There is a lot of research in the field of physiotherapy addressing obstetrics and gynecology. However, a search of occupational therapy in the field yields barely any results. Interestingly, in case of pregnancy, from the moment of conception pregnancy profoundly alters a women’s physiology. There are changes in all body systems and functions. Moreover, it alters the role of the woman with changes required in her home, workplace and other environments. Occupational therapists with their vast knowledge of activity analysis are best suited to break down tasks for the pregnant woman, assist her with environmental modifications, discuss and explain about self-care, work, play, leisure and their balance, provide tips and tricks of handling the baby post child birth and to assist the woman to return to her preferred roles. Also, therapists have a good understanding of the anatomical and physiology of the body and are able to provide exercises, basic diet related to activities and exercises (cannot provide nutrition counselling) and also assist in preventing severe back aches, leg cramps etc. often associated with pregnancy.

Maternal health needs to be addressed seriously in India. According to the NH4 survey, education, fertility, teenage pregnancy, hygiene, poverty and mental health all affect the women’s health adversely leading to birth defects, low birth weight and other disorders in the infants. Mental health conditions like depression, stress, anxiety in expecting mothers have been proven to be related to cognitive, emotional and behavioral problems in children. The integration of mental health into maternal health is a need of the hour. To provide health care needs of a pregnant woman in a holistic manner. Holistic child healthcare services and health education for their safety and overall happy childhood.

Chaitanyam Institute of Human Excellence is a non-profit organization that aimed to provide free educational and clinical services in niche areas of health care. The institute has a Divine Mother and Child Health Program (DMCHP) that was implemented in all the local municipal hospitals of a suburban city just outside of Mumbai. As a part of this program, expectant mothers as well as post-partum mothers received education on self-care, exercise, diet, mental health, fetal development, breast feeding, return to work, etc. A team consisting of occupational therapist, psychologist, a physical therapist, a teacher, and nutritionist were led by a program manager who provided information about rules and regulations, laws, government policies regarding pregnancy, documentation required etc.

5 local hospitals agreed to partner in the program with written letter of acceptance from the Chief Medical Officers. More than 5000 women underwent the training in different centers in a period of 8 months in 2019-2020.

The results were extremely positive. It was surprising to see older caretakers were very receptive to the information and were amenable to change their old ways. They were eager to seek more data and had appropriate questions for the team. The team used ‘Read me Back’ method to ensure the participants’ understanding of the topics where the participants answered questions or demonstrated exercises. Many first time mothers also reported to feel more empowered due to the information provided in the sessions. All the participants were grateful for the program and some expressed their appreciation verbally. However, a random pre-post intervention research design is needed to check the effectiveness of the program quantitatively.

Thus, occupational therapy is an essential service for regular clients of obstetrics and gynecology. This service can work as a great ad on to assist in reducing the risk of low birth weight in infants that has been associated with lack of nutrition/ nutritional information in pregnant mothers and to improve quality of life in these expectant mothers.