1299834_Wilson,A_2024.pdf (379.33 kB)
Exploring the experiences and perspectives of women on oral health during pregnancy: A qualitative study in Tasmania, Australia
journal contributionposted on 2024-02-08, 05:45 authored by A Wilson, H Hoang, Leonard CrocombeLeonard Crocombe, H Bridgman, S Bettiol
Objective: To explore women's oral health experiences and barriers to dental care and identify potential strategies to improve oral health during pregnancy. Methods: A qualitative descriptive study design was used. Purposively elected antepartum and postpartum women ≥18 years of age from Tasmania, Australia, were recruited using maximum variation sampling. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, and all qualitative data were analysed using an inductive thematic approach. Results: Fifteen women were interviewed with a mean ± SD age of 32.3 ± 4.5 years. Three key themes were generated from the data that described women's perceived changes in their oral health during pregnancy; barriers to oral health care during and after pregnancy; and perceived strategies to improve access to care. Most women acknowledged the importance of maintaining good oral health but reported a decline in their oral health status during pregnancy. Women also identified several barriers to dental care, including treatment costs, competing maternal priorities, limited oral health knowledge and negative perceptions towards dentistry. The provision of preventative oral health care by ANC providers was also limited. Community awareness, patient education resources and assessment tools could support the promotion of oral health care. Women also perceived that interprofessional collaboration between antenatal and dental providers played a key role in promoting oral health. Conclusion: This study explored women's varied oral health experiences and perceptions during pregnancy and highlighted critical barriers and enablers to dental care. Policy-level strategies that promote interprofessional collaboration between antenatal and dental providers and expand dental care access are suggested to overcome barriers to oral health for women during pregnancy.