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October 2021

S Afr Med J. 1997 Aug; 87(8): 1008-10.

The effect of traditional herbal medicines on pregnancy outcome. The King Edward VIII Hospital experience.

Mabina MH, Pitsoe SB, Moodley J.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Natal, Durban.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the effect of herbal medication in pregnancy. METHOD: Patients (N = 229) presenting in early labour were randomly selected and interviewed. All interviews were conducted by one of the authors (MHM) familiar with the nuances of the Nguni languages. RESULTS: One hundred and twenty-six patients (55%) gave a positive history of herbal ingestion (study group) and 103 (45%) had a negative history (control group). Fifteen per cent of the control group and 55.6% of the study group had grade II-III meconium staining of liquor, while 22% of the control group and 38.5% of the study group were delivered by caesarean section. CONCLUSION: Herbal medication is commonly used in pregnancy by women attending King Edward VIII Hospital. Its use may lead to fetal distress, as indicated by the high frequency of meconium-stained liquor and high caesarean section rates in this group of women presenting in labour.

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