Self-medication is prevalent among pregnant women. It can cause adverse effects such as fetal anomalies.
This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of self-medication among Iranian pregnant women.
This was a systematic review and meta-analysis study. Online national and international databases (namely, Scientific Information Database, MagIran, Web of Science, PubMed, Scopus, and Google Scholar) were searched using the following keywords: “pregnancy,” “gravidity,” “self-treatment,” “self-medication,” “non-prescription,” “over-the-counter,” “self-administered,” “self-reported,” “Iran,” “prevalence,” “occurrence,” “frequency,” and “epidemiology.” In total, 128 studies were retrieved. Only 13 studies fulfilled eligibility criteria, i.e. cross-sectional design and publication in Persian or English. Methodological quality of the studies was assessed using a tool with four items, namely design, sample description, sample size, and methods. Meta-analysis was performed using the random-effects model and heterogeneity among the studies was assessed using the I2 index.
The total number of samples in the 13 analyzed studies was 4874. The overall self-medication prevalence was 38.46% (95% confidence interval: 27.42–49.49). Meta-regression analysis revealed no significant relationships between self-medication prevalence and methodological quality score (P = 0.409), participants' mean age (P = 0.400), sample size (P = 0.248), and publication year (P = 0.704).
The overall prevalence of self-medication among Iranian pregnant women is 38.46%. Study findings can be used to design and implement interventions to reduce self-medication among pregnant women. Educational interventions are needed to improve the knowledge of pregnant women and health-care providers about the effects of self-medication, particularly herbal self-medication.
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