Midwives and complementary and alternative medicines (CAM): personal use and impact on clinical practice

Complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) have increasingly been used by pregnant women with a steady rise in interest by midwives. This study aimed to investigate if midwives’ personal CAM use impacts on discussions and recommendations of CAM.

Methodology/Design

A national survey of Australian College of Midwives (ACM) members (n=4,677) was undertaken via ACM conference and e-bulletins (October 2015- March 2016). The self-administered survey included questions on what self-help and CAM strategies midwives discuss and recommend to women with a post-date pregnancy, and midwives’ own personal use of CAM.

Findings

A total of 579 midwives completed the survey (12.76 %). Most respondents discuss (91.2%) and recommend (88.6%) self-help/CAM strategies to women. The top three CAM discussed were Acupuncture (65.5%), Acupressure (58%) and Evening primrose oil (52.3%). Midwives were more likely to discuss strategies if they personally used CAM (p<.001), were younger (p<.001) or had worked less years as midwives (p=.004). Midwives were more likely to recommend strategies if they used CAM in their own pregnancies (p=.001).

Conclusion

Midwives’ personal use of CAM influenced their discussions and recommendations of CAM to women experiencing a post-date pregnancy. This study has implications for inclusion of CAM in education curricula for midwives.