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J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2010 Nov-Dec;39(6):684-93. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2010.01193.x.

The use of herbs by california midwives.

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Department of Clinical Pharmacy, UCSF, 521 Parnassus Ave, Suite C-152, Box 0622, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.



To characterize herbal product use (prevalence, types, indications) among Certified Nurse Midwives/Certified Midwives (CNMs/CMs) and Licensed Midwives (LMs) practicing in the state of California and to describe formal education related to herbal products received by midwives during midwifery education.


Cross-sectional survey/California/Practicing midwives.


A list of LMs and CNMs/CMs practicing in California was obtained through the California Medical Board (CMB) and the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM), respectively. The survey was mailed to 343 CNMs/CMs (one third of the ACNM mailing list) and 157 LMs (the complete CMB mailing list).


Of the 500 surveys mailed, 40 were undeliverable, 146 were returned, and 7 were excluded (30% response rate). Of the 139 completed surveys, 58/102 (57%) of CNMs/CMs and 35/37 (95%) of LMs used herbs, and LMs were more comfortable than CNMs/CMs in recommending herbs to their patients. A majority of LMs had >20 hours of midwifery education on herbs whereas a majority of CNMs/CMs received 0 to 5 hours. Some CNMs/CMs indicated that their practice site limited their ability to use herbs. Common conditions in which LMs and CNMs/CMs used herbs were nausea/vomiting (86% vs. 83%), labor induction (89% vs. 58%), and lactation (86% vs. 65%). Specific herbs for all indications are described.


Licensed midwives were more likely than CNMs/CMs to use herbs in clinical practice. This trend was likely a reflection of the amount of education devoted to herbs as well as herbal use limitations that may be encountered in institutional facilities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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