Midwives' use of complementary/alternative treatments

Midwifery. 2012 Dec;28(6):772-7. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2011.08.013. Epub 2011 Oct 19.


Background: in recent years, several surveys have suggested that many midwives use some form of complementary/alternative therapy (CAT), often without the knowledge of obstetricians.

Objective: to systematically review all surveys of CAT use by midwives.

Search strategy: six electronic databases were searched using text terms and MeSH for CAT and midwifery.

Selection criteria: surveys were included if they reported quantitative data on the prevalence of CAT use by midwives.

Data collection and analysis: full-text articles of all relevant surveys were obtained. Data were extracted according to pre-defined criteria.

Main results: 19 surveys met the inclusion criteria. Most were recent and from the USA. Prevalence data varied but were usually high, often close to 100%. Much use of CATs does not seem to be supported by strong evidence for efficacy.

Conclusion: most midwives seem to use CATs. As not all CATs are without risks, the issue should be debated openly.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Holistic Nursing / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Midwifery / organization & administration*
  • Nurse's Role*
  • Nurse-Patient Relations*
  • Patient Safety
  • Pregnancy