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Sexual and reproductive health education: Midwives’ confidence and practices

Published:September 15, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2021.09.005

      Abstract

      Problem

      There is limited evidence regarding midwives’ confidence and practices in providing sexual and reproductive health care in Australia.

      Background

      Midwives provide important public health education to women regarding sexual and reproductive health care.

      Aim

      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.

      Methods

      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.

      Findings

      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.

      Discussion

      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.

      Conclusion

      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.

      Keywords

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