The concept of health promotion has emerged with the increasing realisation in society that our health is one of our most valuable personal assets, as well as an asset for society (Crafter, 1997). The Health Promotion Agency (2008) describes health promotion as a process enabling people to exert control over the determinants of health and thereby improve their health. Similarly, the WHO identifies that health promotion involves equipping people to have more power, enabling them to make choices in regard to improving their well-being (WHO, 1984). Ewles and Simnett (2003) determine from this that the fundamental elements of health promotion are improving health, empowerment and education.
Breastfeeding is the best form of nutrition for infants and so is an important topic in the context of health promotion (Dearling, 1999). Health promotion is not an extended role of the midwife but a core competency. In its Code of Professional Conduct (2008), the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) outlines the role of the midwife to include supporting people in caring for themselves to improve and maintain their health.
Midwives must work with others to protect and promote the health and well-being of those in their care (NMC, 2008). Midwives meet and influence individual women and their families on a day-to-day basis, and can make real differences to how those people deal with health issues during their childbearing years and beyond (Crafter, 1997). Davis (2002) points out that every interaction with a woman is an opportunity to... [continues]
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