Lightning Crotch Pain During Pregnancy – Cause, Symptoms and Tips

6 min read

Written by Sindhuja Prabhu

Sindhuja Prabhu

lightning crotch pain

Pregnancy brings about numerous changes in the body. A woman goes through many discomforts and pain in the due course of pregnancy. When the time for delivery gets close, the pain intensifies in multiple ways. Have you heard of lightning crotch pain? Did you know that sudden shooting pain in your crotch is not abnormal or unheard of?

Throughout your pregnancy, you are bound to experience the baby moving in different ways. When it is close to the delivery date and the baby has less space to move, you can feel sudden jabs and kicks causing sudden pain. Read on to learn more about lightning crotch and what causes such pain in pregnancy.

In This Article

What Is Lightning Crotch Pain?

Lightning crotch is a sudden intense shooting pain in the crotch area – the area between your legs. You may feel it for a few seconds before it just vanishes completely. The pain is very sudden and mostly intense, that it stops you from doing whatever you are doing. It can catch you completely off-guard.You may feel this sharp shooting pain in the vagina, rectum, or pelvis anytime. It is more common during pregnancy. Yes, even women who are not pregnant can experience this pain in the crotch

Is Lightning Crotch Normal?

Is Lightning Crotch Normal?

Yes, a lightning crotch is very normal and common, especially in the last few weeks of pregnancy. If the pain is sudden, intense, or lasts very briefly, then there is nothing to worry about. You can see your doctor or go for a massage to find relief from the pain. However, if the pain seems to last longer than a few seconds or you experience other symptoms or vaginal bleeding, then it can indicate something more serious. It is important to inform your doctor right away and not try to wait it out or rectify it on your own.

What Are The Causes Of Lightning Crotch?

fetal movement of baby

Lightning crotch can affect anyone at any time, whether you are pregnant or not. If you are pregnant and are experiencing this sudden pain in the crotch, the possible causes could be

1. Fetal Movement

As the baby grows, you will feel their movements and impact stronger. If they were to kick or nudge your pelvic area with their head, the pressure can be intense and cause a lightning crotch.

2. Head Dropping / Fixing

As you get closer to the delivery date, the baby will change positions and get ready to come out. The baby’s head will travel down and reach the cervical opening before fixing/ engaging. The pressure in the pelvis during this time can be intense and cause sudden jolting pain.

3. Weak Ligament 

If the ligaments around your pelvis are weak or over-strained due to the baby’s weight, it can cause ligament pain. The pressure around the pelvis along with this ligament pain can cause sudden shooting pains.

If you are not pregnant but are suffering from the lightning crotch, it could be due to weak ligaments, ligament pain, endometriosis, ruptured cysts, menstrual cramps, or even ovulation pain. In rare cases, its lightning crotch can be a symptom of a UTI or a nerve disorder. Since one can never predict a lightning crotch, there is no way to be sure of the exact cause either. These causes can increase the possibility of a lightning crotch. The intensity, duration, and frequency of the pain will vary from person to person.

Signs & Symptoms Of Lightning Crotch

Each person feels lightning crotch pain differently. Some of the signs and symptoms you may experience are:

  • A sudden intense sharp shooting pain in and around the vagina that lasts for a very brief moment
  • A feeling of many pins pricking you at the same time, around your pelvic area
  • Pelvic pain is stronger than menstrual cramps but does not last long.

When Does It Happen?

baby's head fixed downwards

Lightning crotch can happen anytime, even if you are not pregnant. During pregnancy, as the baby’s weight increases and moves closer to the pelvis, the pressure will also increase. When the baby’s weight rests on your pelvis and compresses some nerves, it can cause a lightning crotch. When the baby’s head descends and engages, the pressure in the cervix can increase. The chances of experiencing a lightning crotch are higher around this time.

Is Lightning Crotch A Sign That You Are In Labor?

No, it is not. While you may experience a lightning crotch when you are in labor, a lightning crotch does not always mean you are already in labor. Lightning crotch in pregnancy happens when the baby’s weight adds pressure on your pelvis and the ligaments around it. If you experience lightning crotch, it is an indication that you may go into labor soon. There is no way to predict how long it will take for you to go into labor after a lightning crotch. It varies from woman to woman.

5 Tips To Help You Deal With Lightning Crotch

pregnant women receiving tummy massage

Lightning crotch can affect you when you least expect it. It can come on suddenly, stay for a while, and vanish right away. Irrespective of the frequency or extent of pain, you may want to deal with this pain instead of ignoring it. Here are a few tips you can try:

1. Warm Bath

Soaking yourself in a warm bath or standing in a warm shower can relax the muscles and ease the pain. Warm water can not only ease the pain but can help you relax and reduce your stress as well.

2. Change Position

The baby’s position might be adding pressure to some nerve, causing the sudden shooting pain. Try changing your position if you are sitting or standing. You can even try a slow walk to ease the pressure. Movement can also encourage the baby to move.

3. Massage

Massaging the area around your pelvis and your lower back can help ease the pain. It can also ease the pressure and give you relief from a lightning crotch. You can opt for regular prenatal massages, to enjoy the benefits while being careful and trusting only a trained professional.

4. Abdominal Support Belt

 Pregnancy belts offer good support to the belly and hold up the weight. This will prevent the baby’s weight from adding pressure to the pelvis, thus preventing lightning crotch to a great extent.

5. Change Activity

If you are sitting for long hours, get more active. Get up from your desk every hour and walk around or do some stretches for a few minutes. Swimming can also help ease the tight ligaments and reduce the pressure on your joints.

Lightning crotch can be very uncomfortable and painful at times too. It can catch you off-guard and even require you to pause all your activities. Sometimes it can indicate labor and other times you can just try changing positions to ease the pressure on your pelvis. If discomfort persists, it is time to visit your doctor.


1. Does Lightning Crotch Mean Labor Is Near?

Lightning crotch can be an indication of labor. However, it may be a false alarm and just the baby putting pressure. It is not necessarily a sure sign of labor.

2. How Long Before Labor Does Lightning Crotch Appear?

Lightning crotch is an indication that labor is near but no one can be sure of when. There is no specific time frame as lightning crotch can happen a few days or even a few weeks before labor.

Sindhuja Prabhu,M.Sc (Psychology),PGDBM

Sindhuja, a mother of two, is an obsessive mom with a keen interest in psychology, especially child psychology. Her quest for knowledge and way with words led her to become a passionate content writer. She transformed her love for writing into a full-fledged career which incidentally also turned up being the perfect stress buster for the last 5 years.Read more.

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