A qualitative study of the Australian midwives' approaches to Listeria education as a food-related risk during pregnancy
Objective: to explore midwives’ perceptions of food-related risks and their approaches to Listeria education during pregnancy.
Design: an exploratory design within a qualitative framework.
Setting: one private and two public hospitals in New South Wales, Australia.
Participants: 10 midwives providing antenatal care in the selected hospitals.
Findings: midwives had a range of approaches, from active to passive, to Listeria education. The main education provided was focused only on some of the high Listeria-risk foods with little education on safe food-handling practices. Midwives’ perception of food-related risks was a function of their limited scientific knowledge and their reliance on their experiential knowledge and their common sense. System constraints such as temporal pressure, limited availability of educational materials and low adherence to Listeria recommendations within the health system were also identified to influence midwives’ practice.
Key Conclusions: professional practice guidelines regarding food safety and Listeria education are needed, together with relevant professional training and review of hospital practices in relation to this important health issue.