Background: Although Sheng-Hua-Tang (comprising Radix Angelicae Sinensis, Ligustici Rhizoma, Semen Persicae, Zingiberis Rhizoma and Glycyrrhizae Radix) use during the postpartum has been popular in Chinese communities over a long period, its benefits have not been evaluated in terms of its effects on the health-related quality of life of postpartum women. Objectives: This study aims to explore the relation between different patterns of Sheng-Hua-Tang use and the health-related quality of life in postpartum women. Design: A longitudinal birth cohort follow-up study. Settings and participants: We used multistage stratified systematic sampling to recruit 24,200 pairs, postpartum women and newborns, from the Taiwan national birth register in 2005. A structured questionnaire was successfully administered to 87.8% of the sampled population. Methods: Subjects underwent a home interview 6 months after their deliveries between June 2005 and July 2006. The Medical Outcomes Study 36-item Short-Form (SF-36) was used to measure the quality of life of the women with different patterns of Sheng-Hua-Tang use. Results: Compared with those who never used after delivery, the scores of role limitations due to physical health and emotional problems significantly increased in women who used Sheng-Hua-Tang within 1 month only but decreased in those who continuously used within 1 month and later. In addition, the scores of role limitations due to physical health and emotional problems significantly increased in women who used Sheng-Hua-Tang regardless of the frequency. Conclusions: Sheng-Hua-Tang use during the first month of the postpartum period may have a positive effect on women's health-related quality of life especially in terms of role limitations due to physical health and emotional problems. However, continuous use after the first month of the postpartum period might have a negative effect on women's quality of life. Further studies are needed to replicate the results and elucidate the causal relations.
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