Maternal Mental Health Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
According to the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder of Los Angeles, 3-5% of new mothers may experience perinatal or postpartum obsessive-compulsive symptoms. These intrusive negative and repetitive thoughts and images are scary as they usually focused on harming the baby. As a new mother, you may suddenly become obsessive about your baby being harmed or even being afraid of causing harm to your baby. Obsessive-compulsive behavior may be diagnosed before becoming pregnant. However, the combination of the stress of becoming a new mother, challenges associated with adjustments, and the change in hormones may make it appear noticeable at this point.
Signs of Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
The baby dying from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Constant intrusive thoughts of the baby being dead
Frightening thoughts and images of harming the baby
Being afraid of placing the baby in a harmful place
Impulse to shake the baby
Dropping the baby/Drowning the baby
New mothers who experience postpartum OCD are overwhelmed with negative, harmful thoughts, images, and fears of hurting their baby. If you are unable to rest and sleep due to intrusive recurring thoughts to constantly check up on your baby to see if they are still breathing to the point that you cannot relax, rest, and have a good night’s sleep, you may be experiencing symptoms of the postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Treatment of Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
A new mother should schedule a consultation with a primary care physician, psychiatrist, or Obstetrics & Gynecologist physician specializing in Maternal Mental Health Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Preparing collaborative medical healthcare and mental health provides a treatment plan for the new mother to provide medical and psychotherapy support services.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) effectively treats Maternal Mental Health Perinatal & Postpartum mental health mood disorders in helping you improve and manage your symptoms.
If You Are Experiencing a Crisis, Suicidal Thoughts or Thoughts of Harming Your Baby
If you have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, immediately seek help taking care of your baby.
· Immediately call 911 or the local hospital emergency room
· Call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK
· (1-800-273-8255) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
· Chat at suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat.
· Contact the Crisis Text Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
· HelpLine 1-800-944-4773 Text HELLO to 741741.
· Seek help from your primary care physician
· Call a mental health professional
· Reach out to your partner, close friend, or family.
· Contact a spiritual leader in your faith community.
Beck, J. S. (2020). Cognitive behavior therapy (3rd ed.). Guilford Press.
OCD Center of Los Angeles. (2016). Perinatal/Postpartum OCD: Symptoms and Treatments.
The International OCD Foundation. (2016) Beyond the Blues: Postpartum OCD.