Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Prenatal and Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder affect approximately 5% of mothers. Since many OCD symptoms are also common behaviors, it is most often misunderstood and misdiagnosed. What differentiates the behaviors from normal is that they are repetitive, unwanted, extreme and interfere with daily living.

Common Symptoms

  • Obsessions, also known as intrusive thoughts, are persistent, repetitive thoughts or mental images related to the baby. These thoughts are very upsetting.
  • Compulsions, acts a mother may do over and over again to reduce her fears and obsessions. This may include things like needing to clean constantly, check things many times, count or reorder things.
  • A sense of horror about the obsessions
  • Fear of being left alone with the infant
  • Hypervigilance in protecting the infant
  • Mothers with postpartum OCD know that their thoughts and behaviors are bizarre and avoid situations that will trigger them. Therefore, they are very unlikely to act on them. 

Risk Factors

  • A personal or family history of Anxiety or OCD is the most common risk factor.

Mothers who feel they may be suffering from OCD are advised to visit the Hevlei Kesher resource directory to find assistance.