Importance: Pregnancy loss and infant death are unexpected, traumatic, life-changing events. The role of occupational therapy practitioners in treating this population is not well defined.
Objective: To describe the outcomes of an occupation-based residential retreat for women who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss.
Design: Program evaluation.
Setting: Seven residential retreats for bereaved mothers.
Participants: One hundred forty-one women who experienced perinatal loss.
Intervention: Residential retreats that were held in natural settings and included occupation-based activities such as group discussions, yoga, meditation, crafts, and rituals to facilitate grieving and healing processes after perinatal loss.
Outcomes and Measures: The Beck Depression Inventory, PTSD Checklist–Civilian Version, Self-Compassion Scale, and Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support were collected pre- and postretreat.
Results: Statistically significant improvements were seen in women’s depression, trauma, self-compassion, and perceived social support from pre- to postretreat.
Conclusions and Relevance: At present, occupational therapy practitioners support this population primarily by providing referrals and information about local resources. However, as occupational therapy practice in primary care settings grows, so too do possibilities for the development of occupational therapy–related interventions to support maternal mental health.
What This Article Adds: This article provides preliminary support for occupation-based retreats as a treatment for improving maternal mental health after perinatal loss.