Objective: To investigate the patterns of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) use among pregnant women in the National Health Insurance program in Taiwan.
Methods: Women who gave birth in Taiwan in 2006 were identified from the National Health Insurance Research Database. Claims for reimbursement following TCM ambulatory visits by these women were analyzed.
Results: In total, 20.9% of women in the study who gave birth in 2006 used TCM during pregnancy, with older women more likely to utilize this form of care (23.9% of women >35 years of age vs 16.2% of women <20 years of age). There was an increase in the use of TCM for pregnancy-related problems such as hypertension (194 women before pregnancy vs 2163 during) and nausea/vomiting (220 women before vs 1648 during). The predominant modality (88.4%) of TCM treatment during pregnancy was herbal preparation.
Conclusion: Traditional Chinese medicine, with the exception of acupuncture, is popular among pregnant women in Taiwan. In addition to its efficacy, the safety of TCM during pregnancy requires future investigation.