By Dr. Andrea Wick, D.C. EBS Health Columnist

Pregnancy can come with complications and discomfort. However, there are approaches a woman can take to make for an easier and safer birth.

During pregnancy, hormones, such as relaxin, cause a woman’s center of gravity to shift forward which increases laxity of joints and pelvic misalignment. This can result in low back and pubic bone pain, and hip discomfort. These misalignments can have a detrimental effect on the overall nervous system. Misalignment of the pelvis, and specifically the sacrum, can limit the amount of room a growing baby has to move inside the placenta. This can result in a frank breech presentation, meaning the baby’s bottom is down, but his legs are straight up with his feet near his head.

Round ligaments connect the mother’s uterus to the pelvis. As the baby grows, the round ligaments that connect the mother’s uterus to the pelvis become even more important in helping the baby grow. The uterus is supposed to take on a pear sized shape, but if the pelvis is misaligned this will pull on the ligaments causing torsion of the uterus, making it more difficult for the baby to grow and move in-utero.

A specific adjustment called “Webster Technique” can be applied to the low back and effleurage (or massage) of the round ligaments. This helps loosen and rebalance the uterus, allowing the baby the room it needs to move freely. This may result in a normal head down presentation and relieve low back pain. Breech baby presentations ultimately result in a C-section.

Misalignment of the pelvis may also contribute to torticollis, a condition where the baby’s neck muscles contract and cause the head to twist to one side.

The intention of these natural treatments is to lower the risk of having to turn to more serious procedures such as C-section, or induction via pitocin, forceps or vacuum extraction.

Pregnant and postpartum patients of mine have stated that chiropractic treatment has helped relieve low back, hip and sciatic pain, as well as nausea and heartburn. Adjustments can also help alleviate labor pains and facilitate the ease of delivery. Neuro-emotional Technique, a method that specifically addresses emotional stress, can assist in the release of stress and fear relating to labor and childbirth.

Exercising during pregnancy can also make for an easier labor, while helping maintain healthy weight. Only an additional 300 calories need to be consumed during pregnancy—it is a myth that a pregnant woman needs to eat for two.

When it comes to diet, research shows that staying away from excess sugar can decrease the risk of allergies for your child. A study of 9,000 mothers and children in London concluded that women who had high intakes of sugar and fructose corn syrup during pregnancy increased the child’s risk of becoming allergic to two or more allergens by 73 percent. Women who ate large amounts of sugar were also twice as likely to have children who developed allergic asthma.

Women are becoming increasingly empowered about the option to have a natural birth. It is exciting to live in a time that supports women in their pursuit of becoming their highest selves while embracing the immense capabilities and beauty of the female body.

Dr. Andrea Wick is a chiropractor and applied kinesiologist. She graduated from Life University in Marietta, Georgia, and now practices in Big Sky. She has a passion for holistic health care and being active in the outdoors. Her practice, Healing Hands Chiropractic, is located in the Meadow Village Center. Visit drandreawick.com to learn more.