Risk of OCD after Childbirth

A recent article found in the Journal of Reproductive Health (March/April 2013) that was published by researchers at Northwestern pregnancyUniversity has indicated that new mothers are four-times more likely to present obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms than that of the general population.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a condition in which the individual engages in several repetitive or ritualistic behaviors in order to help deal with intrusive, anxiety-provoking thoughts. Having a newborn is a time of increased stress and anxiety. The entire family’s daily life and expectations change. It would be abnormal for a new parent to not exhibit any anxiety or stress during this time.

If family members or friends begin to notice a new mother engaging in excessive ritualistic behaviors that change daily activities, it may be time to seek help.

Symptoms to look out for:

  • Repetitive behaviors.
  • Checking things.
  • Washing hands, putting on hand sanitizer at an excessive degree.

Do not be afraid to approach a new mother about possible concerns and to suggest possible help and intervention if need be.