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Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2013 Sep;288(3):527-30. doi: 10.1007/s00404-013-2814-z. Epub 2013 Mar 23.

Patients' considerations behind the use of methods from complementary and alternative medicine in the field of obstetrics in Germany.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Justus-Liebig-University of Giessen, Giessen, Germany.



Complementary and alternative methods (CAMs) are frequently used during pregnancy and delivery. We were interested to find out how frequently CAMs were used and if they were used for specific indications.


We assessed the use of various CAMs and the background of use. Here we differentiated between the treatment of psychological problems, physical problems and the treatment of foetal problems.


The response rate was 49.2 % (229/465). Attendance of a delivery preparation class was significantly associated with a higher CAM use in general. Herbal teas and dietary interventions were most frequently used during pregnancy and predominantly for the treatment of physical problems (e.g. nausea, back pain). Earlier deliveries were associated with a significantly decreased demand for complementary methods during delivery but not during pregnancy.


Although we found some correlations between some methods and certain treatment indications, most methods were used like panaceas. We believe that the fact that earlier deliveries were associated with a significantly decreased demand for CAM should lead to the question of whether women should receive more reassuring information on delivery and be offered methods like massage or relaxation techniques, which provide proven efficacy without potential side effects that may be associated with CAM methods.

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