Maternal Health Collective

The WashU OT Maternal Health Collective (MHC) is a collaborative lab run by both faculty and clinicians within the program. The overarching goal of the collective is to work toward improved perinatal outcomes for parents with a focus on co-occupational engagement; mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual participation; health; and well-being. We seek to use occupational therapy-specific interventions as well as consultation and interprofessional collaboration with healthcare and community team members to improve participation in the meaningful roles and routines associated with and impacted by pregnancy, pregnancy loss and infertility, birth, postpartum, adoption, and early parenting.

The current members of the collective include:

Salma Bachelani, OTD, OTR/L
Interests: New parent support, perinatal mental health, maternal wellness, interdisciplinary collaboration

Maria Lopez Coxon, OTD, OTR/L, CLC
Interests: Infant feeding, breastfeeding, NICU transition, new parent support

Amanda Mack, OTD, MS, OTR/L, CLC
Interests: Breastfeeding, new parent support, interdisciplinary collaboration, general maternal wellness

Marit Watson, OTD, OTR/L, PMH-C
Interests: Perinatal mental health, pregnancy loss and infertility, adoption and military family support, parenting with multiples, new parent support, maternal wellness, interdisciplinary collaboration

General Description of Student Activities

Student activities will vary depending on the collective's current research and program needs. Generally, students will have the opportunity to receive training and participate in a variety of experiences relating to maternal health. Students will consider ways to address the needs of families both before and after birth. In addition, students will gain experience with collaborative interdisciplinary team approaches for perinatal care involving nurses, physicians, lactations consultants, social workers, and others. Students should anticipate spending time in an inpatient setting and/or a community setting, and completing writing and research projects outside direct practice environments.

Examples of Projects

  • Program development to enhance occupational engagement amongst women with high-risk pregnancies on an inpatient antepartum unit
  • Needs assessment for occupational therapy programming and support for specialty outpatient obstetrics clinics
  • Exploration of the role of occupational therapy in perinatal healthcare
  • Development, implementation, and assessment of an occupational therapy-based support group for breastfeeding mother/baby dyads
  • Advocacy for and education about the role of occupational therapy in perinatal care to a variety of stakeholders
  • Research study to better understand the impact of early pregnancy loss on engagement in occupational performance patterns including habits, roles, routines, and rituals.
  • Needs assessment for occupational therapy programming and support for community-based women’s organizations, including local women’s shelters
  • Expansion of the Baby Bridge program through the development, implementation, and assessment of home-based support services for breastfeeding mother/baby dyads


Salma Bachelani, OTD, OTR/L
Instructor in Occupational Therapy and Pediatrics
Phone: (314) 286-1903

Maria Lopez Coxon, OTD, OTR/L, CLC
Occupational Therapist
Phone: (314) 286-1669

Amanda Mack, OTD, OTR/L, CLC
Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy and Medicine
Phone: (314) 273-4393

Marit Watson, OTD, OTR/L, PMH-C
Instructor in Occupational Therapy and Medicine
Phone: (314) 273-7538

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