Evidence suggests that Complementary and Alternative Medicine use in pregnancy is currently on the rise, with many women viewing them as safe and effective. There has been an increasing demand from women for a more natural approach to childbirth. Women want to be empowered, to be in control and to explore alternatives to drugs. Many women have used complementary therapies before conception, while others seek help for treatment of specific pregnancy discomforts or for use during labour and puerperium. It is estimated that as many as 87% of women use complimentary therapies and /or natural remedies during pregnancy child birth and postnatally. (Hall et al 2011).
Reasons for use of complementary therapies by pregnant women
- Desire for more choice and control over their pregnancy and labour
- Dissatisfaction with technology and medical interference
- Non-pharmacological treatment of physiological discomforts in pregnancy
- Validation of symptoms and attention to psychosocial well-being.
Incorporating complementary therapies into conventional maternity care also, provides opportunities to gather evidence and to undertake risk-benefit analyses.