Date Presented 04/20/2023

Maternal health includes the pre-, peri- and postnatal periods in which women undergo physical, social, and psychosocial stressors. This systematic review explores women’s experiences to note the current and potential role of OT in maternal health.

Primary Author and Speaker: Tessann Merkel

Additional Authors and Speakers: Madison Beck, Alexis Medva, Faith Wintermantel

Contributing Authors: Diana Goodman, Sharon Novalis

PURPOSE: This systematic review sought to discover the unique role of occupational therapy (OT) in promoting occupational well-being for maternal health. Maternal health includes the pre-, peri-, and post- natal periods where women experience physical, social and psychosocial stressors. This review examined the lived experience of women in order to gain an understanding of the current and potential role of OT within maternal health.

DESIGN: The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines were used to conduct a systematic review on the role of OT in maternal health.

METHOD: Following the PRISMA guidelines five databases were utilized in the systematic review (EBSCO Host/JKM Library, CINAHL, American Journal of Occupational Therapy, Google Scholar, and Deep Dive). Search terms included pregnancy, wellbeing, occupational therapy, daily living, childbirth, postpartum, motherhood, depression, anxiety, and postpartum psychosis. The inclusion criteria consisted of qualitative methodology design, published after 2000, and written or translated in English. 14 articles were critically appraised, met the inclusion criteria, and were analyzed in the systematic review.

RESULTS: Articles were themed using the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework-4 (OTPF-4). Occupation-based interventions implemented by professions other than OT have mainly sought to promote social and leisure participation. 10/14 articles used Therapeutic Use of Occupations and Activities. 2/14 supported the use of Interventions to Support Occupations. 9/14 supported Education. 7/14 supported Training. 3/14 supported Advocacy. 9/14 supported Group Interventions. 2/14 supported Virtual Interventions.

CONCLUSION: Maternal health is an emerging area within the field of OT. Occupational therapists have a unique skill set that enables provision of a variety of interventions and strategies to promote the occupational well-being of all domains related to maternal health.


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