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MIDWIVES SINK THEIR TEETH INTO ORAL HEALTH

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PRESS RELEASE:  7th August 2018

Australian College of Midwives releases new Midwifery Initiated Oral Health (MIOH) e-learning course, giving midwives the education and practical assessment skills to promote oral health among low-risk pregnant women.

 

It is evident that poor oral health during pregnancy can have a significant impact on the health of the mother and the child even causing an increased risk of preterm babies, low birth-weight babies and infants developing early dental decay. The effectiveness of dental treatment in improving birth outcomes is still up for debate, but the consensus is that dental treatment is safe and all women should receive a dental check early in their pregnancy.

The Midwifery Initiated Oral Health course was prepared by the Centre for Oral Health Outcomes & Research Translation based at the Ingham Institute, in collaboration with Centre for Applied Nursing Research, Sydney & South Western Sydney Local Health Districts, Sydney Dental Hospital, Western Sydney University, and Australian College of Midwives. It was supported by the NSW Centre for Oral Health Strategy.

Associate Professor Ajesh George from Western Sydney University said, “Pregnant women are prone to poor oral health yet only a third of women access dental services in Australia. A world first trial of the MIOH program was undertaken across antenatal and oral health services in Sydney involving 638 pregnant women. The study, led by researchers at the Ingham Institute, showed a marked improvement in the oral health knowledge of midwives and their confidence in promoting oral health. There was substantial improvement in the use of dental services (>50%), oral health knowledge, quality of oral health and oral health outcomes among pregnant women.”

ACM CEO Ann Kinnear said, “Midwives are in the best position to educate mothers on all aspects of their pregnancy, including their oral health.”

“As midwives, we are already familiar with the impact of oestrogen and progesterone during pregnancy so it makes sense that we also consider the affects that these hormones can have on a woman’s teeth and mouth. Midwives can reassure women that dental care during pregnancy is safe and help ensure that poor oral health is not passed onto the child,” Kinnear concluded.

In fact, a number of Victorian midwives are already finding the educational program to be “valuable to [their] practice” and “hugely important to pregnant women and their families”.

Since 2012, the Midwifery Initiated Oral Health program has been supported by Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV). Allison Ridge, Health Promotions Programs Manager said, “Dental Health Services Victoria have sponsored over 240 Victorian midwives to complete the MIOH Education Program. This pool of midwives has led to more pregnant women accessing Victoria’s public dental services.”

Ms Ridge continued, “Comments such as ‘the course was quick to learn, interesting and can easily be incorporated into our scope of pregnancy care’ have been frequent among Victorian midwives participating in Midwifery Initiated Oral Health Education Program.” 

The MIOH e-learning course is now available at https://www.midwives.org.au/shop/midwifery-initiated-oral-health.  

For comment, please contact:

ACM CEO Ann Kinnear ann.kinnear@midwives.org.au

Associate Professor Ajesh George Ajesh.George@health.nsw.gov.au

Additional information: The Australian College of Midwives
The Australian College of Midwives (ACM) is the peak professional body for midwives in Australia who are registered with, and regulated by, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA). ACM’s position is that women be attended during pregnancy, birth and postnatally by a midwife who is registered with the NMBA.