Postpartum and Perinatal OCD

OCD Subtype

What is Postpartum and Perinatal OCD?

Postpartum OCD occurs directly after childbirth while Perinatal OCD occurs while the individual is pregnant. Research indicates women who are pregnant or recently gave birth have an increased risk of developing OCD symptoms. Women who already have OCD may experience an increase in symptoms during this period. This subtype tends to occur somewhat rapidly for women which increases the urge to do compulsive behavior. Compulsions such as avoiding giving their baby a bath, being alone with their baby, holding their baby, etc., often occur. Obsessions tend to center around fears the baby will get hurt in someway or contaminated. Approximately 1-2% of pregnant or postpartum women experience one of these subtypes. Some fathers can also experience these symptoms because they too have anxiety about taking care of a new infant. Research indicates there is a link between Postpartum OCD and postpartum depression; however, the specifics are still unclear. With postpartum depression negative thoughts occur which can develop into fear-based obsessions. The OCD symptoms can also create depressive symptoms.
Postpartum and Perinatal OCD

Common Obsessions

  • Fear of harm occurring to the unborn baby or new infant.
  • Fear of sexually abusing baby
  • Fear of dropping the baby and injuring
  • Fear of being crazy and not being able to handle being a parent
  • Fear of accidentally or on purpose harming the child

Postpartum and Perinatal OCD

Common Compulsions

  • Avoiding taking care of the baby or being alone with the infant
  • Fighting intrusive thoughts/distracting self
  • Providing self-reassurance that they will not harm their child
  • Having their spouse be in the room with them always
  • Praying rituals
  • Confessing their thoughts to others
  • Seeking reassurance from others

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Intake Session

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