A recently published study in the Journal of Advanced Nursing reviews 19 studies covering the views of more than 3,000 maternity professionals from Australia, Canada, the USA, UK, Germany, New Zealand and Israel.
Lead author of the review, The University of Queensland's Dr Jon Adams, states the review showed there was a need for greater respect and cooperation between conventional and alternative practitioners, and improved communication with patients about the growing use of CAM.
However, healthcare professionals need evidence-based information about its use, he said.
“There have recently been calls for nursing and midwifery education to include CAM training,” said Dr Adams.
“In addition, a number of medical organisations and registration boards, including the Royal College of Midwives and Australian Nursing Federation, have issued position statements endorsing the linking of care standards to education and knowledge of CAM.
“We hope that our research review will provide a first step in developing an evidence base on this important topic and provide vital insights for those managing, practising and receiving maternity care.”
Key findings from the most recent 2008 and 2009 studies include:
- A survey of 343 midwives from Canada and New Zealand found that 72 per cent had recommended or offered CAM.
- All but one of the 381 obstetric departments who took part in a German survey said they offered at least one CAM therapy
- 78 per cent of the 227 midwives who took part in an American study reported using CAM and 89 per cent would refer a patient to CAM providers.
The three most commonly used treatments were herbal preparations (85 per cent), pharmacologic/biologic treatments (82 per cent) and mind-body interventions (80 per cent).
Dr Adams said the popularity of CAM had grown significantly in recent years.
“The use of CAM during pregnancy has been debated by practitioners and policy makers around the world and it is clear that there is a real need to develop an integrated approach to maternity care.”