Ten Ways Occupational Therapists Can Support New Moms
May 7, 2021
By Dr. Carlin Daley Reaume ’02, MA ’06, OTD ’07
The saying goes: when a baby is born, so is a mother. It is no secret that the transition into motherhood brings a lot of significant life changes along with it. A new role, new daily routines, and let’s not forget new sleeping patterns (or lack thereof). Occupational therapists are perfectly positioned to help new mothers navigate this distinct phase of life. Here are just a few of the ways OTs can help out:
- Postpartum Care Plans — Help develop a customized postpartum care plan to provide holistic support for the parent(s) throughout the fourth trimester. This may include strategies for how to manage meal preparation, delegate household chores, and access community support resources.
- Home Modifications — Assist with the set-up of the home environment to promote healthy body mechanics during daily tasks associated with newborn care, even before the baby’s arrival.
- Ergonomic Education — Provide information and guidance on how to approach repetitive tasks associated with newborn care, such as diaper changing and babywearing, in a way that minimizes strain on the body.
- Pelvic Health — Provide pelvic health screenings, education, and interventions to assist with postpartum healing.
- Breastfeeding Support — Assist with positioning for breastfeeding and setting up the environment for greater ease with feeding and/or pumping.
- Maternal Mental Health — Screen for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders and assist new mothers in exploring what kind of restorative occupations might fit into their new schedules.
- Managing Overwhelm — Explore strategies to restructure daily routines in a way that helps increase efficiency and reduce stress.
- Return to Work — Help mothers prepare for all of the logistics associated with the transition back to paid employment.
- Return to Exercise — Provide education about when and how to return safely to exercise after pregnancy and delivery. Lead therapeutic exercise groups to support healing, stability, and strength.
- Mom & Baby Groups — Facilitate groups to provide education on developmental milestones, promote positive bonding experiences, and create opportunities for community-building.
Reaume is a USC alumna and former USC Chan faculty member. Through her private practice, Supported Mama, Reaume supports women throughout the transition into motherhood. You can find her at supportedmama.com or on Instagram at @supportedmama.