Medicinal Plants used during Antenatal Care by Pregnant Women in Eastern Uganda

Afr J Reprod Health. 2017 Dec;21(4):33-44. doi: 10.29063/ajrh2017/v21i4.4.


Plants are commonly used during the antenatal stage in pregnancy to manage different ailments in Africa. In Uganda, both medicinal and food plants are used to handle common pregnancy related conditions. An ethnobotanical survey was conducted in Iganga district, eastern Uganda. Seven traditional birth attendants (TBA) and 46 mothers were interviewed. Data was collected using structured questionnaires and household interviews. The TBAs were identified using snowball sampling. A total of 33 plant species, belonging to 23 families were documented. Out of these, the pregnant mothers used 45.5 % as both food and medicine. The most frequently used plant life form was herbs (58.8%). The leaves are the most commonly used plant parts (59%). Most of the plants (58.8%) were semi cultivated and were being domesticated in crop fields and home gardens. Most of the plants were used to manage anaemia and for child development and good health among the pregnant women. The pregnant women and TBAs in Namungalwe sub County have diverse knowledge on medicinal and nutri-medicinal plants in the management of common pregnancy related diseases, which can be used to supplement modern antenatal services, inspite of the ban of the activities of TBA. Further research on the bioavailability of nutrients, efficacy and safety of the medicinal plants used by pregnant women should be done.

Keywords: Antenatal; Medicinal Plants; Traditional Birth Attendants; Uganda.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Medicine, African Traditional
  • Middle Aged
  • Midwifery*
  • Phytotherapy / methods*
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use*
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnant Women* / ethnology
  • Pregnant Women* / psychology
  • Prenatal Care / methods*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Uganda
  • Young Adult


  • Plant Preparations