What CAM use during pregnancy says about our care models

Rebekah Bowman, Deborah Davis, Sally Ferguson, Jan Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Background: Complementary and Alternative Medicine use during pregnancy is popular in many countries, including Australia. Research has repeatedly found over half of Australian women surveyed use these therapies through their perinatal period. There is currently little evidence to support this practice, which raises the question of women's motivation for use of these therapies and the experiences they encounter. Objective: This study aims to explore the perceptions, motivations and experiences of pregnant women with regard to their use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine during pregnancy. Methods: A systemic review and meta-synthesis of the available research was conducted. Five databases were explored – CINAHL Plus, Medline, PubMed, AMED and Web of Science using the search terms complementary and alternative medicine; pregnancy; and pregnant. Articles included in this meta-synthesis were screened using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses tool. They were assessed for quality using the Qualitative Checklist tool form the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme. Themes and concepts for each study were fully understood which involved reading the studies several times and discussing understanding with colleagues. Themes were identified both through the quotes supplied by women in the papers, as well as the original author's analysis and interpretation. Findings: Ten initial themes were drawn from the six studies. These ten themes were summarised by three cluster themes. The results suggest that women are using Complementary and Alternative Medicine in their pregnancy as a means of supporting their sense of self-determination, to pursue a natural and safe childbirth, and because they experience a close affiliation with the philosophical underpinnings of Complementary and Alternative Medicine as an alternative to the biomedical model. Conclusion: These findings are important to practitioners, policy makers, governing bodies and researchers, providing insight into the motivations for Complementary and Alternative Medicine use by women in pregnancy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27
Number of pages1
JournalWomen and Birth
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


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