Women's motivation and associated factors for herbal medicine use during pregnancy and childbirth: A systematic review

Joshua Sumankuuro, Christabel Soyen, Judith Crockett, Muslim Ibrahim, Frederick Ngmenkpieo, Joseph Wulifan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Herbal medicines use has prevailed over the past decades in both low-middle-income and high-income countries over the years. The use
among women has increased with increased risks of ill-health. There is extensive literature on herbal medicine use among women in pre/pregnancy, labour, and the postpartum periods. Therefore, this study aimed to understand women’s purposes, experiences, and motivation for using herbal medicines
during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum, and the experiences associated with the use.
Methods: Four critical databases were predetermined and searched: CINAHL, Medline, Web of Science, and EMBASE. These databases
were chosen for their comprehensiveness and relevance to the review aims. We considered peer-reviewed published articles from January 2000 to December 2018. We chose these databases because we found that they are dominant in the medical and healthcare-related literature. All references were pooled to Endnote reference management software for screening. Quality appraisal of articles was conducted using the Mixed-Method Assessment Tool (MMAT). Content analysis approach was used to extra the data from the articles. Globally, twenty-one articles met the inclusion criteria, and thus, formed the dataset for this review.
Results: Most articles (n = 10, 47.6%) reported solely HM uses on only pregnancy whiles the rest evaluated HM uses in labour, pre-pregnancy, and the postpartum periods. The results have shown that the majority of women received information about HM from friends, family, the “black markets,” and drug outlets. Overall, the results were presented in seven broad themes: 1) sociodemographic characteristics of HM users, 2) perceived threat of health problem, 3) sources and quality of the information received, 4)
susceptibility to health complications, 5) potential limitations to the use of HM, 6) the motivation for HM utilization, 7) concerns on the combined use of herbal and allopathic medicines.
Conclusion: The study recommends the further research into the toxicity of herbal products, to ensure that accurate information can be provided to women before use.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)572-597
Number of pages26
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2020


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