Public health interventions in midwifery: a systematic review of systematic reviews

Jenny McNeill, Fiona Lynn, Fiona Alderdice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
488 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Maternity care providers, particularly midwives, have a window of opportunity to influence pregnant women about positive health choices. This aim of this paper is to identify evidence of effective public health interventions from good quality systematic reviews that could be conducted by midwives.

Methods: Relevant databases including MEDLINE, Pubmed, EBSCO, CRD, MIDIRS, Web of Science, The Cochrane Library and Econlit were searched to identify systematic reviews in October 2010. Quality assessment of all reviews was conducted.

Results: Thirty-six good quality systematic reviews were identified which reported on effective interventions. The reviews were conducted on a diverse range of interventions across the reproductive continuum and were categorised under: screening; supplementation; support; education; mental health; birthing environment; clinical care in labour and breast feeding. The scope and strength of the review findings are discussed in relation to current practice. A logic model was developed to provide an overarching framework of midwifery public health roles to inform research policy and practice.

Conclusions: This review provides a broad scope of high quality systematic review evidence and definitively highlights the challenge of knowledge transfer from research into practice. The review also identified gaps in knowledge around the impact of core midwifery practice on public health outcomes and the value of this contribution. This review provides evidence for researchers and funders as to the gaps in current knowledge and should be used to inform the strategic direction of the role of midwifery in public health in policy and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Article number955
Number of pages23
JournalBMC Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 08 Nov 2012


  • Systematic review, Midwife, Pregnancy
  • Public health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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