Research: SMITH, Department of O

Listed in Issue 79


SMITH, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Adelaide University, Women's and Children's Hospital, 72 King William Road, North Adelaide, Australia, SA 5006,, reviewed (15 references) literature reporting on randomized controlled trials of homeopathy for use during the third trimester of pregnancy to aid cervical ripening or induce labour .


This report is one of a series of reviews investigating methods for accelerating cervical ripening and inducing labour in late-stage pregnancy. The present report investigated the use of homeopathy in the third trimester of pregnancy for these purposes. One type of homeopathic remedy that has been used to induce labour is a homeopathic preparation of the herb caulophyllum .


Sources and databases searched (up to March 2001) were the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group Trials Register, the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register and bibliographies of relevant publications. Search criteria were randomized controlled trials comparing homeopathy with placebo, no treatment or other methods.


The search resulting in the present review identified a single trial involving 40 women . The trial was double blind and placebo controlled . However, the publication provided little information on the method of randomization and the study outcome measures were not clinically meaningful . The trial results showed no differences between the homeopathy -treated and the control groups on any outcome measure.


At present there is not enough evidence to recommend the use of homeopathic preparations of caulophyllum to induce labour, although such preparations are commonly used by homeopaths for this purpose. It may be that the treatment strategy used in the trial reviewed here did not reflect routine homeopathic practice . With the continuing increase in popularity of complementary medicine, it is likely that many women will continue to seek advice on the use of homeopathy during pregnancy . Clinical trials are therefore needed to further evaluate the effectiveness of homeopathic therapies, including individualized such therapies, for inducing labour.


Smith CA. Homoeopathy for induction of labour. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (4): CD003399. 2001.

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