Women’s health literacy and the complex decision-making process to use complementary medicine products in pregnancy and lactation

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Health Expectations, 2019, 22 (5), pp. 1013 - 1027
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
© 2019 The Authors Health Expectations published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd Background: Little is known about women's decision-making processes regarding using complementary medicine products (CMPs) during pregnancy or lactation. Objectives: To explore the decision-making processes of women choosing to use CMPs in pregnancy and lactation; and to investigate how women's health literacy influences their decisions. Design, setting and participants: In-depth interviews and focus group discussions were held with twenty-five pregnant and/or breastfeeding women. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Key to women's decision making was the desire to establish a CMPs safety and to receive information from a trustworthy source, preferably their most trusted health-care practitioner. Women wanted positive therapeutic relationships with health-care practitioners and to be highly involved in the decisions they made for the health of themselves and their children. Two overarching components of the decision-making process were identified: (a) women's information needs and (b) a preference for CMP use. Women collated and assessed information from other health-care practitioners, other mothers and published research during their decision-making processes. They showed a strong preference for CMP use to support their pregnancy and breastfeeding health, and that of their unborn and breastfeeding babies. Discussion and Conclusions: Complex decision-making processes to use CMPs in pregnancy and lactation were identified. The participants showed high levels of communicative and critical health literacy skills in their decision-making processes. These skills supported women's complex decision-making processes.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: