Utilization of herbs with abortifacient potentials to prevent Malaria in pregnant women in Southwestern Nigeria: A random survey
Keywords:Traditional Birth Homes, Herbs, Pregnant women, Malaria, Abortion
Background: Little is known about the potential harmful effects of the plants used by pregnant women for treatment of malaria. This study determined the level of awareness about the potential harmful effects of 3 antimalarial plants (with potential abortifacient properties) used during pregnancy in Abeokuta, Nigeria.
Methods: Structured questionnaire was used to obtain relevant information form 120 participants (43 pregnant and 77 women of reproductive age) from 3 major markets and 2 traditional birth homes (TBHs) in Abeokuta between 2019 and 2020. Data obtained were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Relationship between herb usage and pregnancy outcome(s) was determined using chi-square with probability value of p<0.05.
Results: A high proportion of the participants (71.7%) preferred to use herb for malaria treatment during pregnancy. About 13.3 %, 3.3 % and 4.2 % of the respondents claimed to have experienced abortion, still birth and low birth weight (LBW) respectively. Though, abortion was significantly (p<0.005) associated with use of antimalarial herbs among the women, none of them linked it to the use of herb. A good proportion of the respondents (43%) were aware that one of the plants used against malaria has the potential of inducing abortion. However, they still preferred to use it in presumably safe quantity.
Conclusion: The use of herbs with abortifacient properties in management of malaria is common among the respondents. There is need to enlighten the public on possible harmful effect of these plants on both mother and the unborn child to improve their health.
Keywords: Traditional Birth Homes; Herbs; Pregnant women; Malaria; Abortion
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