What is Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a condition in which one becomes inundated with intrusive, unwanted thoughts often accompanied by feeling compelled to engage in behaviors to ward off these thoughts or to avoid a feared outcome. The thoughts or images are repetitive and sometimes frightening, but stem from a place of fear and anxiety rather than unwarranted delusion. Postpartum OCD is different than Postpartum Psychosis. Parents who suffer from Postpartum OCD are more likely to take steps to avoid the things they fear would bring harm to their child, as they are experiencing the thoughts as disturbing.

While "nesting" or mildly obsessing over creating a safe environment for your child is a common experience for mothers, Postpartum OCD is a disorder accompanied by continuous, uncontrollable, and upsetting thoughts or images related to a baby. Moms who suffer from Postpartum OCD often know that their thoughts are impractical or unrealistic, but have a difficult time keeping those thoughts at bay or resisting the urge to take preventative measures. 

What are Symptoms of Postpartum OCD?

  • Hypervigilance

  • Obsessive undesirable thoughts or mental images related to your child

  • Compulsive actions (sometimes repetitive) to curtail obsessive thoughts or fears

  • Not wanting to be alone with baby

How to Treat Postpartum OCD?

Postpartum OCD is treatable with the assistance of a trained mental health professional. If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of Postpartum OCD, please contact the CFMMH or a mental health professional in your area.


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