This article analyzes a series of studies published over the last thirty years on the history of the Opera nazionale per la maternità e l’infanzia (usually known by the acronym Onmi), describing its objectives, purpose, characteristics and results. The State agency was established by the Fascist regime, but had been previously considered by the liberal government, with the aim of tackling the problem of maternal and child mortality and the abandonment of newly born babies. These policies were typical of most democratic states, engaged in counteracting the decrease of natality, for which differing measures were adopted. Despite being criticized for results short of expectations, Onmi represented an attempt at change by means of assistance measures, through the education of mothers and the involvement of professional figures for "the improvement of the lineage". An experiment that, though aimed at a purported higher national purpose, recognized the value of maternity and of its protection to the extent that it remained in function in post-World War II Italy.
Keywords: Opera nazionale per la maternità e l’infanzia, Demographic policies, Fascist welfare, Maternal and infant mortality, Historiography