Nutrition knowledge and attitudes of New Zealand registered midwives

Sandra Elias, Tim Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: The importance of nutrition for a healthy pregnancy is well established. In New Zealand, the majority of women choose midwives as their maternity provider. Therefore, it is important that midwives have an understanding of nutrition issues related to pregnancy. The purpose of the present study was to determine the nutrition knowledge of New Zealand midwives, and to assess the importance they place on nutrition during pregnancy. Methods: An 18-question postal survey was sent to all members of the New Zealand College of Midwives (n = 1340). Results: A total of 370 questionnaires were returned (response rate of 27.6%). Less than 40% of midwives reported that they had formal nutrition education; however, nearly 75% of respondents indicated that they had received nutrition information through their midwifery education. Most midwives indicated that nutrition was important or very important during pregnancy (98.4%), and that they had a significant or very significant role in educating pregnant women (94.9%) about nutrition. Midwives generally reported a high level of confidence in dealing with nutrition-related issues. Midwives answered most of the nutrition knowledge questions correctly. However, 64.6% of midwives (n = 369) incorrectly identified spirulina as a good source of iron for vegetarians, 28.1% (n = 104) incorrectly answered that maternal intake of cabbage and beans are often responsible for colic in breastfed infants, and 40.0% (n = 128) incorrectly answered that to reduce food allergies all lactating women should avoid peanuts and shellfish. Conclusion: Overall, midwives were knowledgeable on nutrition issues related to pregnancy and reported a high level of confidence on educating women about nutrition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290-294
Number of pages5
JournalNutrition and Dietetics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Nutrition education
  • Nutrition knowledge
  • Nutrition survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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