My vagina occasionally feels like a bolt of lightning is hitting it. What’s up with that? How can I make it stop?

Excerpt from Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

Well, my friend, you are experiencing what’s aptly called lightning crotch. You sometimes feel like you’re getting an electric punch to the crotch

because baby is pressing on or kicking a nerve, or their head is dropping down in preparation for B-Day and pressing on nerves around the cervix. Because of this, lightning crotch (so fun to type!) often occurs in the third trimester.

These bolts of ouch can also be caused by round ligament pain, which happens when the ligaments that support your pelvis and uterus stretch too far and too fast because of an influx of the hormone relaxin. While lightning crotch could be a sign that your body is preparing for labor, it’s not usually a symptom of early labor.

What to do

Make sure you’re getting enough magnesium, as this mineral is essential for nerve function. To discover if you have a deficiency, ask your care provider to order a magnesium RBC blood test. If you are deficient, ask them about the best ways to get the recommended dose of 350–360 mg of magnesium per day. They’ll likely recommend a supplement or eating more magnesium-rich foods, like almonds, spinach, chard, avocados, bananas, and pumpkin seeds.

In addition, spinal manipulation and myofascial release by a chiropractor trained to work with pregnant women, as well as acupuncture, could reduce nerve pain. But get the go-ahead from your care provider before seeking these treatments.

Beyond magnesium and bodywork, you can minimize the discomfort of what one of my friends lovingly refers to as “electro puss” by whipping out those pain-relieving techniques you’re learning in childbirth prep class. For example, taking deep breaths, changing positions to get baby off your nerves, and relaxing your body can alleviate those jolts of pain. In addition, wearing a belly support garment could potentially lift baby off the nerve, or nerves, they occasionally press on.

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