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Herbal Medicine Use during Pregnancy: Benefits and Untoward Effects

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Chapter 7
Herbal Medicine Use during Pregnancy: Benefits and
Untoward Effects
Tariku Laelago
Additional information is available at the end of the chapter
The use of herbal medicine has been on an increase over time. The most commonly used
herbs are ginger, cranberry, valerian, raspberry leaf, chamomile, peppermint, thyme, fenu-
greek, green tea, sage, anise, garlic and bitter kola. The use of herbal medicine during
pregnancy is associated with educational status of women, income level of household and
age of women. Herbal medicines were used during pregnancy to treat nausea and vomiting,
reduce the risk of preeclampsia, shorten labour and treat common cold and urinary tract
infection. Using herbal medicine occasionally causes trouble. Heartburn, pre-mature labour,
miscarriage, increase in blood flow, abortion and allergic reactions are the common troubles
of herbal medicine use during pregnancy. Using herbal medicine during the first trimester
and the third trimester is unsafe for the foetus. Pregnant women should talk to health
professionals before consuming any herbal medicines. The unfortunate consequences of
using herbal medicine during pregnancy need further study for various herbs. Therefore,
clinical trial research should be done to identify unfortunate consequences of herbal medi-
cine use during pregnancy.
Keywords: benefits, herbal medicine, pregnancy, safety, untoward effect
1. Introduction
Herbal medicine has been used for disease prevention and treating ailments worldwide. It is
known that between 65 and 85% of the world population used herbal medicine as their primary
form of health care [1]. The prevalence of herbal medicine use during pregnancy ranges from 12
to 82.3% [2, 3]. Ginger, garlic, raspberry, cranberry, valerian, chamomile, peppermint and fenu-
greek are frequently used herbal medicines during pregnancy [2, 411]. Using herbal medicine
during pregnancy has controversial issues. Even though, herbal medicine is easily available as
© 2018 The Author(s). Licensee IntechOpen. This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative
Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use,
distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
compared to other medicines, the safety issue during pregnancy is a concern. Using herbal
medicine in first 3 months and late in third trimester is dangerous for the foetus. Before using
any herbal medicine, it is better to consult the doctor and the pharmacist to ensure that the herbs
are appropriate and safe to use during pregnancy [12]. In pregnancy, mothers are concerned
about all medications that may affect their health, the health of the foetus, and the pregnancy
outcomes. Availing evidence-based information about benefits and untoward effects of herbal
medicine use during pregnancy is important for safer pregnancy and healthy foetus. The aim of
this chapter is to provide the best available information on benefits and untoward effects of
herbal medicine use during pregnancy. This chapter identified the prevalence of herbal medicine
use during pregnancy across regions and countries. The chapter also identified the commonly
used herbs and described the character of women who used herbs during pregnancy. The
benefits and untoward effects of commonly used herbal medicine during pregnancy are
reviewed based on scientific findings.
2. Herbal medicine use during pregnancy: benefits and untoward effects
Herbal medicine use during pregnancy is common across regions and countries. The preva-
lence of herbal medicine use during pregnancy is varied across regions and countries. Multi-
national study conducted in different countries showed that 28.9% of pregnant women used
herbal medicine during pregnancy [2, 4]. A literature review from the Middle East revealed
that up to 82.2% of the women used herbal medicine at some point during pregnancy. The
study also identified that many women used herbal medicine during the first trimester [5]. An
observational cohort study done in South West England found that 26.7% of the women used a
complementary or alternative medicine at least once during pregnancy. The use of herbs rose
from 6% in the first trimester to 12.4% in the second trimester and to 26.3% in third trimester
[13]. In Australia, 36% of the women took at least one herbal medicine during pregnancy [14].
Studies done in Africa showed the prevalence of herbal medicine use during pregnancy was
between 12 and 73.1% [3, 69, 1519].
The most commonly consumed herbal medicines during pregnancy include; ginger [2, 411],
cranberry [2, 4, 1011], valerian [2, 4, 10], raspberry leaf [2, 4, 1011, 13], chamomile [1314],
peppermint [5, 13], rosehip [13], thyme [5], fenugreek [5, 9], green tea, sage, and aniseed [5].
Eucalyptus, tenaadam (Ruta chalepensis), damakess (Ocimum lamiifolium), feto, omore are also
other herbal medicines used during pregnancy [68]. Garlic [68, 1518], palm kernel oil, bitter
kola and dogonyaro (Azadirachta indica) are other herbs that are used during pregnancy [1518].
Being students, having no education, having low income and having tertiary education level
make women more likely to use herbal medicine during pregnancy [2, 4, 68, 1518]. The other
factors that make women more likely to consume herbal medicines are being primiparas [2, 4, 9],
non-smoking [2, 9] and old age women [1314].
Based on the available researches and literature reviews, the most commonly used herbal
medicines during pregnancy are identified. The benefits and untoward effects of the herbs are
also reviewed.
Herbal Medicine104
2.1. Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Common names of ginger is African ginger, black ginger, Cochin ginger, gingembre, ginger
root, imber, and Jamaica ginger [20].
2.1.1. Benefits of ginger
Ginger is used as anti-nauseant and anti-emetic for nausea and for hyperemesis gravidarum.
The recommended daily dose of ginger is up to 1g dried powder [21]. A single blind clinical
trial showed ginger as an effective herbal medicine for decreasing nausea and vomiting during
pregnancy. This study also suggested a daily total of 100 mg ginger in a capsule [22].
A randomized controlled clinical trial conducted on 120 women over 20 weeks of gestation with
symptoms of morning sickness showed consumption of 1500 mg of dried ginger for 4 days
improves nausea and vomiting. The study also revealed that newborns whose mothers con-
sumed ginger during pregnancy had normal birth weights and normal APGAR score [23].
Consumption of ginger in amounts used in food preparation is likely to be safe. Taking 12g
dried ginger over the course of a day has been shown to relive symptoms of minor disorder of
pregnancy [2426]. Using higher doses of ginger is not safe for pregnant women. Thus, pregnant
women should not use higher dose of ginger.
2.1.2. Untoward effects of ginger
A literature review reported that ginger is not a safe herb. It is a potential abortifacient with
high doses (>1000 mg daily consumption). Higher doses of ginger can cause thinning of blood,
stomach discomfort and heartburn [2427].
2.2. Garlic (Allium sativa)
Garlic is a perennial herb cultivated in different countries. It is commonly used as a food
ingredient and as a spice in different countries [28].
2.2.1. Benefits of garlic
Study conducted on antimicrobial and antifungal activity of garlic showed antibacterial and
antifungal features of garlic make it nutritious to consume during pregnancy [29]. Garlic
enhances a womans immune system; this in turn helps women to have healthy pregnancy and
healthy babies. Eating garlic during pregnancy is important to reduce the risk of preeclampsia
and protein retention in urine [30]. A randomized controlled study was conducted where 100
primigravida were treated with either garlic tablets (800 mg/day) or placebo during the third
trimester of pregnancy to determine the effect of garlic tablets supplementation on preeclampsia.
With the exception of a garlic odour, the few side effects like nausea were reported because of
garlic consumption during the third trimester of pregnancy. Pregnancy outcomes were compa-
rable in both treated with garlic and the placebo group. The study did not report any incidence
of major or minor malformations in newborn infants and there were no spontaneous abortions of
the foetuses [31].
Herbal Medicine Use during Pregnancy: Benefits and Untoward Effects
2.2.2. Untoward effects of garlic
Excessive use of garlic should be avoided in early pregnancy. Pregnant women with thyroid
disorders should avoid its use. Pregnant women should also avoid using garlic prior to
surgery including caesarean as it may interfere with blood clotting. Another untoward effect
of using garlic during pregnancy is that it may aggravate heartburn [32].
2.3. Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon)
There are different types of cranberries: American cranberry, Arandano Americano, Arandano
Trepador, Cranberries, European cranberry, Grosse Moosbeere, kranbeere, large cranberry,
Moosebeere, Mossberry [20].
2.3.1. Benefits of cranberry
Using cranberry during pregnancy is important to prevent urinary tract infection [33], stomach
ulcer [3435], periodontal diseases [3638] and influenza [39]. A survey conducted on 400
Norwegian postpartum women reported that cranberry was one of the most commonly used
herbs during pregnancy, mostly for urinary tract infection [40].
2.3.2. Untoward effects of cranberry
The untoward effects of cranberry use during pregnancy needs further investigations.
2.4. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)
Valerian is native to Europe and Asia and has naturalized in Eastern North America. It has
been extensively cultivated in Northern Europe [41].
2.4.1. Benefits of valerian
Valerian is used as a mild sedative to help patients fall asleep and relieve stress and anxiety.
There is a lack of safety information on consumption of valerian during pregnancy. It is highly
recommended that pregnant women talk to the doctor before taking valerian during preg-
nancy [24, 26, 42]. Study conducted on effect of valerian consumption during pregnancy on
cortical volume and the levels of zinc and copper in brain tissue of mouse foetus showed
valerian consumption in pregnancy had no significant effect on brain weight and cerebral
cortex volume and copper level in foetal brain [43].
2.4.2. Untoward effects of valerian
Studies conducted on mouse foetus presented that consumption of valerian during pregnancy
had significant decrease in the level of zinc in the brain [43]. This finding suggests that valerian
use during pregnancy should be limited.
Herbal Medicine106
2.5. Bitter kola
Bitter kola is a plant that comes from Africa. Africans have been using bitter kola for pregnant
women since ages. Nowadays, bitter kola popularity has spread worldwide [44].
2.5.1. Benefits of bitter kola
Drinking bitter kola is good for pregnancy. Bitter kola contains nutrients and vitamins good for
pregnancy. For Africans, bitter kola is the best supplement for pregnant women. Health
benefits of bitter kola include treating nausea and vomiting, making uterus healthier, strength-
ening pregnant women and normalizing blood circulation in pregnant women. Bitter kola
contains very strong caffeine. One bean of bitter kola contains the same amount of caffeine as
two glasses of coffee. Thus, pregnant women have to drink the recommended dose (one small
cup of bitter kola in a day) [44].
2.5.2. Untoward effects of bitter kola
Using very high doses of bitter kola is not recommended. A very high dose of bitter kola is not
good for the uterus of the woman [45].
2.6. Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)
Fenugreek is an annual leguminous herb that belongs to the family fabaceae, which is found as
a wild plant and cultivated in Northern India. It is a galactagogue [46].
2.6.1. Benefits of fenugreek
Consumption of fenugreek during pregnancy increases milk production in pregnant women.
The exact mechanism of fenugreek consumption and increasing milk production is not well
understood. However, it is believed that seeds of fenugreek contain the precursor of a hor-
mone that increases milk production [45, 46].
2.6.2. Untoward effect of fenugreek
Large amounts of fenugreek may cause uterine contractions, miscarriage or premature labour.
It could affect blood sugar levels, so pregnant women with insulin-dependent diabetes
mellitus should avoid it. It can also cause heartburn [47].
2.7. Red raspberry leaf (Rubus idaeus)
Red raspberry leaf is known as garden raspberry leaf. The deciduous raspberry plant produces
it [48].
2.7.1. Benefits of red raspberry
Red raspberry leaf has mineral rich nutritive and uterine tonic to promote an expedient
labour with minimal bleeding. It can also be used as an astringent to diarrhoea. In a study
Herbal Medicine Use during Pregnancy: Benefits and Untoward Effects
based on two clinical trials, there was positive association with red raspberry use and
astringency in the case of diarrhoea. Daily recommended dose is 1.55g[2324]. Tradition-
ally, red raspberry leaf has been used in late pregnancy to shorten the duration of labour and
to reduce complications of pregnancy. Pregnant women should consult a doctor or a phar-
macist for advice before using red raspberry leaf in pregnancy in a tea or infusion [49]. Red
raspberry fruit is not believed to pose risk to the mother or to the baby during pregnancy.
Some women take it as a labour aid during the last 2 months before delivery, whereas others
take it throughout the pregnancy. In a randomized clinical trial, 192 women at 32 weeks of
gestation received 1.2 g of raspberry leaf tablets twice daily. The study reported no adverse
effects to mothers or infants. The active treatment with raspberry leaf shortened the second
stage of labour and lowered the rate of forceps delivery. A retrospective observational study
conducted on 108 pregnant women showed that 57 women who ingested raspberry leaves
were less likely to have an artificial rupture of membranes or to require caesarean section,
forceps or vacuum birth than 51 controls [5051]. Women have used red raspberry leaves for
painful periods in pregnancy, morning sickness, to prevent miscarriage, easing labour and
delivery and enriching breast milk [52].
2.7.2. Untoward effects of red raspberry
The untoward effect of red raspberry needs further investigations.
2.8. Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
There are two types of chamomile: German and Roman. The common German variety comes
from the flower Matricaria recutita, and the less common Roman variety comes from the flower
Chamaemelum nobile. German chamomile is used in teas and other supplements such as capsule
and oils [53].
2.8.1. Benefits of chamomile
Chamomile is used as a mild sedative and to aid digestion [32]. It has been used for the
treatment of morning sickness [54]. German chamomile is the type used most often as a
medicinal herb, extracts of which have been reported to increase the tone of uterus muscle
[53]. Chamomile does not contain caffeine, which makes it safer for pregnant women, but
there is some controversy over the safety of certain herbs not fully described by the Food
and Drug Administration. There is insufficient information to say for sure whether cham-
omile can cause harm during pregnancy. As with many other herbs, the full effect of
chamomile, especially in association with other medicines and herbs, has not been studied
conclusively [55].
2.8.2. Untoward effect of chamomile
Chamomile may cause increased blood flow, contractions, miscarriage or premature labour. It
can also cause allergic reactions [47].
Herbal Medicine108
2.9. Clary sage (Salvia officinale)
Clary sage is a plant native to Italy, Syria and Southern France and grows in dry soil. The
essential oil is distilled from the flowers and flowering tips [56].
2.9.1. Benefits of clary sage
It is recommended that clary sage only be used from 37 weeks onwards. It may be used to
induce labour if the body is ready to go into labour. It may stimulate the release of oxytocin in
pregnant women [56]. Using clary sage is highly recommended during labour to help contrac-
tions to intensify and become more effective in pulling up the horizontal uterine muscles to
open the cervix and move the baby down into the pelvis and into the birth canal. The simplest
and most common way to use clary sage during labour is to put a few drops on to dry cloth;
the mother will inhale the aroma when she needs it to help herself become more calm and
relaxed during contractions [5657].
2.9.2. Untoward effects of clary sage
Large doses best avoided for concern of potential miscarriage and abortifacient effect [47].
2.10. Anise (Pimpinella anisum)
Anise is known as aniseed. There are two types of anise: anise (Pimpinella anisum) and star
anise (Illicium verum) Chinese star anise [58].
2.10.1. Benefits of anise
Orally, anise is used for dyspepsia, flatulence, rhinorrhoea (runny nose) and as an expectorant,
diuretic, and appetite stimulant. Anise is also used to increase lactation and facilitate birth.
Topically, anise is used for lice, scabies and psoriasis treatment. Using anise during pregnancy
is likely safe when used orally in amounts commonly found in food. There is insufficient
reliable information available about safety of anise when taken orally in medicinal amounts
during pregnancy [59]. Anise used in small amounts in herbal tea is safer in pregnancy because
exposure is relatively low [58].
2.10.2. Untoward effects of anise
When used topically, anise in combination with other herbs can cause localized pruritis. In
allergic patients, inhaled or ingested anise can cause rhino conjunctivitis, occupational asthma
and anaphylaxis [59]. Essential oil and concentrated anise should be avoided in pregnancy for
the concern that they might trigger early labour [58].
2.11. Green tea (Camellia sinensis)
Green tea is mostly consumed in Middle East.
Herbal Medicine Use during Pregnancy: Benefits and Untoward Effects
2.11.1. Benefits of green tea
Green tea is important to regulate blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure levels. It also
speeds up the bodys metabolic rate and provides a natural source of energy. It can help
stabilize a pregnant mothers mood [60]. However, drinking too high a dose of green tea is
not recommended. The recommended dose of caffeine per day is 300 mg [61].
2.11.2. Untoward effect of green tea
Pregnant women who consumed green tea are at risk of spontaneous abortion as shown by the
following two studies. A case control study conducted on 3149 pregnant women showed that
serum paraxanthine (caffeine metabolite) was higher in women who had spontaneous abor-
tions than in controls [62]. Another case control study conducted on 1498 pregnant women
also showed that consumption of 375 mg or more caffeine per day during pregnancy might
increase the risk of spontaneous abortion [63]. Pregnant women who consumed high caffeine
during pregnancy have a chance to deliver low birth weight infants. This is supported by the
following studies. A prospective study conducted on 2291 pregnant women reported that
women who consumed more than 600 mg of caffeine per day are at greater risk for having
low birth weight infants [64]. A prospective study conducted on 63 women also reported that
pregnant women who consumed more than 300 mg/day of caffeine had low birth weight
newborns [65]. Studies showed consumption of high doses of caffeine had increased risk of
stillbirth. A prospective follow-up conducted on 18,478 singleton pregnancies showed that the
consumption of eight or more cups of coffee in a day doubled the risk of having stillbirth
compared with women who did not consume coffee [66].
Even though the above studies are conducted on coffee consumption, consumption of high
doses of green tea can have adverse effects on mothers and their infants. Caffeine found in
coffee and green tea is not very different. Consumption of too much caffeine (more than
300 mg per day or more than eight cups per day) can cause miscarriage as seen by the above
research findings. Consumption of too much caffeine can also cause trouble of sleeping.
2.12. Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
It is known as common thyme, French thyme, garden thyme, oil thyme, red thyme oil, rubbed
thyme, Spanish thyme, thyme aetheroleum, thyme essential oil, thyme oil, thyme herbal, van
ajwain, vanya yavani, white thyme oil [67].
2.12.1. Benefits of thyme
A literature review conducted on herbal medicine use during pregnancy showed thyme is
used to manage bloating and stomach aches. It is also used for treatment of common cold and
urinary tract infection [2]. When used in amounts commonly found in food, thyme has a
generally recognized safe status in the US. There is insufficient reliable information available
about the safety of thyme when used in medicinal amounts during pregnancy [67]. Therefore,
pregnant women should avoid using thyme in medicinal amount.
Herbal Medicine110
2.12.2. Untoward effects of thyme
Consumption of a large dose of thyme has an emmenagogue effect. Therefore, it is better to
avoid it, especially in early pregnancy, because of concern of potential miscarriage [47].
2.13. Coconut
Countries within the Southeast Asian region are rich in coconut oil and other coconut by-
products [6769].
2.13.1. Benefits of coconut
Studies reported that coconut oil has been used to facilitate labour, delivery and prevent
congenital malformation [7072]. Coconut oil during pregnancy can be used as part of a
healthy nutrient-dense whole food diet. Coconut oil supplies rich amounts of saturated fat
with high amounts of lauric acid. The saturated fat content helps to build up adequate fat
stores in pregnancy and in preparation for breast-feeding [73].
2.13.2. Untoward effects of coconut
The study conducted to investigate the effect of virgin coconut oil on mice showed that virgin
coconut oil could affect infant growth and appearance via maternal intake. The study also
suggests the use of virgin coconut oil as herbal medicine to be treated with caution [74].
2.14. Echinacea (Echinacea spp)
Echinacea species came from North America and were traditionally used by the Indians for a
variety of diseases, including mouth sores, colds, injuries, tooth pain and insect bites [75].
2.14.1. Benefits of Echinacea
One clinical trial study shows positive association of echinacea consumption in reducing
duration and recurrence of cold and urinary tract infection [76]. The recommended dose is 5
20 ml tincture.
2.14.2. Untoward effects of Echinacea
The untoward effect of using echinacea during pregnancy needs further study.
2.15. Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
Peppermint is one of the worlds oldest medicinal herbs and is used in both Eastern and
Western traditions. Ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian cultures used the herbs in cooking
and medicine. Peppermint is currently one of the most economically important aromatic and
medicinal crops produced in the US [77].
Herbal Medicine Use during Pregnancy: Benefits and Untoward Effects
2.15.1. Benefits of peppermint
Several clinical trials have shown that peppermint essential oil, a super concentrated form of
herbs, can help relive irritable bowel syndrome [78]. Natural medicines comprehensive database
showed there are no reports in the scientific literature of peppermint being either safe or contra-
indicated during pregnancy. Peppermint leaves and oil are believed to be safe during pregnancy
when consumed in food amounts [79]. Study conducted on use of antiemetic herbs in pregnancy
indicated that peppermint is used for treatment of pregnancy-induced nausea [80].
2.15.2. Untoward effects of peppermint
The untoward effect of peppermint consumption during pregnancy needs further investigation.
3. Conclusion
The use of herbal medicine during pregnancy is a common phenomenon. Different studies have
shown that many women used one or more herbal medicines during pregnancy. Some women
used herbal medicine in first trimester while others used it in second or third trimester or
throughout pregnancy.
The common benefits of using herbal medicine during pregnancy include managing vomiting
and nausea, reducing the risk of preeclampsia, managing urinary tract infection and common
cold, and shortening of duration of labour.
The common untoward effects of using herbal medicine in pregnancy are heartburn, prema-
ture labour, miscarriage, increase blood flow, abortion and allergic reactions.
Different studies revealed that using herbal medicine during the first 12 weeks and the last
12 weeks of gestation is dangerous for the foetus. Pregnant women should consult doctors or
pharmacists before using any herbal medicines.
The untoward effects of using herbal medicine during pregnancy need further investigation
for many herbs. Thus, researches, especially a clinical trial study should be conducted to
identify untoward effect of herbal medicine use during pregnancy.
Antiemetic a drug that prevents or alleviates nausea and vomiting.
Astringent a substance that contracts the tissues or canals of the body, thereby
diminishing discharges, as of mucus or blood.
Emmenagogue increases blood flow.
Abortifacient cause a miscarriage from Latin: abortus miscarriageand faciens makingis
a substance that induce abortion.
Herbal Medicine112
Miscarriage a term used for a pregnancy that ends on its own, within the first 20 weeks of
APGAR referred to as an acronym for: appearance, pulse, grimace, activity and res-
Pruritis itchy skin that makes one scratch.
Anaphylaxis serious life threatening allergic reaction.
Galactagogue milk-producing agent.
Tinctures liquid extracts made from herbs that are taken orally (by mouth).
Author details
Tariku Laelago
Address all correspondence to:
Hossana College of Health Sciences, Hossana, Ethiopia
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Herbal Medicine Use during Pregnancy: Benefits and Untoward Effects
... Herbal medicine use could result in heartburn, increased blood ow, miscarriage, premature labour and allergic reactions (25). Supplementing conventional treatment with HMs may also complicate the care of pregnant women who have pre-existing conditions such as epilepsy or asthma (8). ...
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Background: Indigenous herbal medicine use during pregnancy is a common phenomenon worldwide, particularly in low resource countries like Ethiopia, mainly due to their cost, perceived efficiency in treatment, and ease of access. But so far, studies across Ethiopia are variable and inconsistent and in the study area. Therefore, this study was aimed at assessing indigenous herbal medicine use and its associated factors among pregnant women. Methods: A facility-based cross-sectional study was conducted in public health facilities in the Dire Dawa Administration, eastern Ethiopia, from October 10 to November 10, 2022, among pregnant women selected using a simple random sampling technique. Data were collected through face-to-face interviews using a pre-tested structured questionnaire, and data were entered and cleaned by Epi DATA (Version 3.1) and analyzed using SPSS (Version 22). A P-value < 0.25 at bivariate to select variables for multivariate and ≤ 0.05 at multivariate with 95% confidence intervals was considered statistically significant. Results: A total of 628 participants were included, yielding a response rate of 95.15 %. During their current pregnancy, 47.8% (95% CI: 43.8–51.6%) pregnant women used indigenous herbal medicine(IHMs). The predictors were education level: no formal education (AOR: 5.47, 95%CI: 2.40-12.46), primary level (AOR: 4.74, 95%CI: 2.15-10.44), rural residence (AOR: 2.54, 95%CI: 1.71-3.77), being a housewife (AOR: 4.15, 95%CI: 1.83-9.37), number of antenatal care visits (AOR: 2.58, 95%CI: 1.27-5.25), and knowledge of IHMs (AOR: 4.58, 95% CI: 3.02-6.97). Conclusion: The use of indigenous herbal medicine during pregnancy was as common and widespread as other research done in different areas. The predictors were residence, education level, occupation, number of antenatal care visits, and knowledge. The most commonly used herbal medicines were Lepidium sativum, Vernonia amygdalina, Moringa oleifera, Linum usitatissimum, Zingiber officinale, Eucalyptusglobulus, and Trigonella foenum-graecum. The most common indications were related to gastro-intestinal problems: intestinal parasites, nausea and vomiting, constipation, stomach aches, indigestion, and abdominal cramps. It was recommended that, considering their residence and education level, pregnant women during their ANC visits be made aware of the potential benefits and risks of indigenous herbal medicine, and that more research be conducted to confirm their efficacy and safety during pregnancy.
... Not only tis but some other herbs that are used during pregnancy include dogonyaro (Azadirachta indica), palm kernel oil, bitter kola, and garlic. Higher doses of these herbs may lead to the untoward effects during the pregnancy or may disturb the fetal development [34]. The risk of both early and late spontaneous preterm delivery may be significantly decreased by consuming garlic during pregnancy. ...
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Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a heterogeneous category of developmental psychiatric disorders which is characterized by inadequate social interaction, less communication, and repetitive phenotype behavior. ASD is comorbid with various types of disorders. The reported prevalence is 1% in the United Kingdom, 1.5% in the United States, and ~0.2% in India at present. The natural anti-inflammatory agents on brain development are linked to interaction with many types of inflammatory pathways affected by genetic, epigenetic, and environmental variables. Inflammatory targeting pathways have already been linked to ASD. However, these routes are diluted, and new strategies are being developed in natural anti-inflammatory medicines to treat ASD. This review summarizes the numerous preclinical and clinical studies having potential protective effects and natural anti-inflammatory agents on the developing brain during pregnancy. Inflammation during pregnancy activates the maternal infection that likely leads to the development of neuropsychiatric disorders in the offspring. The inflammatory pathways have been an effective target for the subject of translational research studies on ASD.
... Pregnant women with low incomes are more likely to use herbal medicine than those with high incomes. This corresponds with the studies by [10,25,26] which affirmed that pregnant women who had low income were more likely to use herbal medicines. Religion emerged as a factor in the use of herbal medicine by pregnant women. ...
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The use of herbal medicine is gaining roots in Africa and research works on the theme have attracted attention. In Ghana, research on the theme is limited so needs further interrogation in order to come out with conclusions for an appropriate policy direction to improve its use and efficacy. The study examines the determinants of herbal medicine use by pregnant women in a predominantly rural district in Ghana. It was underpinned by the theory of planned behaviour and a conceptual framework based on the Andersen behavioural framework on use of health services. The cross-sectional design, mixed method approach as well as questionnaire and interview guide instruments were the methodological tools used to gather information for the study whilst descriptive and non-parametric statistical tools were used for data analysis. Results show that the prevalence rate of the use of herbal medicine by pregnant women is quite high and income and religion are the main predictors of its use; and that Moslem pregnant women use it more regularly than their Christian counterparts. Health problems herbal medicine addresses are anaemia, waist pains, nausea, long duration of labour, cold and malaria; and the herbs regularly used are ginger, lemon, neem, mahogany, dandelion, Aloe vera and tea leaves (Camellia sinensis). It was also observed that reasons for the regular use of herbal medicine by pregnant women, among other factors, are that it is rooted in their culture and for its efficacy. The conceptual framework which hinged on Andersen behavioural model and the theory of planned behaviour have reflected in the findings. It is recommended that government encourage the use of herbal medicine through promotion and making it safe and that the World Health Organisation (WHO) must carry out research on the safety and efficacy of herbal medicine to ensure its safe use and effectiveness.
... In their extensive studies on the use of traditional herbal medicines by pregnant women, some authors (Varga and Veale 1997;Cuzzolin et al. 2010;Malan and Neuba 2011;Adatara et al. 2019;Mawoza et al. 2019;Laelago 2019) have consistently mentioned that professional healthcare personnel and medical scientists have often dismissed traditional healthcare practices and medicines as unsafe, harmful or dangerous. The claim comes from the fact that most of the traditional medicines have no scientifically approved dosages and methods of administration. ...
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The introduction addresses some of the pertinent issues at the intersection of religion, culture, women’s sexual reproductive health and rights in the context of the aspirations of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDGs 3 and 5. It provides the basis for a gender analysis of religion, culture and women’s reproductive health and rights. The introduction draws attention to the significance of religio-cultural beliefs in shaping and influencing the sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) discourse from a gender perspective, postcolonial theory and the ambivalence of religion and culture in relation to African women’s health rights. It also discusses the way sacred texts are deployed in the sexual reproductive health and rights discourse, particularly in relation to curtailing women’s rights. It further highlights women’s agency in navigating the religio-cultural terrain in the area of sexual reproductive health and rights. It further questions the scholarly neglect of the topic on religion, sexual reproductive health and rights with a special focus on the youth and also calls for an inclusive study that brings in the subject of sexual minorities within homophobic contexts such as Zimbabwe. The chapter reflects on how religion and culture can be mobilised to promote SDGs 3 and 5 in the context of women’s reproductive health rights. Further, it provides a summary of the chapters in the volume.KeywordsAfrican women’s health rightsGender perspectiveReligio-cultural beliefsSexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR)Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
... In their extensive studies on the use of traditional herbal medicines by pregnant women, some authors (Varga and Veale 1997;Cuzzolin et al. 2010;Malan and Neuba 2011;Adatara et al. 2019;Mawoza et al. 2019;Laelago 2019) have consistently mentioned that professional healthcare personnel and medical scientists have often dismissed traditional healthcare practices and medicines as unsafe, harmful or dangerous. The claim comes from the fact that most of the traditional medicines have no scientifically approved dosages and methods of administration. ...
Full-text available
This volume builds on Volume One of the same book title. In the introduction, we further address important themes at the intersection of religion, culture, women’s sexual reproductive health and rights in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3 and 5. This chapter provides further mapping of the field under study. Focus is placed on how religion and culture shape and influence women’s sexual reproductive health and rights needs which often results in both moral and ethical dilemmas. The embeddedness of SRHR in both religion and culture is viewed in this study as problematic as it restricts women’s choices pertaining their reproductive health and rights. Hence, this chapter engages with literature in explaining the challenges as well as how social media has been deployed in shaping SRHR discourses within the Zimbabwean context. This chapter then provides a summary of the chapters making up this volume.KeywordsAfrican women’s health rightsGender perspectiveMoral and ethical dilemmasReligio-cultural beliefsSexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR)Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
... However, experimental studies on animals showed embryotoxic effects of Ruta chalepensis [23] and Zingiber officinale [24,25]. Additionally, pregnant women should avoid the use of garlic (Allium sativum) prior to surgery including caesarean section due to its anti-hemostatic effect which can lead to excessive bleeding [22,26]. There is no pregnancy related safety data on Ocimum lamiifolium. ...
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Background Herbal medicines are widely used in the world especially in developing countries. Pregnant women use herbal products to treat pregnancy related illnesses due to prior experience of herbal medicine use and easy accessibility of the products with less cost. However, herbal products could affect fetal growth and contribute to maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality. Herbal drug use during pregnancy is not well studied in Ethiopia specifically in northeast Ethiopia. Methods A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 254 pregnant women on antenatal care follow-up at Dessie referral hospital. Semi-structured questionnaires were used for data collection. After collection, data were coded, entered and analyzed by SPSS version 20. Chi squared test and Logistic regression were used to evaluate the association between dependent and independent variables. Result Among the total of 254 respondents, 130 (51.2%) used herbal drugs during current pregnancy. The most commonly mentioned reason for herbal drug use was “herbal medicines are accessible without prescription” (43.1%). The herbal medicines used were Ginger ( Zingiber officinale Roscoe) (43.8%), followed by Garlic ( Allium sativum L.) (23.8%), Damakese ( Ocimum lamiifolium Hochst. ex Benth.) (21.5%) and Tena-adam ( Ruta chalepensis L.) (10.8%). The indications for herbal drug use were nausea/vomiting (43.8%), headache (30.8%) and common cold (25.4%). The most commonly mentioned sources of information on herbal medicine were families and friends (80.0%) followed by neighbors (12.3%), and the most commonly cited sources of herbal products were market (67.7%) and self-preparation (20.0%). Being illiterate or having only primary school education (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR]: 3.717, 95% CI: 0.992-13.928), having secondary school education background (AOR: 3.645, 95% CI: 1.394-9.534), and poor monthly income (AOR: 7.234, 95% CI: 2.192-23.877) were the variables that showed significant association with herbal drug use during current pregnancy. Conclusion This study showed that half of the sampled pregnant women used herbal medicine during current pregnancy, and education status and monthly income level of the women were associated with herbal drug use.
... Herbal treatments are chosen over contemporary medicine because they are thought to be safer for the unborn child (John and Shantakumari, 2015). Ginger, cranberry, raspberry leaf, chamomile, peppermint, thyme, green tea, sage, anise, garlic, and aloe vera are the most commonly used herbs (Laelago, 2018). The prevalence of utilization of herbal medicine during pregnancy fluctuates according to region, ethnicity, educational and socioeconomic status (El Hajj and Holst, 2020). ...
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Background Pregnancy-related illnesses are commonly treated by herbal medicines in our country as well as around the world. Objectives The purpose of this study was to find out how common herbal use is among Bangladeshi pregnant women, what factors influence it, and how it affects pregnancy outcomes. Methods Random sampling was done among women who gave birth between July and September 2021 in the maternity ward of an NGO-based clinic and were requested to participate in the face-to-face questionnaire-based survey. Results 275 women (71.80%) out of 383 used herbs during their pregnancy. Only 27.42% of women who used herbs informed their doctors, and 91.03% of users reported no side effects. Most users thought that herbs were safer than allopathic medications (71.8%). The ground behind the choosing herb was suggestion from family members or self-medication (34.73% and 31.83%, respectively). Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) (73.10%), lemon (Citrus limon L. Burm. F) (71.27%), black seed (Nigella sativa) (66.55%), mustard oil (Brassica Juncea Mane Kancor) (65.45%), and prune (Prunus domestica) (41.45%) were the most widely utilized herbs. The majority of women used herbs on a daily basis. There were statistically significant differences in several socio-demographic characteristics and pregnancy outcomes between herb users and non-users. Conclusions The usage of herbs throughout pregnancy is quite prevalent amid Bangladeshi womenfolk, according to this study. Herbs appear to be safe when used often during pregnancy. Furthermore, physicians or medical practitioners have to play a vital role in ensuring the safe usage of herbs among pregnant women.
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Objective To assess the prevalence of harmful traditional practices during pregnancy and associated factors in Southwest Ethiopia. Design A community-based cross-sectional study. Setting Southwest Ethiopia. Participants 667 women who were pregnant at the time of the study or gave birth 2 years prior to the study have participated. Outcome of the study Harmful traditional practices during pregnancy (yes/no). Harmful traditional practices during pregnancy include abdominal massage, herbal intake or food taboos done on/by pregnant women without health professionals’ instruction. Results The prevalence of harmful traditional practices in the study area was 37%, 95% CI (33.4% to 40.8%). The most commonly practised activities were abdominal massage (72.9%), intake of herbs (63.9%) and food taboos (48.6%). Monthly income (AOR=3.13, 95% CI (1.83 to 5.37), p<0.001), having had no history of child death (AOR=2.74, 95% CI (1.75 to 4.29), p<0.001), women with no formal education (AOR=4.81, 95% CI (2.50 to 9.23), p<0.001), women who had antenatal care (ANC) visits during their last pregnancy (AOR=0.24, 95% CI (0.10 to 0.59), p=0.002) and being multipara (AOR=0.47, 95% CI (0.27 to 0.80), p=0.003) were significantly associated with harmful traditional practices during pregnancy. Conclusion Our study showed that more than one-third of women in Southwest Ethiopia practised harmful traditional practices while they were pregnant. The practices were more common among primiparas, women who had lower educational and financial status, women with no ANC visits, and women with no history of child death. Health education should be given to the community about the complications of harmful traditional practices during pregnancy.
Managing pregnancy from conception to delivery is a complex healthcare matter that has always involved African traditional practitioners since time immemorial. Unfortunately, the colonial occupation of many African countries saw the introduction of Western or clinical (allopathic) healthcare systems that pushed traditional methods and medicines to the periphery. To date, however, herbal medicines and traditional medical practices are still serving the healthcare needs of several persons across the world, especially those in developing countries experiencing socio-economic challenges. Admittedly, traditional medical practices and medicines have remained resilient because Africans have continued using them owing to a number of factors such as the high cost of Western medicines, inadequate medical equipment and personnel as well as difficulties in accessing clinics and hospitals. For pregnant women living in rural areas in Zimbabwe, the challenges are compounded by poor communication infrastructure such as road networks. Hence, traditional medicines and practices have remained their lifeline. This study focuses on the rural Ndau women’s wisdom in the management of pregnancies and how this can contribute to Sustainable Development Goals 3 and 5. These focus on women’s access to health and gender equality. The main purpose of the study is to explore the traditional practice of kunasira njira (preparation for childbirth) as an alternative to the Western management of pregnant women in rural Chipinge communities. An auto-ethnographic, descriptive and contextual research design was used to inform the study. The study revealed that the use of traditional medicines during pregnancy has always demonstrated Ndau women’s wisdom in managing health and well-being. It also emerged that, besides being readily available, the use of traditional medicines is believed to prevent miscarriage, ensure proper growth of the foetus, protect the pregnant woman against evil spirits and prevent early childhood illnesses, among other benefits. It is important to take stock of how indigenous medicines and practices are contributing to women’s health and gender equality.KeywordsKunasira njira (preparation for childbirth)Ndau womenTraditional medicinesWisdomSustainable Development Goals 3 and 5Zimbabwe
Saffron is traditionally used in some developing countries for abortion. This study was aimed to investigate the effects of saffron aqueous extract and crocin, as one of its constituents, on the secretion of reproductive hormones in pregnant rats. The alteration of reproductive hormones was assayed in the early, middle, and late stages of pregnancy following the administration of different doses of saffron aqueous extract and crocin. Compared to the control group of each stage of pregnancy, the administration of an aqueous extract of saffron reduced estradiol levels in the early and late stages of pregnancy. A high dose of saffron extract in the middle and late stages of pregnancy and crocin in the late stages of pregnancy increased FSH serum levels. Saffron extract in the early stages and crocin in the late stages of pregnancy increase LH levels in a dose-dependent manner. The saffron extract reduces serum progesterone in all three stages of pregnancy. The current study indicated that the abortion effect of saffron is commonly exerted in the early and late stages of pregnancy. In addition, crocin has fewer effects on pregnancy than saffron and can only affect pregnant rats at high doses in the late stages of pregnancy.
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Background Improving maternal and child health is one of the public health priorities in several African countries including Ethiopia. However, research on herbal medicine use during pregnancy is scarce in Ethiopia. The present study aimed at assessing the prevalence and correlates of herbal medicine use among pregnant women on antenatal care (ANC) follow-up at Gondar university referral hospital, Ethiopia Methods An institutional-based cross sectional study was conducted on 364 pregnant women attending ANC clinic from March to May 2016 at University of Gondar referral and teaching hospital, northwest Ethiopia. Data on socio-demography, pregnancy related information as well as herbal medicine use was collected through an interviewer-administered questionnaire. Descriptive statistics, univariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis were performed to determine prevalence and associated factors of herbal medicine use. ResultsFrom 364 respondents, 48.6% used herbal medicine during current pregnancy. ginger (40.7%) and garlic (19%) were the two most commonly used herbs in pregnancy. Common cold (66%) and inflammation (31.6%) were the most common reasons for herbal use. Majority of herbal medicine users (89.8%) had not consulted their doctors about their herbal medicine use. Rural residency (Adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 3.15, Confidence interval (CI): 1.17–6.14), illiteracy (AOR: 4.05, CI: 2.47–6.62) and average monthly income less than 100 USD (AOR: 3.08CI: 1.221–7.77) were found to be strong predictors of herbal medicine use. Conclusions The use of herbal medicine during pregnancy is a common practice and associated with residency, level of education and average monthly income. From the stand point of high prevalence and low disclosure rate, the health care providers should often consult pregnant women regarding herbal medicine use.
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Background Coconut oil is commonly used as herbal medicine worldwide. There is limited information regarding its effects on the developing embryo and infant growth. Methods We investigated the effect of virgin coconut oil post-natally and until 6 weeks old in mice (age of maturity). Females were fed with either standard, virgin olive oil or virgin coconut oil diets 1 month prior to copulation, during gestation and continued until weaning of pups. Subsequently, groups of pups borne of the respective diets were continuously fed the same diet as its mother from weaning until 6 weeks old. Profiles of the standard and coconut oil diets were analysed by gas chromatography flame ionization detector (GCFID). ResultsAnalysis of the mean of the total weight gained/ loss over 6 weeks revealed that in the first 3 weeks, pups whose mothers were fed virgin coconut oil and virgin olive oil have a significantly lower body weight than that of standard diet pups. At 6 weeks of age, only virgin coconut oil fed pups exhibited significantly lower body weight. We report that virgin coconut oil modifies the fatty acid profiles of the standard diet by inducing high levels of medium chain fatty acids with low levels of essential fatty acids. Furthermore, pups borne by females fed with virgin coconut oil developed spiky fur. Conclusion Our study has demonstrated that virgin coconut oil could affect infant growth and appearance via maternal intake; we suggest the use of virgin coconut oil as herbal medicine to be treated with caution.
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Background According to World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, 80 % of the population living in rural areas in developing countries depends on traditional medicine for their health needs, including use during pregnancy. Despite the fact that knowledge of potential side effects of many herbal medicines in pregnancy is limited and that some herbal products may be teratogenic, data on the extent of use of herbal medicines by women during pregnancy in the study setting is largely unknown. We determined the prevalence and factors associated with herbal medicine use during pregnancy among women attending postnatal clinics in Gulu district, Northern Uganda. Methods This was a descriptive cross-sectional study which involved 383 women attending postnatal care across four sites in Gulu district using quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection. A structured questionnaire was used to collect quantitative data while qualitative data were obtained using focus group discussions and key informant interviews. The selection of the study participants was by systematic sampling and the main outcome variable was the proportion of mothers who used herbal medicine. Quantitative data was coded and entered into a computerized database using Epidata 3.1. Analysis was done using Statistical Package for Social Scientists version 13, while thematic analysis was used for qualitative data. Results The prevalence of herbal medicines use during the current pregnancy was 20 % (78/383), and was commonly used in the second 23 % (18/78) and third 21 % (16/78) trimesters. The factors significantly associated with use of herbal medicines during pregnancy were perception (OR 2.18, CI 1.02-4.66), and having ever used herbal medicines during previous pregnancy (OR 2.51, CI 1.21-5.19) and for other reasons (OR 3.87, CI 1.46-10.25). Conclusions The use of herbal medicines during pregnancy among women in Gulu district is common, which may be an indicator for poor access to conventional western healthcare. Perception that herbal medicines are effective and having ever used herbal medicines during previous pregnancy were associated with use of herbal medicines during current pregnancy. This therefore calls for community sensitization drives on the dangers of indiscriminate use of herbal medicine in pregnancy, as well as integration of trained traditional herbalists and all those community persons who influence the process in addressing the varied health needs of pregnant women.
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Background The use of herbal medicines for health prevention and ailments is an increasing trend worldwide. Women in pregnancy are no exception; the reported prevalence of herbal medicine use in pregnancy ranges from 1 to 60 %. Despite a common perception of safety, herbal medicines may have potent pharmacological actions, and historically, have been used for this reason. MethodsA multinational, cross-sectional study on how women treat disease and pregnancy-related health ailments was conducted between October 2011 and February 2012 in Europe, North America, and Australia. This study’s primary aim was to evaluate and classify the herbal medicines used according to their safety in pregnancy and, secondly, to investigate risk factors associated with the use of contraindicated herbal medicines during pregnancy. ResultsIn total, 29.3 % of the women (n = 2673) reported the use of herbal medicines in pregnancy; of which we were able to identify 126 specific herbal medicines used by 2379 women (89.0 %). Twenty seven out of 126 herbal medicines were classified as contraindicated in pregnancy, and were used by 476 women (20.0 %). Twenty-eight were classified as safe for use in pregnancy and used by the largest number of women (n = 1128, 47.4 %). The greatest number was classified as requiring caution in pregnancy; these sixty herbal medicines were used by 751 women (31.6 %). Maternal factors associated with the use of contraindicated herbal medicines in pregnancy were found to be working in the home, having a university education, not using folic acid, and consuming alcohol. Interestingly, the recommendation to take a contraindicated herbal medicine was three times more likely to be from a healthcare practitioner (HCP) than an informal source. Conclusion Based on the current literature the majority of women in this study used an herbal medicine that was classified as safe for use in pregnancy. Women who reported taking a contraindicated herb were more likely to have been recommended it use by an HCP rather than informal source(s), indicating an urgent need for more education among HCPs. The paucity of human studies on herbal medicines safety in pregnancy stands in stark contrast to the widespread use of these products among pregnant women.
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A r t i c l e I n f o Herbal Medicine use even in pregnancy around the world has been on the increase despite widely reported dearth in information on safety of Herbs during pregnancy. This is to determine the prevalence and pattern of use of herbal medicines among pregnant women and nursing mothers who attended clinics in a tertiary hospital in SouthEast , Nigeria. This is a cross-sectional descriptive study of 500 pregnant and nursing mothers who were attending clinics in a tertiary hospital in Imo State, South East, Nigeria. A semi structured, pretested, interviewer administered questionnaire was used to collect information from participants and the systematic random sampling technique was used to select the study participants. Despite a generally high awareness (98.89%) about herbs noticed in this study, the prevalence of use during pregnancy was high (36.8%) with higher proportion of utilization recorded in the second (44.0%) and first (28.3%) trimesters of pregnancy. Majority of them (90.2%) used at least two or more types of herb during pregnancy and the common herbs used were; Bitter leaf (Vernonia amygdalina), palm kernel oil, bitter kola, dogonyaro (Azadirachta indica) and garlic. The main reasons for use were; to alleviate pregnancy symptoms, (59.2%), and to treat malaria, (52.2%). Utilization was affected by attitude (p=0.004) and level of knowledge (p=0.000) of participants towards herbal medicine. The prevalence of herbal medicine use was high among our study participants so there is need to institute appropriate control measures by the relevant authorities to deal with this problem.
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Background: The use of herbal medicine has been on increase in many developing and industrialized countries. More pregnant women use herbal remedies to treat pregnancy related problems due to cost-effectiveness of therapy and easy access of these products. We sought to assess the prevalence of herbal medicine use and associated factors among pregnant women attending antenatal clinics of public health facilities. Methods: Facility based cross sectional study was conducted among 363 pregnant women attending antenatal clinics from May to June 2015 at public health facilities in Hossana town, Hadiya zone, Southern Ethiopia. Pretested structured questionnaire was used to collect data from each study subject. Bivariate logistic regression analysis was used to see significance of association between the outcome and independent variables. Odds ratios at 95 % CI were computed to measure the strength of the association between the outcome and the independent variables. P-value <0.05 was considered as a statistically significant in multivariate analysis. Result: Two hundred fifty eight (73.1 %) of pregnant women used herbal medicine during current pregnancy . The herbal medicines commonly taken during current pregnancy were ginger (55.8 %), garlic (69.8 %), eucalyptus (11.6 %), tenaadam (rutachalenssis) (26.4 %), damakesse (ocimumlamiifolium) (22.8 %), feto (3.5 %) and omore (3.1 %). Being students (AOR: (5.68, 95 % CI: (1.53, 21.13), second trimester of pregnancy (AOR: 0.22, 95 % CI: (0.08, 0.76), sufficient knowledge on herbal medicine (AOR: 0.37, 95 % CI: (0.19, 0.79), no formal education (AOR: 4.41, 95 % CI: (1.11, 17.56), primary education (AOR: 4.15, 95 % CI: (1.51, 11.45) and secondary education (AOR: 2.55, 95 % CI: (1.08,6.03) were significantly associated with herbal medicine use. Conclusion: The findings of this study showed that herbal medicine use during pregnancy is a common experience. Commonly used herbal medicines during current pregnancy were garlic, ginger, tenaadam, damakasse and eucalyptus. Educational status, occupation, knowledge on herbal medicine and second trimester of pregnancy were the major factors affecting use of herbal medicine. Health education about the effects of herbal medicine on pregnancy should be given during antenatal care sessions and through media. Health care providers, especially those that are involved in antenatal care should aware of evidence regarding potential benefits or harm of herbal medicinal agents when used by pregnant women.
Using caffeine while pregnant reportedly increases the risk of both spontaneous abortion and low birth weight. Caffeine augments catecholamine release from the renal medulla, possibly causing constriction of uteroplacental vessels and consequent fetal hypoxia. It also is possible that caffeine directly affects the fetal cardiovascular system, resulting in tachycardia and other arrhythmias. This prospective follow-up study sought information on coffee drinking from 18,478 women bearing singleton pregnancies. Participants completed questionnaires before their first antenatal visit, at approximately 16 weeks' gestation. The overall risk of stillbirth (defined as delivery of a dead fetus at 28 weeks' gestation or later) was 4.4 per 1000, and the risk of infant death during the first year of life was 4.0 per 1000. Stillbirths increased with the number of cups of coffee drank each day during pregnancy. Compared with those drinking no coffee, women drinking 4-7 cups a day had an 80% increased risk of stillbirth, and those drinking 8 or more cups, a 300% increase in risk. Similar results were obtained when nonsmokers, women using little or no alcohol, and primiparous women were analyzed separately. Women with a high coffee intake were also relatively likely to smoke and to drink more alcohol. In addition, they were older, more often multiparous, more frequently single, and had fewer years of education. The risk of infant death was more than doubled for women drinking 8 or more cups of coffee a day, but there was no significant association after adjusting for smoking status. Stillbirths were clearly associated with high levels of coffee consumption during pregnancy in this prospective study, but no single correlate was apparent that could explain this relationship. No significant association with infant deaths was evident.
"Women's Health in Complementary and Integrative Medicine is a new resource that takes an evidence-based approach to complementary and integrative medicine in women's health - examining when, how, and for whom these therapies can be effective."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved This book covers the most common areas of concern in women's health. It provides a truly integrative approach, showing when, how, and for whom complementary/integrative therapies can benefit women in continuity with their regular medical care. This is an evidence-based, clinically-oriented book that presents the background and range of complementary and alternative therapies related to common medical conditions and functional complaints and disorders. It summarizes and analyzes scientific studies on the safety and efficacy of these therapies for various women's health conditions. Each chapter includes a description of commonly used treatments, discussions of safety issues (including adverse effects and drug interactions), a comprehensive summary and methodological assessment of clinical trials on the subject (with animal and in vitro data included as appropriate), and advice on counseling patients. Provides a clear review of the scientific evidence relating complementary and integrative medicine to the care of women. Offers a roadmap to the options in the treatment of women with complementary and integrative medicine - expanding the clinician's practice, whatever their specialty, with realistic possibilities. Features comprehensive coverage of safety issues. Written by leading experts in the field. Sidebars within each chapter provide at-a-glance advice for patients and practitioners. Includes key coverage of non-gynecologic issues such as nutrition, headache, depression, cancer, and heart disease. Offers comprehensive coverage of commonly used treatments and related safety issues, such as possible adverse effects and drug interactions, plus a helpful appendix on Botanical Products. A focused table of contents makes it easy to find the right treatment for each patient based on their condition. Features advice on talking with patients about self-treatments they may have read about in books or on the Internet.
The prevalence of the herbal medicines use is on the rise across the world, especially amongst pregnant women. The scenario in the Middle Eastern region was reviewed to explore the prevalence, usage pattern, motivation, and attitude towards use of herbal medicine by pregnant women. Literature published up to December 2012 showed the prevalence of herbal medicine use varied between 22.3-82.3%, implying a rising trend in the utilization of herbal medicine during pregnancy. The most common herbs used were peppermint, ginger, thyme, chamomile, sage, aniseed, fenugreek, and green tea. The most common reasons for use included the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders and cold and flu symptoms. The majority of women used these products during their first trimester, and did not reveal this information to their physician. Most women were advised by family and friends to use herbal medicines and believed they were more effective and had fewer side effects than modern medicine especially during pregnancy. In conclusion, the use of herbal medicine is prevalent among pregnant women in the Middle Eastern region and healthcare providers need to seek information pertaining to their use.