Introduction: Midwives are a significant segment of the US maternal and primary health care workforce and play a pivotal role in addressing women's oral health care needs during pregnancy and throughout their life span. The purpose of this research was to assess oral health curricular integration in midwifery programs and examine factors that influence integration and satisfaction with graduates' level of oral health competence.
Methods: A cross-sectional, national survey of midwifery programs was conducted using an electronically distributed 19-item, self-administered questionnaire completed by the Directors of Midwifery Education. Data analysis included univariate and bivariate statistics.
Results: All of the responding midwifery programs (N = 33) were educating their graduates about oral health; however, less than a quarter (22.6%) of program directors were satisfied with their graduates' competency. Significant factors promoting integration were routine teaching by a dental professional and a formal relationship with a dental school, dental residency, or dental hygiene program. Programs with 4 or more hours of oral health curriculum were more likely to have a faculty oral health champion, use simulation in evaluation of their learners, and include interprofessional oral health education.
Discussion: With adequate oral health education, midwives are ideally positioned to integrate oral health in pregnancy care as well as well woman care throughout the life span, thereby expanding access to oral health care.
Keywords: curriculum; education; graduate; health care team; maternal-child health services; midwifery; nursing; oral examination; oral health; pregnancy; prenatal care.
© 2019 by the American College of Nurse-Midwives.