Approximately 80% of mothers experience unwanted thoughts related to their new baby (e.g. infant being injured, belief that they are bad parents, belief that they will not be able to handle parenthood). When these thoughts are interpreted as true and threatening, anxiety and fear are likely to develop. Some new moms may then develop “safety behaviors” in the form of physical or mental rituals to manage their fears. Since these behaviors seem to “work” in that the fears don’t come true, the cycle continues and the behaviors become compulsive.
About 20% of women with OCD experience the onset during pregnancy or immediately after giving birth. Postpartum OCD most often involves scary obsessions related to harm befalling the newborn infant (in contrast to obsessions having to do with contamination, paperwork mistakes, order and symmetry, and hoarding). In some instances, sufferers report obsessions having to do with accidental harm, while in others the obsessions involve unwanted thoughts or ideas of intentionally harming the newborn
Common obsessions in Postpartum OCD:
Common compulsions in Postpartum OCD:
Treatment for Postpartum OCD
People suffering from Postpartum OCD are encouraged to seek treatment from a mental health treatment provider that specializes in the treatment of OCD. OCD specialists are equipped and prepared to treat a wide array of OCD subtypes, including Postpartum OCD . Like all types of OCD, Postpartum OCD can be treated with a combination of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure with Response Prevention (ERP). Contact Lauren Pellizzi to start treatment.
Specialized Anxiety Treatment