Prevalence and Factors Influencing Use of Herbal Medicines During Pregnancy in Hail, Saudi Arabia: A cross-sectional study

Mohamad Aljofan, Suhaib Alkhamaiseh


Objectives: The increasing prevalence of herbal medicine use is a global public health concern. Critically, many women continue to use herbal medicines during pregnancy despite potential maternofetal risks. The current study aimed to determine the prevalence of and factors associated with herbal medicine use during pregnancy in Saudi Arabia. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted between February and May 2017. An Arabic-language 33-item survey assessing herbal medicine use was designed and distributed to 879 random women attending outpatient clinics at governmental and private hospitals in Hail, Saudi Arabia. Only women who were pregnant or had been pregnant in the previous 10 years were included. Results: The mean age of the participants was 29.5 years, with 49% under 30 years old. Overall, 33% of the respondents claimed to have used herbal medicines during pregnancy. The most common reasons for doing so were to improve lactation (73%), improve the course of the pregnancy (56%) and facilitate labour (49%). Women who worked full-time and those with high school diplomas or above were significantly more likely to use herbal medicines during pregnancy (P <0.001 each). Conclusion: To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to determine the prevalence and associated factors of herbal medicine use during pregnancy in Hail. The results showed a high prevalence of herbal medicine use among pregnant women in the region. Healthcare providers should therefore ensure that patients disclose the use of herbal medicines during pregnancy to avoid treatment complications or adverse herb-drug interactions.

Keywords: Herbal Medicine; Plant Preparations; Pregnancy; Complementary Therapies; Health Behaviors; Prevalence; Herb-Drug Interactions; Saudi Arabia.

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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