Views of pregnant women in South Western Sydney towards dental care and an oral-health program initiated by midwives.Health Promot J Austr. 2013 Dec; 24(3):178-84.HP
Oral health during pregnancy is important, yet is often neglected by women. A program is currently being developed for midwives in Australia to promote maternal oral health. The aim of this study was to record the views of pregnant women in Australia towards dental care and midwives promoting oral health.
Using convenience sampling, a cross-sectional survey was undertaken of 241 pregnant women attending a metropolitan hospital in South Western Sydney in 2010.
Only 10% of women received oral-health promotional material during pregnancy. More than 50% reported dental problems, yet only 17% had discussed this with their midwives and less than half (44.6%) had sought dental treatment. The main barriers to obtaining dental care were: lack of awareness, safety concerns about dental treatment and dental costs. Pregnant women were more likely (P<0.05) to see a dentist if they had received information about oral health (odds ratio (OR) 3.25, 95% CI 1.34-7.90) and had private health insurance (OR 2.47, 95% CI 1.26-4.85). Most women (>90%) were receptive to midwives providing oral-health education, assessments and referrals to affordable dental services.
This study has shown that pregnant women are receiving limited dental advice and are concerned about dental costs. It has also confirmed for the first time in Australia that women are very positive about receiving oral-health advice from midwives during their pregnancy. SO WHAT?: Oral-health promotion programs during pregnancy should consider using midwives to increase dental awareness among women and provide pathways to affordable dental services.