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Acupuncture and other CAM therapies popular among pregnant women and women in childbed

Demand for integrative medicine among women in pregnancy and childbed: a German survey on patients’ needs

Nikolas Schürger, Evelyn Klein, Alexander Hapfelmeier, Marion Kiechle and Daniela Paepke

BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine201818:187



Although integrative medicine is gaining increasing attention and is claiming more and more its place in modern health care, it still plays a marginal role in conventional maternity care. The present study aims to examine the patterns of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) use and the demand for integrative therapies, including CAM, relaxation therapies, nutritional counseling, and psychological assistance, among women in pregnancy and childbed.


The survey was conducted from April 2017 to July 2017 by means of a pseudo-anonymous 38-item questionnaire at the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technical University of Munich. Eligible participants were women hospitalized due to pregnancy related complications and women in childbed. Descriptive statistics were generated to determine patterns of CAM use and demand for integrative therapeutic approaches. Univariate analysis was used to detect associations between patients’ characteristics and their interest in the different integrative therapies. Furthermore, binary logistic regression was used to estimate the odds ratio of demand for CAM.


A total of 394 out of 503 patients participated in the survey (78%). 60% declared using CAM in general, 45% specifically in relation to their pregnancy or childbed. Most commonly used modalities were vitamins (31% of all patients), yoga (24%), herbal supplements (23%), and acupuncture (20%). Most popular sources of recommendation of CAM use were midwives and gynecologists. Integrative therapy options patients would have wanted alongside conventional maternity care were CAM (64%), relaxation therapies (44%), dietary counseling (28%), and psychological counseling (15%). Furthermore, associations between patients’ sociodemographic characteristics and their demand for integrative therapies were identified.


The results of this study demonstrate that there is a considerable demand for integrative medicine and widespread use of CAM among women during pregnancy and childbed in Germany. Maternity health care providers should be aware of these findings in order to be able to better address patients’ needs and wishes. Our study findings should be interpreted with regard to patients in an hospital setting.

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