New Mothers: Navigating Challenges with Occupational Therapy

New mothers undergo a whirlwind of changes, from the euphoria of childbirth to the daunting reality of sleepless nights and hormonal fluctuations. Amidst this rollercoaster, many face hurdles in physical recovery, managing hormonal imbalances, coping with sleep disturbances, and adapting to shifts in family dynamics. For occupational therapists (OTs), addressing these challenges requires effective screening tools tailored to maternal wellness.

The Barkin Index of Maternal Functioning (BIMF)

The BIMF emerges as a beacon of hope in maternal healthcare. This questionnaire delves into various facets of maternal well-being, offering insights into the mother’s occupational performance during the transition to motherhood. But does it truly measure up to the task?

Assessing BIMF’s Suitability

A recent study published in the Wiley Online Library scrutinizes BIMF’s efficacy in identifying occupational performance issues [1]. The findings are illuminating:

  1. Accuracy: Researchers found that BIMF demonstrates commendable accuracy in pinpointing occupational performance challenges faced by new mothers.
  2. Reliability: The study underscores BIMF’s reliability as a screening tool, providing consistent and replicable results across diverse populations.
  3. Validity: BIMF’s validity receives validation, aligning well with established measures of maternal well-being and occupational performance.

Bridging the Gap with Occupational Therapy

Armed with BIMF, occupational therapists can now navigate the intricate landscape of new motherhood with precision and empathy. By identifying key areas of concern early on, OTs can tailor interventions to address physical, emotional, and social needs effectively.

Crafting Holistic Interventions

  1. Physical Recovery: OTs can design customized rehabilitation programs to aid in postpartum recovery, focusing on exercises to alleviate pain, enhance mobility, and restore function.
  2. Hormonal Balance: Through counseling and support, OTs empower mothers to manage hormonal fluctuations, fostering emotional resilience and well-being.
  3. Sleep Hygiene: OTs collaborate with sleep specialists to develop strategies promoting healthy sleep habits, ensuring optimal rest for both mother and baby.
  4. Family Dynamics: OTs facilitate open communication and conflict resolution within the family unit, fostering a supportive environment conducive to maternal flourishing.


As the landscape of maternal healthcare evolves, occupational therapists stand at the forefront, armed with tools like BIMF to champion the well-being of new mothers. By addressing occupational performance challenges holistically, OTs pave the way for a smoother transition into motherhood, empowering women to thrive amidst the joys and tribulations of this transformative journey.


  1. Wiley Online Library – Assessing the Barkin Index of Maternal Functioning


This article was compiled in our latest “The Wonderful World of Allied Health Newsletter”.  Don’t miss out on the news on rehab therapy, preventative healthcare, and our team. Get the newsletter in your inbox from this sign-up link: