Health

What is Lightning Crotch During Pregnancy and How Do I Treat It?

Ahh pregnancy. That incredible journey filled with wonder, excitement, and its fair share of mysteries. One such mystery that often catches expecting mums by surprise is the experience known as “lightning crotch.” Sounding like a superhero from a comic book, it’s a real experience for many pregnant women. So let’s take a look at what lightning crotch is, what causes it and how to manage it.

What Is Lightning Crotch?

Lightning crotch refers to the sharp, sudden pains that shoot through the pelvic area of pregnant women. Not only surprising and often catching you by surprise, these pains are frequently highly uncomfortable, with women usually describing them as “electric shocks” or a “zap down there”. That said, lightning crotch is generally considered a very normal part of pregnancy and typically not to be concerned about.

What makes it happen?

Changes to pressure in your pelvic area are the leading cause of lightning crotch as your body (and specifically your pelvic area) prepares for childbirth.

Is lightning crotch a sign of labour?

Lightning crotch may occur throughout your pregnancy on and off but is most common in the last trimester.  People who experience the condition frequently may sometimes find that their symptoms get worse as the baby’s head drops down into the pelvis.

Lightning crotch could be a sign that labour is getting close, however doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an early sign of labour. That said, if the condition occurs alongside other signs, it may signal the beginning of labour.

Signs of labour include:

  • lower back pain
  • nausea
  • regular contractions
  • blood-tinged vaginal discharge

3 Reasons you might find yourself getting ‘zapped’ by Lightning Crotch.

1. Your Baby’s Position

As baby grows and moves around in the womb, from time to time, they may press on nerves in your pelvic area, triggering sudden bursts of pain.

2. Pelvic Growth

Let’s face it. Your body is doing A LOT of stretching and growing to accommodate your baby. Gosh, you’re probably developing vital organs! Not only does this place pressure on your ligaments, but also on your nerves (and we all know how painful that can be!)

3. Hormonal Changes

Pregnancy hormones (God bless ‘em) are released into your body in preparation for childbirth. They loosen the ligaments and joints, leading to instability and pain in the pelvic area. Women often (me included) find that supportive girdle wraps are super helpful in keeping everything ‘firm and in place’.


How to Manage Lightning Crotch

While lightning crotch itself is usually harmless, we’ll never argue it’s not uncomfortable. Pregnancy in itself can be one uncomfortable ride in itself, so all these extra niggles and pains just don’t help, do they?

Here are a few clever tips to help you manage the pain:

1. Rest and Change Positions

Sometimes, it’s a reminder to put your feet up, mumma, and rest! If you’re lying down or seated, switching positions will help to relieve the pressure on your nerves. Being on your feet too much can take its toll, too (we know it’s hard not to sometimes) – just be sure to be kind to yourself and listen to your body.

2. Prenatal Yoga

Prenatal yoga can help to strengthen your pelvic floor, improve flexibility, and reduce discomfort. Just make sure to join a class tailored explicitly towards pregnant women.

3. Warm Baths

A warm bath can soothe sore muscles and provide relief from pelvic pain. Just be careful not to make the water too hot, as hot baths are a big no-no for pregnant mums.

4. Find Some Supportive Gear

Maternity belts or pelvic support garments can help alleviate the pressure on your pelvis and reduce instances of lightning crotch.

5. When to See Your Doctor

While lightning crotch is generally nothing to worry about, it’s always a good idea to mention any concerns to your GP or Obstetrician if it concerns you or keeps happening. If you are experiencing severe pain or pain that lasts for a long time, please ensure you talk to a professional about it.


So there you have it. Lightning crotch – it’s one of the VERY many unique experiences we go through as pregnant women. While it can be uncomfortable and potentially startling, thankfully, it’s usually a normal part of the pregnancy cycle.

Understanding what causes these sharp, shooting pains and how to manage them will give you the information you need to power your pregnancy with confidence and ease. Remember, every pregnancy is different, so what works for one mumma might not work for another.

Stay in tune with your body, listen to its signs and speak to your GP or healthcare provider with any key concerns you may have. You’ve got this!

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Avatar of Belinda Jennings

Belinda's a passionate advocate for community and connection. As the founder of the Mum Central Network she’s committed to celebrating the journey that is Australian parenthood. Mum to two cheeky boys, and wife to her superstar husband, they live a busy but crazy lifestyle in Adelaide. Great conversation, close friends and good chocolate are her chosen weapons for daily survival. Oh, and bubbles. Champagne is key.

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