Prevalence and factors associated with use of herbal medicines during pregnancy among women attending postnatal clinics in Gulu district, Northern Uganda
Tumwesigye, Nazarius Mbona
Halage, Abdullah Ali
MetadataShow full item record
Background: According to World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, 80 % of the population living in rural areas in developing countries depends on traditional medicine for their health needs, including use during pregnancy. Despite the fact that knowledge of potential side effects of many herbal medicines in pregnancy is limited and that some herbal products may be teratogenic, data on the extent of use of herbal medicines by women during pregnancy in the study setting is largely unknown. We determined the prevalence and factors associated with herbal medicine use during pregnancy among women attending postnatal clinics in Gulu district, Northern Uganda. Methods: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study which involved 383 women attending postnatal care across four sites in Gulu district using quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection. A structured questionnaire was used to collect quantitative data while qualitative data were obtained using focus group discussions and key informant interviews. The selection of the study participants was by systematic sampling and the main outcome variable was the proportion of mothers who used herbal medicine. Quantitative data was coded and entered into a computerized database using Epidata 3.1. Analysis was done using Statistical Package for Social Scientists version 13, while thematic analysis was used for qualitative data. Results: The prevalence of herbal medicines use during the current pregnancy was 20 % (78/383), and was commonly used in the second 23 % (18/78) and third 21 % (16/78) trimesters. The factors significantly associated with use of herbal medicines during pregnancy were perception (OR 2.18, CI 1.02-4.66), and having ever used herbal medicines during previous pregnancy (OR 2.51, CI 1.21-5.19) and for other reasons (OR 3.87, CI 1.46-10.25). Conclusions: The use of herbal medicines during pregnancy among women in Gulu district is common, which may be an indicator for poor access to conventional western healthcare. Perception that herbal medicines are effective and having ever used herbal medicines during previous pregnancy were associated with use of herbal medicines during current pregnancy. This therefore calls for community sensitization drives on the dangers of indiscriminate use of herbal medicine in pregnancy, as well as integration of trained traditional herbalists and all those community persons who influence the process in addressing the varied health needs of pregnant women.
- Research Articles