Objective: Maternal mental health is a population that is often overlooked by the healthcare system with postpartum depression affecting one in seven new mothers. This critically appraised topic aimed to determine the effectiveness of occupational therapy led groups on the improvement of mental health in new or first-time mothers.
Methods: 7 peer-reviewed, outcome-based articles between 2012-2022 were examined. All articles were level 1 or 2 evidence and evaluated the impact of mental health interventions with new mothers (2 weeks-6 months postpartum). The articles were analyzed and synthesized to determine key findings, limitations, and occupational therapy implications.
Results: The results of this critically appraised topic indicate that group therapies focusing on mental health through methods such as telehealth, reading educational children’s books, stress management programs, and mindfulness programs improve several mental health markers for post-partum women. Some of these mental health markers are incidence of postpartum depression, stress and anxiety scales, and perceived ease of role transition to motherhood.
Conclusion: This review indicated that the incorporation of occupational therapy-led group therapies can be a potential strategy to promote the improvement of mental health in new or first-time mothers and may help to reduce the onset of or increase of postpartum depression and stress.