Meet Dr. Amber Moravec, chiropractor!

Moravec AmberToday, we chat with Dr. Amber Moravac, DC, our resident chiropractor and owner of Naturally Aligned Family Chiropractic. We are so lucky to have Dr. Amber as part of our team of wellness professionals here at Health Foundations. Read on to learn more about Dr. Amber and all the good chiropractic care can do for women, babies, kids…and beyond! Where are you from?

I grew up in a small town in southern Minnesota called Le Center.

Where do you live currently?

I live in White Bear Lake with my husband, Andrew our sons Everett and Jackson and our daughter, Ellie.

Moravec family

Can you tell us a little about your educational background?

I pursued my four-year undergraduate education at University of Minnesota Duluth, earning a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education.  I worked for a few years then returned to school to complete my four-year chiropractic doctorate at Northwestern Health Sciences University, Bloomington, MN. One of my favorite parts of chiropractic school was learning about pregnancy and infancy…I’ve loved it from the start!

What do you like to do when you are not helping families?

Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my family and friends.  I enjoy reading, gardening and yoga.

Can you tell us a little about your chiropractic practice?

I am the owner of Naturally Aligned Family Chiropractic, PA. We are located within two distinct and beautiful Minnesota locations and provide chiropractic services: Health Foundations Family Health & Birth Center in St. Paul and Synergy Family Physicians in White Bear Lake.

There are currently two chiropractic providers.  Dr. Amber provides care at Health Foundations Family Health and Birth Center and Synergy Family Physicians and Dr. Emily Ceci provides care at Synergy Family Physicians.

Our chiropractic interest and expertise are in pre/post natal moms, pediatric care, and family wellness.  We connect well with growing families looking to improve or preserve their health.  We do mostly perform manual adjustments (use our hands) but occasionally utilize a few instruments: the drop table and hand-held activator.

You have a unique practice in that you don’t work with insurance. Can you tell us more about that?

Yes, we have a cash based practice, which means we do not bill any 3rd party insurance companies. We believe chiropractic care is different from conventional medicine. Health insurance was designed for expensive medical events or catastrophic occurrences that require medical procedures or hospitalizations. We view chiropractic care and good nutrition as tools to help you maintain your health, keep you moving and keep you out of the hospital. You CAN certainly use your HSA or FSA accounts!

Honestly, setting up our practice like this is a huge bonus to families. We are able to charge much less than other providers and families usually end up paying less than they would if they used insurance. We also don’t have the headache of chasing insurance payments, so we can just focus on what we love: serving the individuals and families in our practice.

How does chiropractic care help women in pregnancy?

In one word…Balance. Your nervous system can coordinate all functions in your body IF there is balance and proper internal communication. I think about it as running with all pistons firing. Pregnancy changes your body in lots of ways—structurally, chemically, and emotionally.

Chiropractic care can help your body adapt to all these changes. Structurally, an adjustment can help you stay moving as belly grows and weight is placed in different areas. Chemically, it impacts the way hormones flow – pregnancy is fundamentally a hormonal event – we need the right amount of each hormone in all trimesters. Being pregnant and giving birth takes an emotional toll on a body. Balance does allow your body to adapt and “be-okay” with those emotions. Although, you’ll often hear me say to give into those emotions and accept them for what they are!

What are some of the most common reasons women come to you in pregnancy?

Well, first I want to dispel a major myth: Pregnancy DOES NOT have to be PAINFUL! It’s true! Sure, we see women for low back pain, sciatic pain, hip pain, and rib pain. But we like to educate our clients to see the earlier signs of imbalance before pain arises (which is often a later symptom that something is going on!). Changes in digestion (gas, indigestion, heartburn, constipation), trouble sleeping, and signs like these can all be earlier indicators that the body is needing some support to come into balance. This is the ideal time for an adjustment!   Don’t wait until you can’t walk!

Back pain and being uncomfortable aren’t inevitable side effects of pregnancy, they are warning signs!   Only 10% of your nervous system is dedicated to pain, the rest goes to keeping you alive. So when the major functions of the body go awry, like sleep or digestion, that is a good indicator that something is going on. Pain is very motivating but we usually get a lot of signs before this.

In addition to helping women feel better in pregnancy, chiropractic can have a huge effect on a woman’s birth. If mom’s body is balanced the baby has optimal room to grow and is more likely to find a better spot in mom’s pelvis before labor starts – that makes for efficient labors.

What advice do you have for expectant mothers?

Breathe! Take these months as a chance to get to know yourself and your body. Feed it well. Move it around a bit. Take time to enjoy the simplicity of your life. I encourage moms to read a few books {on pregnancy and/or parenting} if they want, but don’t go overboard. Read up on the areas you are most interested in, but don’t add stress to your life trying to read it all! Last but not least, don’t be afraid to do things differently than your mom, sister, neighbor, or best friend. If you are confident in your decision others will usually respect you for it.

How can chiropractic help a woman during labor?

chiropractic at birthWe are super fortunate to live in a community where the midwives are really great about knowing when chiropractic support may benefit a woman in labor. I am often called to labors in cases where labor is not progressing, labor is stalled for some reason, or when baby isn’t in the right position. One thing that I think surprises people is that, many times, I spend more time adjusting the laboring woman’s neck rather than her pelvis. While that seems opposite, adjusting the cervical spine is what helps to get the right hormones going in labor so that it can progress optimally.

I enjoy being a part of a women’s labor team, but I’d much rather see mama’s in my office before they get into labor!

How does chiropractic help new mamas?

Carrying a baby on the outside isn't any easier on your body!  It just changes the areas that are stressed.  Many moms feel upper back, shoulder, and neck pain due to increase breast size, looking down, and carrying baby.  After baby is a nice time to get adjusted to fix all things your body goes through in labor.

chiropractic care birthWhat advice do you have for new families?

• Rest, relax and have realistic expectations of yourself and your time. Adding a baby to your life, whether it’s your first or fourth, it’s a big deal! Allow it to be a big deal.

• Take help, food, and gifts from anyone willing to give them. But… be greedy with your baby. Babies need their parents. Nature designed it that way.

• I’ve become better at trusting my mama instincts more with each child. Like most things in life you get better when you practice! Don’t be afraid to assess and change the way you do things as a parent. It always feels like a work in progress.

• You can only make decisions based on the information you have at the time. If you learn something new and “wish you would have known better” don’t be too hard on yourself. You know now.

• Lastly, in the throes of parenting… Days are long…Years are short.

How does chiropractic care help babies?

Chiropractic can help babies adjust to life outside with womb as well as help them recover from the physical process of birth. Babies are sometimes in a position in the womb that creates imbalances we see once they are born. For example, babies are often born with short muscles on one side and long muscles on another given how they were positioned in the womb. This can affect how they latch, how they nurse, how their tummies feel, how they sleep and more. The birth process itself is a stressor on their small body and chiropractic can help bring them into balance early on in the newborn stage.

chiropractic for babiesChiropractic is also really great at each of the major milestones of a baby’s life. They go through so much growth and change in that first year (and beyond!). As baby’s master each new physical milestone: supporting and controlling their own head, rolling, sitting, crawling, walking—a baby’s nervous system is being wired to control and coordinate that part of their body.   We want to make sure it’s being wired correctly. Babies take a lot of tumbles too—think about how our bodies would feel going through the same—they can really benefit from adjustments that help restore balance in their growing, moving bodies.

Chiropractic has other benefits too. For example, research shows that babies who get adjusted have 200% increase in immune function.

Can you say a little about the client education you offer to your patients?

I feel like I spend a lot of time preparing people to get adjusted for the first time in my office. My background is in education and that really comes through. I feel like if people really understand why they are getting adjusted its more effective because they are able to associate the adjustment with something. Plus, when you teach someone how their body works, then we become a better team. They are better able to tell me how and under what conditions they are experiencing discomfort and I am better able to help.

I also teach my patients one or two exercises at each visit—this to me is a manageable amount of “homework” and can really help someone stay in balance or come into balance on their own between visits. It gives them a toolkit, so to speak, for discomfort that may arise at 10 pm one night and it also gives them things to work on that really support their health and their adjustments.

I enjoy talking to families about the things that are happening in their lives and their lifestyles, taking time to educate about nutrition, exercise and things like baby sleep, foods, development, and just life in general!