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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2001 Aug;185(2):433-7.

A survey of dietary supplement use during pregnancy at an academic medical center.

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Department of Clinical Pharmacy, University of California, San Francisco, 94143, USA.



This study examined the usage patterns of dietary supplements during pregnancy, providing information about type of supplements used, prevalence of use, and rationale for use.


A survey was distributed to pregnant patients who were touring the University of California, San Francisco birthing center or who were receiving care at the University of California, San Francisco Women's Health Clinic between November 1999 and March 2000.


Of the 150 surveys completed, 20 women (13%) used dietary supplements during pregnancy. The most common products were echinacea (4/45, 8.9%), pregnancy tea (4/45, 8.9%), and ginger (3/45, 6.7%). The most common reasons for beginning or discontinuing use of dietary supplements were to relieve nausea and vomiting (5/20, 25%) and to avoid potential harm to the fetus (5/20, 25%). All side effects were mild and included gastrointestinal discomfort in a patient using elderberry, taste disturbance in a patient using echinacea, and intestinal gas in a patient using borage seed oil. Most patients informed their primary care provider of their use of dietary supplements (15/20, 75%).


The use of dietary supplements among pregnant women is low but is of concern because of the lack of safety data. Most patients use dietary supplements to relieve gastrointestinal symptoms and disclose such use to their primary care provider.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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