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Keywords:

  • complementary and alternative medicine;
  • complementary therapies;
  • healthcare personnel;
  • literature review;
  • midwifery;
  • pregnancy

adams j., lui c.-w., sibbritt d., broom a., wardle j. & homer c. (2011) Attitudes and referral practices of maternity care professionals with regard to complementary and alternative medicine: an integrative review. Journal of Advanced Nursing67(3), 472–483.

Abstract

Aim.  This paper presents an integrative literature review examining the attitudes and referral practices of midwives and other maternity care professionals with regard to complementary and alternative treatment and its use by pregnant women.

Background.  Use of complementary and alternative medicine during pregnancy is a crucial healthcare issue. Recent discussion has identified the need to develop an integrated approach to maternity care. However, there is a lack of understanding of attitudes and behaviours of maternity care professionals towards these treatments.

Data sources.  A database search was conducted in MEDLINE, CINAHL, Health Source, AMED and Maternity and Infant Care for the period 1999–2009.

Review methods.  An integrative review method was employed. Studies were selected if they reported results from primary data collection on professional practice/referral or knowledge/attitude towards complementary and alternative medicine by obstetricians, midwives and allied maternity care providers.

Results.  A total of 21 papers covering 19 studies were identified. Findings from these studies were extracted, grouped and examined according to three key themes: ‘prevalence of practice, recommendation and referral’, ‘attitudes and views’ and ‘professionalism and professional identity’.

Conclusion.  There is a need for greater respect and cooperation between conventional and alternative practitioners as well as communication between all maternity care practitioners and their patients about the use of complementary and alternative medicine. There is a need for in-depth studies on the social dimension of practice as well as the inter- and intra-professional dynamics that shape providers’ decision to use or refer to complementary and alternative medicine in maternity care.