Publication Details

Arrish, J., Yeatman, H. & Williamson, M. (2016). Australian midwives and provision of nutrition education during pregnancy: a cross sectional survey of nutrition knowledge, attitudes, and confidence. Women and Birth, 29 (5), 455-464.


Background: Maternal nutrition during pregnancy affects the health of the mother and the baby. Midwives are ideally placed to provide nutrition education to pregnant women. There is limited published research evidence of Australian midwives' nutrition knowledge, attitudes and confidence. Aim: To investigate Australian midwives' nutrition knowledge, attitudes and confidence in providing nutrition education during pregnancy. Methods: Members of the Australian College of Midwives (n = 4770) were sent an invitation email to participate in a web-based survey, followed by two reminders. Findings: The completion rate was 6.9% (329 of 4770). The majority (86.6% and 75.7%, respectively) highly rated the importance of nutrition during pregnancy and the significance of their role in nutrition education. Midwives' nutrition knowledge was inadequate in several areas such as weight gain, dairy serves and iodine requirements (73.3%, 73.2% and 79.9% incorrect responses, respectively). The level of confidence in discussing general and specific nutrition issues ranged mostly from moderate to low. The majority of the midwives (93%) provided nutrition advice to pregnant women. This advice was mostly described as 'general' and focused on general nutrition topics. Only half of the midwives reported receiving nutrition education during midwifery education (51.1%) or after registration (54.1%). Conclusion: Australian midwives' attitudes towards nutrition during pregnancy and their role in educating pregnant women about it were positive but their knowledge and confidence did not align with these attitudes. This could be due to minimal nutrition education during midwifery education or during practice. Continued education to improve midwives' nutrition knowledge and confidence is essential.



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