Chloe R. Haas

Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Nicole Harris


Background The transition to motherhood is a transformative event. The postpartum period is a significant timeframe that challenges a mother in all areas of her life through occupational, physical, hormonal, emotional, and cognitive changes. Although most mothers receive routine care throughout their pregnancy, it is known that standard education and support are typically inadequate, placing mothers at a greater risk for postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, and other challenges of the postpartum period (Howell, Mora, Chassin, & Leventhal, 2010; Martin, Horowitz, Balbierz, & Howell, 2014). Research findings indicate that sufficient education and support prior to birth and through the postpartum period significantly increase the wellbeing of a mother during the postpartum period (Bar & Jarus, 2015; Baskale, Serçekus, and Karahan 2019). Occupational therapists are qualified to address the distinct needs of pregnant and postpartum mothers through their unique view of life engagement and can provide care in conjunction with other care providers. Recently, the field of occupational therapy identified maternal care as an expanding area of practice within the profession (Slootjes, McKinstry, & Kenny, 2016). However, very few occupational therapists currently provide care for the maternal population.

Purpose An education and support program was developed for provision at a pelvic health clinic to mothers and their partners for the purpose of bridging the gaps in standard maternal care. The Elevate Motherhood program includes an educational video series, accompanying handout information, and a comprehensive resource guide which patients may access online during pregnancy and the postpartum period.

Methods A literature review, population needs assessment, and site needs assessment were completed to establish a foundation for the development of the program. The program was developed according to the needs identified by mothers, maternal care experts, and women’s care providers who informally shared their experiences regarding pregnancy and the postpartum period.

Conclusion The intended purpose of the program is to provide mothers with education and support prior to and through the transition to motherhood. It is anticipated that mothers who participate in the Elevate Motherhood program will experience lower incidences of postpartum challenges and have a higher sense of overall wellbeing during the postpartum period.