Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in obstetrics and gynaecology: a survey of office-based obstetricians and gynaecologists regarding attitudes towards CAM, its provision and cooperation with other CAM providers in the state of Hesse, Germany

Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2014 Dec;290(6):1133-9. doi: 10.1007/s00404-014-3315-4. Epub 2014 Jun 29.


Purpose: Whereas we have some information on complementary medicine in the field of oncology, little is known about complementary medicine in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology especially outside of hospitals.

Methods: All office-based obstetricians and gynaecologists in the state of Hesse, Germany, were contacted and asked to fill in an assessment form regarding cooperation in the field of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), as well as the perceived efficacy of various CAM methods for a number of pathological conditions in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology.

Results: It was found that more than half of Hessian office-based obstetricians and gynaecologists had existing cooperation regarding CAM, especially with colleagues, but also midwives, pharmacists, physiotherapists, and health practitioners. The probability of cooperation was significantly inversely associated with age. It was found that the probability for advising CAM differed between various health problems. The following CAM methods were considered reasonable for the treatment of different conditions: phytotherapy for climacteric complaints and premenstrual syndrome; homoeopathy for puerperal problems; acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine for complaints during pregnancy; and dietary supplements for the side effects of cancer therapy.

Conclusions: The analysis shows that there is much cooperation in the field of CAM. Comparison between physicians' perceived efficacy of CAM methods and objective findings shows that there is a need for the provision of valid information in the field.

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy / statistics & numerical data
  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Complementary Therapies / methods
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Gynecology / methods*
  • Gynecology / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Homeopathy / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obstetrics / methods*
  • Obstetrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Office Visits
  • Physicians*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Pregnancy
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires