Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Health and Society


Background: Good nutrition during pregnancy is considered one aspect of lifestyle that contributes to the health and wellbeing of the mother and the developing baby. In Australia and globally, most pregnant women enter pregnancy overweight or obese and do not meet dietary recommendations. Pregnant women may not receive nutrition advice despite being perceived as receptive to nutrition messages. Midwives are ideally positioned to provide nutrition advice during pregnancy as they provide antenatal care to pregnant women. According to the International Confederation of Midwives core competencies, midwives are expected to have the knowledge and skills to assess maternal nutrition and provide nutrition advice accordingly. However, there has been limited literature, especially in Australia, about midwives’ role in this important area.

Aim: To explore the role of midwives in providing nutrition advice, their nutrition knowledge, the nutrition education the midwives receive during pre-registration education or during practice, and the nutrition education provided in midwifery programmes.

Research questions: The research addressed three main questions: what are Australian midwives’ knowledge of and attitudes towards nutrition during pregnancy and their confidence in providing nutrition advice and what education did they receive in nutrition pre and post registration? What are midwives’ perceptions of their role in providing nutrition advice? And how is nutrition positioned within midwifery programmes in Australia?



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.