There is limited evidence regarding midwives’ confidence and practices in providing sexual and reproductive health care in Australia.
Midwives provide important public health education to women regarding sexual and reproductive health care.
The aim of this study was to explore midwives’ confidence and practices around providing education to women on three key areas of sexual and reproductive health: contraception and family planning; sexual activity; and sexual health.
A cross-sectional exploratory study was conducted with responses from n = 164 midwives (43.1% response rate) working in a public tertiary maternity hospital in Western Australia. The survey included items measuring confidence; method and frequency of practice. Open-ended questions captured qualitative data. Data analysis was conducted using descriptive statistics for quantitative data and content analysis for qualitative data.
There was a significant association between age, years of clinical experience (p = 0.001) and work setting (p = 0.032) on the confidence to provide education on sexual activity. Most (92.1%) midwives indicated that they wanted further education. Lack of time, knowledge and language barriers were key factors preventing education.
Midwives’ provision of education to women is essential for improving health literacy and health outcomes. Results reveal the necessity to include sexual and reproductive health education in entry to registration courses and the importance of continuing professional development.
Evidence of midwives’ confidence and current practices in the provision of sexual and reproductive health care offers utility for leaders and educators in midwifery to prepare and equip midwives to fulfil this important public health role.
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Published online: September 15, 2021
Accepted: September 7, 2021
Received in revised form: September 5, 2021
Received: July 31, 2021
© 2021 Australian College of Midwives. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.