Dr. JoAnn Yanez on KCAA 10/10/18


Dr. JoAnn Yanez, AANMC executive director, joins KCAA’s NBC LA affiliate On the Brink to discuss fertility, pregnancy, infant loss and how naturopathic medicine can help you through each step of the pregnancy journey.

Full Transcript of Interview Below.

Topics Include:

  • The emotional cycle of pregnancy and infant loss
  • The importance of sensitivity and empathy
  • Naturopathic approaches to preconception fertility
  • Naturopathic approaches to post-conception
  • Libido as an indicator of overall health
  • And More…

Erin Brinker: Welcome back. I’m Erin Brinker.

Tobin Brinker: And I’m Tobin Brinker.

Erin Brinker: And we are On the Brink, the morning show on KCAA AM 1050 FM 106.5 and FM 102.3. October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day … Remembrance Month and the remembrance day is October 15th. We have with us to talk about this Dr. JoAnn Yanez. She is the executive director for the AANMC, that’s the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges. She joins us once a month to talk about all issues regarding or around the subject of health.

Erin Brinker: Dr. Yanez, welcome back to the show.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Thank you. Good morning, both.

Erin Brinker: Good morning. I just learned through this prepping for today that there actually was an official pregnancy and infant loss remembrance day.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: This is a topic, obviously, it is and can be a sad one for some folks. I think that it’s a very important part of recognizing, last month we were talking about mental health, before that we were talking about fertility, I just think of this topic as one that a lot of people used to just never talk about, but it was a very personal and sensitive area for them, especially at that time of year when the pregnancy loss happened or if they were trying to get pregnant again. I think it just speaks to the fact that we just so do not know what shoes people are walking in.

Erin Brinker: No. And you know, this used to be, well, something that everybody experienced. Tobin was one of the first babies in the state of Kansas for … his mom used, was it rhogam?

Tobin Brinker: Yes.

Erin Brinker: Because the RH factor did not match. His mom is RH negative and Tobin is RH positive. He posted about that recently and he was surprised by the number of people who talked about losing multiple children because of that issue. It really shocked us to … we didn’t know.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: It is one of those things where if I poll, just even amongst my girlfriends, many of them have experienced pregnancy loss. The data really does show that may pregnancies are lost. Many of them will be lost early on in the first trimester, and that often has to do with viability of the pregnancy or something that occurs either with the fetus or on the mom’s side to make the pregnancy not be able to go full term. The body will just say, “Hey. This is a pregnancy that’s probably not going to work,” and that’s where the miscarriage happens. Many of them will occur in that first trimester. But as the pregnancy progresses, it can be … and even early on, it can be very traumatic for both parts of the couple because it’s something that you’re really, for many people, happy about, excited about. But recognizing that it is a natural part of the cycle, but it’s still very traumatic for many folks.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I think, one of the things I see here in Tobin and have seen with patients is oftentimes when they’re trying to get pregnancy again or are pregnant again, the pregnancy loss will bring up a lot of emotion. It may bring up fear, it may bring up guilt, it may bring up a number of different feelings around this. I’m just thinking of myself recently, I had a pregnancy loss before my son was born. Just recently he asked me, “Mommy, did you ever have a baby in your belly before me?” And I actually said, “I did, sweetie.” I shared that with him and I wasn’t quite sure of his reaction, and he was actually sad. He said, “Oh. I could have had a brother or a sister.”

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I think that it is important for families to process, it is important to understand the depth of how that impacts people as a physician, as folks going through, and what that means.

Erin Brinker: What’s interesting is that, especially if the baby is born … I mean, it passes before being born, sorry, excuse me, I have a frog in my throat, before being born, people are, “Well, just get over it, you can have another one,” or … but that life was a life, that life was a child. That life … you still mourn for the loss of that baby because as soon as you find out you’re pregnant, you start developing love and thoughts about that child, and you’ve maybe named the child. You may have put the nursery together, you may be … probably are making plans. The baby, whether the baby was born or not, you will still mourn when it dies.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yeah. I think, again, just as in any death situation, i.e. grief situation, grief is individual, and you never know what someone’s going to experience. Some people process it one way, and they just understand it’s a part of nature and they may process it that way, other people may process it as a death. I’ve known a patient and friend who, every year on the anniversary of the passing, they are very emotional and sad and grief stricken.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I think we can’t walk in other people’s shoes. We’ll never know exactly how they are going to process that situation or what that is going to feel for them. I think that’s the biggest thing.

Erin Brinker: Right.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: A lot of times when people die or when a grief situation happens, it’s common to say, “Oh, I understand what you’re going through,” or “I’m so sorry. I’ve been there.” Yes, you may have been there personally or you may have had something, but you never know what someone else’s emotional situation is-

Erin Brinker: Right.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: … And what that could mean for them. I think, again, just giving people a safe place to understand that it’s part of this … my passion of helping bring greater awareness for mental health issues and just sensitivity and empathy for the things that people go through, I think that’s the bigger picture here-

Erin Brinker: Right.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Is whether it’s a pregnancy loss or it’s a contemplation of suicide or it’s whatever it is, I think that the more kind we can be to people and the more of a safe place to be able to share and get help is really what we all should be striving for. We will be a better community and a better society for that.

Erin Brinker: When in doubt, be kind.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Bingo.

Erin Brinker: One of the things that … our infant mortality has improved in the United States dramatically, but it’s still not where we would like it to be. I think the key is, you need to, as soon as you find out you’re pregnant or to maybe just to verify the pregnancy is your first time meeting with your physician, you need to start preparing for that baby for your body, meaning you take your vitamins, you get the rest that you need, you eat well. Sometimes baby will just die despite all of that, but you want to give the baby the best chance, and your body, the best chance of having a healthy pregnancy.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: And, Erin, naturopathic doctors actually go a step further. We will start working with the couple, so both parties, on preconception fertility and getting the body as healthy before you start to conceive or start to try to conceive, if possible, sometimes it just happens and things are not always planned out. But if it is a planned pregnancy or plan trying to get pregnant, naturopathic doctors will actually work with both partners to get the bodies as healthy as possible. I know we talk a lot about the female, but it’s also important for male health and sperm motility and sperm health to work on nutrition and other issues as well there. Those are the types of things that, when you’re talking about naturopathic approach, it’s really and truly preventative. We’re working with the body to get the body as healthy prior to conception, and then work with the parents post-conception to create a healthy environment for thriving child, both during the pregnancy and after birth.

Erin Brinker: I keep hearing reports, I’ve heard lots of news stories, about the dramatically decrease sperm counts in American men versus-

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes.

Erin Brinker: … 50 years ago. Are naturopathic doctors working on that issue?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I think, again, we work with overall health. Our goal is a healthy patient overall, and as part of that, in Chinese medicine, in Asian medicine … how many times have you been to a doctor and they’ve asked about your libido?

Erin Brinker: Never.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: In a naturopathic visit, that is a very common question because it’s an indication of a lot of things. If you have enough energy and interest for sex and sexual pleasure, that says a good amount about your health status. That is one question that often will be asked in a naturopathic visit. You’ll get the side eye from patients like, “Wait. What did she ask me about?” But because it is an indicator of your energy, it’s an indicator of your relationship, and it’s an indicator of your sleep, and so many other things that if that is not fully there, that can be a sign that other things are going on. As part of the ND visit, that is something that will be asked about.

Erin Brinker: Wow. Well, as always, it’s a treat to have you on the air-

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Mind blown?

Erin Brinker: It really is. Well, I mean … the modern medicine, I say modern, for traditional … not traditional … with what we consider go to an MD and your HMO, you have your doctor looking at a screen, typing in, I’m sure they’re check boxes, as they’re asking you questions, there’s no … we’ve talked about this that they just ask, “Okay. Why are you sick, why are you here?”

Erin Brinker: Yeah. My mind’s blown a little bit. As always, it’s such a treat to have you with us. We so enjoy you coming on the air with us. Let everybody know how they can find you and follow you, and learn more about the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Sure thing. We are on the interweb, aanmc.org, social media: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, follow us. It is Naturopathic Medicine Week, this week-

Erin Brinker: Oh.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez:  … And so, we’re doing lots of fun stuff all week to support Naturopathic Medicine Week.

Erin Brinker: Oh, that’s great. So, they can go on the website and get all that information?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes, ma’am.

Erin Brinker: All right. Well, Dr. JoAnn Yanez, as always, thank you so much for joining us. We look forward to-

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Thank you.

Erin Brinker: … Our next conversation.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Talk soon.

Erin Brinker: Talk to you soon.

Erin Brinker: All right. It’s time for a break. I’m Erin Brinker.

Tobin Brinker: And I’m Tobin Brinker.

Erin Brinker: And we are On the Brink, the morning show on KCAA, we’ll be right back.

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