News Brief

Expectant Mothers Turn to CAM

A survey taken in an Australian hospital indicates that many expectant mothers turn to alternative medicine during pregnancy to ease morning sickness, reflux, headaches or back pain, aid sleep, and reduce stress.

The seven-week study of 48 women (ages 20-43) in the antenatal wards at Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital found that three-quarters had used at least one complementary health care product during their pregnancy. Chamomile, ginger, peppermint, and raspberry leaf were the most popular herbal products, followed by aromatherapy oils, homeopathic preparations, flower essences, therapeutic oils, antioxidants, and a range of dietary supplements.

The survey was published in the December 2002 issue of Australian Pharmacist. The researchers say these results may not be applicable to the wider community. "Complications or difficulties during pregnancy may result in a greater desire to use complementary medicines," the researchers say.