Nutrition education in Australian midwifery programmes: A mixed-methods study
journal contributionposted on 09.03.2018, 00:00 by J Arrish, H Yeatman, Moira Williamson
Little research has explored how nutrition content in midwifery education prepares midwives to provide prenatal nutrition advice. This study examined the nature and extent of nutrition education provided inAustralian midwifery programmes.Amixed-methods approach was used, incorporating an online survey and telephone interviews. The survey analysis included 23 course coordinators representing 24 of 50 accredited midwifery programmes in 2012. Overall, the coordinators considered nutrition in midwifery curricula and the midwife’s role as important. All programmes included nutrition content; however, eleven had only 5 to <10 hours allocated to nutrition, while two had a designated unit. Various topics were covered. Dietitians/other nutrition experts were rarely involved in teaching or reviewing the nutrition content. Interviews with seven coordinators revealed that nutrition education tended to be problem-oriented and at times based on various assumptions. Nutrition content was not informed by professional or theoretical models. The development of nutrition assessment skills or practical training for midwifery students in providing nutrition advice was lacking. As nutrition is essential formaternal and foetal health, nutrition education in midwifery programmes needs to be reviewed and minimum requirements should be included to improve midwives’ effectiveness in this area. This may require collaboration between nutrition experts and midwifery bodies.