The self-prescribed use of aromatherapy oils by pregnant women

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Women and Birth, 2014, 27 (1), pp. 41 - 45
Issue Date:
2014-01-01
Metrics:
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Background: While some studies have reported effectiveness of aromatherapy oils use during labour there is no reported evidence of efficacy or risks of aromatherapy oils use for pregnancy-related symptoms or conditions. A number of aromatherapy oils are unsafe for use by pregnant women yet there is currently no research examining the prevalence and characteristics of women who use aromatherapy oils during pregnancy. Aim: To conduct an empirical study of the prevalence and characteristics of women who use aromatherapy oils during pregnancy. Methods: The research was conducted as part of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health (ALSWH), focusing on the nationally representative sample of Australian women aged 31-36 years. Data were collected via a cross-sectional questionnaire (n=8200) conducted in 2009. Results: Self-prescribed aromatherapy oils were used by 15.2% of pregnant women. Pregnant women were 1.57 (95% CI: 1.01, 2.43) times more likely to self-prescribe use of aromatherapy oils if they have allergies or hayfever, and 2.26 (95% CI: 1.34, 3.79) times more likely to self-prescribe use of aromatherapy oils if they have a urinary tract infection (UTI). Conclusion: Our study highlights a considerable use of aromatherapy oils by pregnant women. There is a clear need for greater communication between practitioners and patients regarding the use of aromatherapy oils during pregnancy, as well a need for health care practitioners to be mindful that pregnant women in their care may be using aromatherapy oils, some of which may be unsafe. © 2013 Australian College of Midwives.
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