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Busse, Clara E.; Wilson, Mark L.; Bakari, Ashura; & Moyer, Cheryl A. (Online ahead of print). Self-Reported Medicinal Plant Use by Ghanaian Women during Pregnancy is Associated with Poor Neonatal Health. Journal of Public Health.


BACKGROUND: More than a third of pregnant women in Africa use medicinal plants (hereafter, 'herbs') during pregnancy, yet little is known about herb use among urban African women, or about the potential impact on newborns.
METHODS: This cross-sectional study of 504 women giving birth at an urban government hospital in Kumasi, Ghana (May-July 2018) collected data via chart reviews and maternal interviews. Data were analyzed using conditional logistic regression.
RESULTS: Of 380 singleton births with complete data, 102 mothers (26.84%) reported using herbs during pregnancy and/or delivery. Herb users and non-users did not differ significantly across a range of sociodemographic variables. Controlling for age, education, neonatal birthweight and household running water (socioeconomic status (SES) indicator), herb-using women were twice as likely to have their newborn admitted to the hospital (odds ratio (OR) = 2.05; confidence interval (CI) 95% 1.17, 3.60) and four times as likely to bear a child with a low Apgar score (OR = 4.09; CI 95% 1.66, 10.07) compared with non-users.
CONCLUSION: Urban-dwelling Ghanaian women from diverse backgrounds use herbs during pregnancy. Maternal herb use was associated with poor neonatal outcomes, regardless of the baby's birthweight and mother's age, education or SES, suggesting the importance of educating all women about the possible negative impacts of herb use during pregnancy and delivery.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published

Online ahead of print

Journal Title

Journal of Public Health


Busse, Clara E.
Wilson, Mark L.
Bakari, Ashura
Moyer, Cheryl A.

Article Type







Busse - 0000-0002-0178-1000