In the 2nd trimester, as the baby’s size grows, symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD), or pelvic girdle pain (PGP) affects some women.
The hormone, ‘relaxin’ is released in pregnancy to prepare the pelvis for loosening and opening to get ready for childbirth. When the ligaments become too relaxed and stretchy it could get painful.
As you reach your third trimester, something called ‘Lightning crotch’ could be the main reason for pelvic and butt pain.
What is a lightning crotch?
Lightning crotch usually occurs in the third trimester as your body prepares to give birth. The intensity varies on your baby's position, size, and pressure on your nerves. Pain may grow as your baby moves within your womb.
Shooting sensations begin in the crotch and go down the inner thigh. These twinges occur at random but are most likely when you haven't moved in a long time (like while you're sleeping or sitting on the couch).
This pregnancy discomfort is like electric shocks or burning twinges. It lasts for 15–60 seconds. Lightning crotch sensations might be mild or so severe that you double over in pain. You may also feel it in the vagina, rectum, or uterus.
It is an acute vaginal, rectum, or pelvic discomfort that often happens during pregnancy. This crotch pain is abrupt and might make the mum temporarily immobile. Many compare the feeling of discomfort to suddenly being jolted by a bolt of electricity from within, giving the condition its peculiar name. It doesn’t come in a pattern - it is erratic. Lightning crotch tends to occur more often towards the end of pregnancy. However, this symptom does not occur in all pregnancies.
What are the causes of pelvic pain other than lightning crotch?
Stretching, turning, or kicking by the baby during pregnancy might stress a nerve. It may produce acute pelvic, vaginal, or rectum pain. The pain might increase as the kicks grow stronger towards late pregnancy.
Dropping occurs when the baby moves into the lower uterine lining during the preparation for birth. The baby's head may pressure the bladder and pelvic floor, damaging the nerves. Nerve pressure may cause a twinge that may give a burning sensation.
Round ligament pain
Thick ligaments support the uterus. The developing belly puts additional strain on these ligaments, causing them to stretch. A certain action may cause the ligaments to stretch too far or too fast, causing discomfort.
Varicose veins in the vulva may also cause discomfort but are different from lightning crotch, which refers to sharp, shooting pain and discomfort in your genitals.
Pelvic organ prolapse (POP)
When vaginal pressure is intense, it could be a sign of POP. POP happens when organs in or near the pelvis move down, sometimes into the vagina or rectum.
POP is treatable but can cause incontinence, intense pain, and severe complications.
Women who suddenly feel intense pressure, have difficulty controlling their bowel or bladder, or notice that something seems to be pushing down into their vagina, should consult a doctor.
Signs of Labour Pain
Lightning pain is an indication of labour in some women. Some women feel their cervix dilate. If you feel lightning pain and other symptoms like regular contractions, backache, or fluid leakage, you may be in labour. Anyone under 37 weeks with these symptoms should see a doctor immediately.
When to see a doctor?
Pregnancy causes pelvic discomfort. Other reasons include round ligament discomfort, sciatica, or varicose veins. Discuss your symptoms with your doctor to help them make an accurate diagnosis. Be sure to see your doctor as soon as possible if you notice any of these symptoms: dizziness, blurred vision, severe headaches, bleeding, fever, and fluid leakage.
Some women, particularly first-time moms, may confuse intense lightning pain with contractions. Call your doctor in case it is accompanied by backache or blood-tinged discharge, as these signs might mean you're in labour.
How to relieve pelvic pain in pregnancy?
Staying active can assist you a lot throughout your pregnancy. It will help you lose weight and keep your joints open and flexible, which is vital as your baby grows. Concentrate on a mix of exercises that relieve the back, pelvis, and cervix. Try yoga (for example, Uttana Shishosana or extended puppy pose) and stretching exercises, particularly around the hips.
Adapt your workload
A 2013 study found that pregnant women who did heavy lifting or twisting had higher pelvic and lower back pain. So, be gentle on yourself.
Back and sacral massages by a certified masseur or a therapist helps relax the muscles around the hips. Relaxing the muscles helps relieve the pain.
The lightning pain might be challenging to deal with at times. Swimming in the last weeks of pregnancy helps a lot in a trouble-free delivery.
Wear a support brace
Supportive clothing and braces for pregnant women come in many varieties. They help in reducing pelvic and hip pain by providing additional support. They support and elevate your belly, reducing strain on your joints, hips, and even cervix.
Baddha konasana (the butterfly pose) eases the pelvic girdle pain by strengthening the thigh, groyne and pelvic floor muscles.
Pillow between the legs
Sleeping with a pillow between your knees will keep your pelvis aligned and will take the ‘pull’ off your hip and pelvic muscle. One leg will be slightly elevated, helping in easing the pain.
Why do I have shooting pain in my butt in the third trimester?
As you reach your third trimester, your baby's change in positioning can rest on the nerve directly in your buttocks area. This can cause butt pain. You also might feel a burning sensation in your back, buttocks, and leg. However, it does not happen in all pregnancies.
Some women also report shooting pain that extends down the leg. This could be sciatica pain. During pregnancy, the expanding uterus and growing foetus can put pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing a condition called sciatica. People with sciatica often experience pain in the buttocks. In addition, a person may feel a burning sensation in the leg, butt, and back, as well as a sharp pain in the leg.
Try wearing a supportive belly band to reduce the pressure.
Haemorrhoids are swollen veins in the lower rectum or anus: these may also be the culprit for butt pain. Constipation and standing for long periods can increase the likelihood of developing haemorrhoids during pregnancy.