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J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Dec;18(12):1147-53. doi: 10.1089/acm.2011.0550. Epub 2012 Oct 2.

Recourse to alternative medicine during pregnancy: motivations of women and impact of research findings.

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Haute Ecole de Santé, University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland, Geneva, Switzerland.



The aims of this study were to gain a better understanding of the motivations of pregnant women utilizing moxibustion for breech presentation and to measure the impact of research results on these patients' treatment decisions regarding this alternative medicine technique.


The study involved a statistical analysis of two self-administered questionnaires to 212 women who had previously participated in a randomized clinical trial on the efficacy of moxibustion; in addition, a qualitative thematic content analysis for open-ended questions was also performed.


Most women (69%) reported treating themselves at least once with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Higher use of CAM was associated with higher education and Caucasian origin. Pregnancy was associated with a significant reduction in utilization of CAMs. After reading the results of a previous randomized clinical trial, which did not demonstrate efficacy of moxibustion, 60% of the women questioned expressed the intention of resorting to this technique in case of a subsequent pregnancy with a fetus in the breech position. The principal motivation was their desire to try anything that may possibly turn such fetuses to increase the chances of delivering them vaginally.


It is important to consider the regard that pregnant women attribute to CAMs for self-care strategies. Despite a lack of scientific evidence supporting the use of moxibustion to address breech presentation, pregnant women consider CAMs, in general, to be safe and effective. Studies investigating the physical and psychologic effects of CAMs will enable clinicians to advise patients better about treatment options.

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