International Journal of
Nursing and Midwifery

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Nurs. Midwifery
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2456
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJNM
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 212

Full Length Research Paper

Decision-making for use of complementary and alternative therapies by pregnant women and nurse midwives during pregnancy: An exploratory qualitative study

Marie Hastings-Tolsma
  • Marie Hastings-Tolsma
  • University of Colorado Denver College of Nursing, Division of Women, Children and Family Health, USA.
  • Google Scholar
Deborah Vincent
  • Deborah Vincent
  • University of Arizona, Tucson AZ, USA.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Accepted: 26 April 2013
  •  Published: 30 May 2013



Millions of people use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies. Such therapies are used across a wide spectrum of health conditions, but the use is particularly notable during pregnancy. Despite the widespread use, little is known about the perceptions of patients and clinicians in deciding about use of varied therapies. This study describes pregnant women and obstetrical provider (nurse midwives) perceptions in decision-making for use of CAM therapies during pregnancy. Pregnant women and nurse midwives were interviewed in focus groups with transcribed data analyzed using content analysis. Four themes emerged from the session with pregnant women and 3 from the nurse midwives. Data underscore the need to dialogue with all pregnant women about CAM use, and to mainstream CAM in education programs. Given the paucity of evidence for safety and efficacy during pregnancy for most CAM therapies, decision-making strategies to fill those knowledge gaps are urgently needed. 


Key words: Complementary therapies, alternative medicine, pharmacognosy, traditional medicine, decision-making, pregnancy, obstetrical providers