"My vagina!" It's not the kind of thing you want to yell, perhaps, in the middle of a New Year's Eve party, but, alas, pregnancy knows no limits. At least, that was the experience for yours truly as I stood in the middle of a holiday soiree and felt a stab of pain in my pelvic region. Turns out that at 23 weeks pregnant, I was experiencing something called "lighting crotch," a zap of pain in your nether regions that is the result of a shifting little one and growing uterus. But can lightning crotch affect your baby?
"Lightning crotch is painful and unsettling, but completely normal and does not harm the baby," Dr. Natasha Chinn, OB-GYN of Brescia/Migliaccio Women's Health and Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (FACOG), tells Romper in an email interview. "It is due to the baby's position in the pelvis. I usually tell my patients that their babies are literally on their nerves."
Of course, it's all fun and games until lightning crotch strikes while you are standing in the middle of a public situation and trying to stifle an, "Owww!" But what really is this condition?
According to Healthline, lightning crotch is exactly what it sounds like — a shooting pain in your pelvic area. "It almost feels like a little 'zing' of pain, especially when you move or shift or feel the baby move or shift," the website noted. And, yes, the pain can also come and go as it pleases, meaning you might feel an uncomfortable zap at the most inopportune times.
"As the baby grows, the gravid uterus puts pressure on your lower limbs and nerves causing that shooting pain," Dr. Mashfika N Alam tells Romper in an email interview.
While the pain isn't out of the norm, it should be noted that feelings of lightning crotch coupled with other symptoms, like a fever, increased or abnormal discharge, bleeding, or fluid leaking, warrants a call to your healthcare provider.
If you are indeed experiencing lightning crotch, then there are a few things you can do in order to alleviate the pain, according to Mama Natural. First off, movement and exercise can help to balance the pelvis and support round ligaments, therefore decreasing pain. A belly band, acupuncture and/or acupressure, chiropractic adjustments, and myofascial release might also be helpful, the website noted.
The latter was most helpful to me during my own journey with lightning crotch and other pregnancy-related pelvic pain. Myofascial release is a manual therapy that works to identify pain that originates in trigger points, "which are related to stiff, anchored areas within the myofascial tissue," according to Mayo Clinic. During my treatment, the therapist would work to help relax areas related to my hips, lower back, ribs, and, of course, pelvis, in order to make room for my growing daughter. I saw a notable difference in my pain, especially during the last few months of pregnancy.
Curious about what lightning crotch might mean in terms of your pregnancy? It turns out lightning crotch can mean your baby is stretching and growing, which is always a good thing. Experts say the pain might also indicate your baby has dropped or even that labor is closer than you might think.
Again, while the pain is typically normal, the American Pregnancy Association (APA), noted that pain paired with the aforementioned symptoms, as well as a fever and/or chills, means you should reach out to your doctor or midwife. Remember that there is never a silly question when it comes to the health of you and your baby, so you are better off playing it safe.
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