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Health Expect. 2019 May 22. doi: 10.1111/hex.12910. [Epub ahead of print]

Women's health literacy and the complex decision-making process to use complementary medicine products in pregnancy and lactation.

Author information

1
School of Pharmacy, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
2
University Centre for Rural Health, The University of Sydney, Lismore, New South Wales, Australia.
3
School of Public Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Little is known about women's decision-making processes regarding using complementary medicine products (CMPs) during pregnancy or lactation.

OBJECTIVES:

To explore the decision-making processes of women choosing to use CMPs in pregnancy and lactation; and to investigate how women's health literacy influences their decisions.

DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS:

In-depth interviews and focus group discussions were held with twenty-five pregnant and/or breastfeeding women. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.

RESULTS:

Key to women's decision making was the desire to establish a CMPs safety and to receive information from a trustworthy source, preferably their most trusted health-care practitioner. Women wanted positive therapeutic relationships with health-care practitioners and to be highly involved in the decisions they made for the health of themselves and their children. Two overarching components of the decision-making process were identified: (a) women's information needs and (b) a preference for CMP use. Women collated and assessed information from other health-care practitioners, other mothers and published research during their decision-making processes. They showed a strong preference for CMP use to support their pregnancy and breastfeeding health, and that of their unborn and breastfeeding babies.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS:

Complex decision-making processes to use CMPs in pregnancy and lactation were identified. The participants showed high levels of communicative and critical health literacy skills in their decision-making processes. These skills supported women's complex decision-making processes.

KEYWORDS:

complementary therapies; dietary supplements; health literacy; herbal medicine; information seeking behaviour; lactation; patient-provider relationship; pregnancy; qualitative research; self-care

PMID:
31116500
DOI:
10.1111/hex.12910

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