Studies indicate that health promotion in antenatal care can be improved. Moreover, a schism seems to exist between health promotion and prevention in antenatal care.
Antenatal care to support and improve maternal health is a core midwifery activity in which prevention as well as HP and woman-centeredness are important.
To explore how Danish midwives experienced antenatal care and practiced health promotion.
Midwives undertaking antenatal care were interviewed individually (n = 8) and two focus groups (n = 10) were created. Thematic analysis was performed inductively, and the theoretical models from Piper’s health promotion practice Framework for midwives were used to analyse the midwives’ health promotion approach.
Two major themes were highlighted. Theme 1: ‘The antenatal care context for health promotion’ described factors contributing to quality in health promotion in antenatal care, such as communication and building relationships with the pregnant women. Theme 2: ‘The health promotion approach in antenatal care’ described both midwife-focused and woman-focused approaches to pregnant women’s health. Barriers to high-quality antenatal care and a holistic health promotion approach were identified, such as shared-care issues, documentation demands and lack of time.
The midwives’ experiences were discussed in the context of a health promotion approach. Why midwives practice using a midwife-centred approach has many explanations, but midwives need to learn and help each other understand how they can practice woman-focused care while simultaneously providing prophylactic, evidence-based care.
Midwives mainly had a midwife-focused approach. To further promote women’s health, midwives need to focus on a woman-focused approach.