Publication Details

Arrish, J., Yeatman, H. & Williamson, M. (2017). Midwives' Role in Providing Nutrition Advice during Pregnancy: Meeting the Challenges? A Qualitative Study. Nursing Research and Practice, 2017 7698510-1-7698510-11.


This study explored the Australian midwives' role in the provision of nutrition advice. Little is known about their perceptions of this role, the influence of the model of care, and the barriers and facilitators that may influence them providing quality nutrition advice to pregnant women. Semistructured telephone interviews were undertaken with a subsample (n=16) of the members of the Australian College of Midwives who participated in an online survey about midwives' nutrition knowledge, attitudes, and their confidence in providing nutrition advice during pregnancy. Thematic descriptive analysis was used to analyse the data. Midwives believed they have a vital role in providing nutrition advice to pregnant women in the context of health promotion. However, this was not reflected in the advice many of them provided, which in many accounts was passive and medically directed. The extent and efficacy of their role appear to be challenged by many structural barriers. Midwives suggested facilitators that may assist in overcoming these challenges. Midwives need assistance, support, and guidance to provide holistic nutrition advice that assists women to achieve healthy pregnancies. A collaborative approach between midwifery bodies, nutrition and education experts, and maternity care services may provide an effective way forward.



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