Date of Award


Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Amy Underwood

Second Advisor

Kim Ferguson

Third Advisor

Holly Grieves


Making informed healthcare decisions on behalf of oneself for optimal outcomes first begins with comprehending basic health education about one’s own body, typical bodily functioning and bodily processes and ends with empowered decision making. Health literacy is the ability of an individual to understand and apply basic healthcare information to their personal healthcare decision making and is integral for any and all healthcare providers to comprehend when educating patients in practice. Occupational therapists (OTs) are healthcare professionals that work with any demographic of people to improve satisfaction with performance of everyday living activities and quality of life. OTs’ scope of practice allows them to address the unique needs of pregnant and postpartum mothers through extensive education, evaluation, and interventions, which includes empowering them to advocate for themselves and their family. New mothers go through recognizable shifts in lifestyle habits, roles, routines, relationships, and occupations as they transition to caring for another individual and themselves during pregnancy and after birth. As they experience pregnancy and motherhood, they seek support and reassurance through meeting with healthcare professionals, discussing experiences with friends and family, and seeking additional learning opportunities. Education and advocacy are two of the most important aspects of being a healthcare professional specializing in women’s health, as many patients experience barriers to accessing the care that they need and deserve. Increasing health literacy by providing empowering forms of education to the current and future occupational therapy practitioners, related providers, and their patients promotes increased autonomy with healthcare decision making and increased support within communities.