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.
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.