TrimesterTalk.com, such as acupuncture, kegels, a birthing ball, and supportive clothing.
Magnesium helps with proper nerve function, and when your body's trying to do that for two people, you may become deficient. When this happens, lightning crotch can be that much more noticeable, along with muscle cramping and sciatica.
Dr. 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." It's all that wonderful pressure that causes your veins to sort of malfunction.
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