There are some pregnancy symptoms that are totally unexpected. Most of us anticipate that we're likely to get stretch marks or have heartburn, but most of us haven't heard of the dreaded lightning crotch. As if the cravings and aching joints aren't enough, there is actually a thing called lightning crotch that can either signal labor is coming or simply hang around for the duration of your pregnancy. How fun! Now that you know you have it to look forward to, these are the symptoms of lightning crotch and what they mean.
The main symptom of lightning crotch is pretty simple: it's a lightning pain through your crotch. There isn't much more to it, except you should keep an eye on your lightning crotch to make sure it's not signaling another ailment. Lightning crotch, or lightning pain, as it's also known, really is just a pain in the crotch. It's a "sharp, stabbing pain that feels like your baby is punching you in the vagina," described OB-GYN Idries Abdur-Rahmanto Self. Sounds like a ton of fun, right?
"It almost feels like a little "zing" of pain, especially when you move or shift or feel the baby move or shift," says Healthline. It can come and go and might actually be quite uncomfortable." But, like many other surprising pregnancy symptoms, lightning crotch doesn't necessarily mean anything is wrong with you or with your growing baby. Instead, it can just be par for the course during your pregnancy.
In fact, lightning crotch can come on at any point in your pregnancy, Mamanatural explains: "Some women have felt these pains throughout their pregnancy, when a swift kick from baby’s foot or elbow hits the bundle of nerves by the cervix." But typically, lightning crotch is something you'll experience increasingly as you close in on your due date, and it can signal that labor is on its way!
Why might you be experiencing this pregnancy symptom? Apparently the main cause of lightning crotch is the pressure and positioning of the baby as they descend into the birth canal to get ready for delivery, as explained by Heathline. The discomfort may also be due to "increased blood flow to that area due to pregnancy and also by the enlarging uterus,” states OB-GYN Dr. Diana Roth. So the silver lining is that all this unwanted pressure can be an indication that you're just getting closer to delivering that baby. The bad news? Don't expect that baby come arrive right away because it can actually still be there for week before you go into labor. Womp womp.
While lightning crotch is painful, it's typically not reason for alarm. But if you're having any other symptoms, like fever, nausea, or bleeding, you should check in with your doctor, suggests Roth. And if you haven't yet met the 37 week mark in your pregnancy, lightning crotch is reason to be more cautious and contact your doctor, explains Healthline.
If you aren't experiencing a fever or abnormal discharge, Mamanatural explains that your lightning crotch might just be your body's normal reaction to "the baby’s movement, round ligament pain, and mineral deficiencies."
Lightning crotch can also potentially be caused by varicose veins forming during pregnancy, which means wearing compression tights might be one way to help alleviate the pain. Self explains, "Your veins usually have valves that stop blood from flowing backwards, but because of all that pregnancy-induced pressure in the area, they might not work as well as usual."
Other ways to alleviate lighting crotch are to add a little exercise to your schedule or to eliminate heavy manual labor if you've been overdoing it due to work or lifestyle. Wearing a support brace or having a pregnancy massage can also help ease the lightning pain as well.
In sum, some crotch discomfort during pregnancy is not that abnormal, but of course if you feel concerned about the pain you are feeling at all, do check in with your doctor.
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