AKA lightning crotch, cooter shooters or shiv snatch – thank you, online pregnancy message boards.
A few people use these terms to describe the (minorly unpleasant) second trimester round ligament pains, but those are a walk in the park compared to real lightning crotch.
Personally, I find it more akin to a screwdriver in your cervix. Because while it is shocking and stabby, like lightning or a knife, it is at the same time twisty and wrenching. And I feel it high up and deep inside my pelvis. If you’re walking, it makes you freeze in your tracks or double over. If you’re sitting, it makes you bolt upright, and in any case it is almost impossible not to yell out, swear or gasp in pain.
It’s super common (and nothing to worry about) but it’s a real son of a bitch. It was happening occasionally for the last couple of months, but towards the end of last week I went through a day or two where it was happening so frequently that every time I moved, I was afraid. It seems to have settled down a bit, but is still happening daily (or more). Nobody knows exactly what causes this third trimester treat – it could be early cervical dilation, the baby triggering nerves in your pelvis, or the baby engaging (dropping) into your pelvis and (head)butting up against your cervix.
The pain is one thing, but the worst thing about it is that it’s pretty confidence killing. You’re thinking, “I can’t even handle these fleeting pains and I’m going to manage to get through a million hours of labour? Right.” And every time it happens, you feel like your husband (who will aggressively deny this) looks at you skeptically like, “oh great…she’s already freaking out and this isn’t even close to as bad as it’s gonna get.”
Somewhat comfortingly, everything I’m reading and hearing indicates that it really does hurt, but it is also really nothing like labour pains. As my friend (and fellow lightning crotch survivor) Kristyn assured me, “no, no, no, labour is a gradual process, not like knives in your vagina.”
So, there’s that.