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Postnatal OCD: What You Need to Know

postnatal OCD

Postnatal OCD, also known as postpartum OCD, is a type of anxiety disorder that can affect both men and women after giving birth. It is estimated that 1 in 4 new mothers will experience some sort of anxiety disorder after giving birth, and Postnatal OCD is one of the most common types. If you are experiencing symptoms of Postnatal OCD, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional. In this blog post, we will discuss the symptoms and treatment options for Postnatal OCD.

What Is Postnatal OCD?

Postnatal OCD is a type of anxiety disorder that can occur after giving birth. New mothers experience some form of postpartum anxiety, and Postnatal OCD is one of the most common types. Symptoms of Postnatal OCD can include intrusive thoughts about harm coming to the baby, excessive worry about the health and safety of the baby, and compulsions such as excessive cleaning or checking on the baby.

Who Can develop Postnatal OCD?

Postnatal OCD can affect both men and women, although it is more common in women. It is estimated that up to 25% of new mothers will experience some form of postpartum anxiety, and Postnatal OCD is one of the most common types. However, Postnatal OCD can also affect fathers and other caregivers. It is estimated that up to 15% of fathers will experience some form of postpartum anxiety. Although it is uncommon for caregivers other than fathers to experience postpartum anxiety, it is still important to be aware that it can occur.

How Is It different?

Postnatal OCD is quite different from perinatal OCD and postpartum depression.

  • Postnatal OCD occurs after the baby is born, while perinatal OCD occurs during pregnancy.
  • The symptoms of Postnatal OCD are typically focused on the baby, while the symptoms of perinatal OCD are typically focused on the health and well-being of the mother.
  • Treatment for Postnatal OCD typically includes therapy and medication, while treatment for perinatal OCD typically includes self-care and support from family and friends.
  • Perinatal OCD is more common than Postnatal OCD, affecting up to 15% of women.
  • Postpartum depression is also quite common, affecting up to 20% of women.
  • Postnatal OCD is less common than postpartum depression, but the symptoms can be just as severe.

Postnatal OCD is different from postpartum depression and perinatal OCD. Therefore, it should be given the attention it needs to help make the postpartum period a little easier.

Symptoms

The symptoms of Postnatal OCD can vary from mild to severe. Some women may only have a few obsessions and compulsions, while others may have many. The severity of the symptoms does not necessarily reflect how well the woman is coping with her condition.

Obsessions

Some common obsessions include:

  • Fear of harming the baby
  • Fear of contamination
  • Excessive concern about cleanliness
  • Intrusive thoughts about the baby’s health
  • Fear of not being a good mother
  • Repetitive thoughts about the birth

These are some of the most common obsessions, but there are many other obsessions that women experience.

Compulsions

Some common compulsions include:

  • Excessive washing and cleaning
  • Checking on the baby constantly
  • Repeatedly asking for reassurance
  • Counting or organizing things obsessively
  • Needing things to be a certain way
  • Praying or making deals with God
  • Avoiding people or places
  • Treating the baby differently than other children

These are some of the most common compulsions, but there are many other compulsions that women experience.

Causes

causes

The exact cause of Postnatal OCD is unknown, but observations suggest that several risk factors like genetics, hormones, etc contribute in development of this condition.

Genetic Factor

It is observed that Postnatal OCD can be more common in people who have a family history of anxiety disorders or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). This suggests that there might be a genetic predisposition for developing this condition.

Environmental Factor

It is believed that environmental factors such as stress can play a role in the development of Postnatal OCD. If you are experiencing a lot of stress during pregnancy or after giving birth, you may be at a higher risk for developing this condition.

Hormonal Factor

The changes in hormone levels during pregnancy and after childbirth are also thought to play a role in the development of Postnatal OCD. These changes can affect the chemical balance in the brain, which may contribute to the development of anxiety and OCD.

Family history

If you have a past record of experiencing any anxiety disorder or being exposed to someone who has been through it. You are at greater risk of developing postnatal OCD.

Trauma

Traumatic birth can trigger postnatal OCD in some women. This may be due to the stress and anxiety that is associated with a traumatic birth experience.

Effects

Postnatal OCD can have a significant effect on the mother, the baby, and the family.

On Mothers

effects of postnatal ocd

If you are suffering from Postnatal OCD, you may be so focused on the baby that you neglect your own health and well-being. This can lead to exhaustion, depression, and anxiety. You may also have trouble bonding with your baby. you may feel like you are a bad mother and that you are not doing enough for your baby.

On Babies

Having trouble bonding with your baby can lead to the baby developing attachment issues in the future. It can lead to developmental problems and can also interfere with the baby’s ability to bond with other people.

On Families

Postnatal OCD can have a negative effect on the whole family. The mother may be so focused on the baby that she neglects her partner and other children. This can lead to tension and conflict within the family. It can also make it difficult for the family to function normally. It can cause other children and the father to develop anxiety and depression.

Treatment

If you are suffering from Postnatal OCD, it is important to seek treatment. There are many different treatments available, and the best treatment for you will depend on the severity of your symptoms.

Self-help Tips

There are some things that you can do to help manage your symptoms and live a normal life.

  • Learn about your condition: The more you know about Postnatal OCD, the better you will be able to understand and manage your symptoms.
  • Talk to someone who understands: It can be helpful to talk to someone who knows what you are going through. This could be a friend, family member, or therapist.
  • Join a support group: There are many support groups available for women with Postnatal OCD. This can be a great way to meet other women who understand what you are going through.
  • Seek professional help: A therapist can help you understand and manage your symptoms. They can also provide you with support and guidance.
  • Take care of yourself: Be sure to take care of yourself physically and emotionally. This includes getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and exercise.

Postnatal OCD can be a difficult condition to live with, but there are many resources and treatments available to help you cope.

Professional Help Tips

There are a number of Treatments available that require assistance of a professional:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: This is a type of therapy that can help you change the way you think about your obsessions and compulsions.
  • Exposure and response prevention: This is a type of therapy that can help you learn to control your compulsions by exposing yourself to them in a controlled setting.
  • Medication: There are some medications that can help with the symptoms of OCD. Some common medications include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and antipsychotics.
  • Hospitalization: In some cases, hospitalization may be necessary. This is usually only the case if the woman is a danger to herself or her child.

There are many different treatments available, and the best treatment for you will depend on the severity of your symptoms. Don’t suffer in silence, reach out for help today.

How To Help Someone With This Condition?

how to help someone with it

If you know someone who is suffering from This condition, there are some things that you can do to help.

  • Encourage them to seek help: If they are struggling to cope, encourage them to seek professional help.
  • Be patient: Recovery from Postnatal OCD can take time, so be patient with your loved one.
  • Do not try to fix them: It is important to remember that only the person suffering from Postnatal OCD can ultimately decide to seek treatment and recovery.
  • Be there for them: Show your support and let them know that you are there for them. Let them know you’ll listen or help however you can.
  • Do not judge them: It is important to remember that OCD is a medical condition, not a choice.
  • Never give up on them: Recovery from this condition is possible, so never give up hope.
  • Reassure them: Let them know that they are not alone in this and that you will support them every step of the way.

Helping someone who is suffering from this may be difficult but it is important to remember that recovery is possible. Show your support and never give up hope.

Conclusion

Postnatal OCD is a condition that affects people new to parenting. It can cause anxiety disorders and difficulty socializing with others. This condition can be dangerous for the baby if the mother is not able to take care of him or herself. It will interfere with the baby’s development and the mother’s ability to parent.

If you are struggling with OCD, know that you are not alone. There are many resources available to help you cope with this condition. Reach out to Therapy Mantra for help getting started on the road to recovery. We have a team of mental health professionals who specialize in treating OCD. Our specialists can help you develop a treatment plan that meets your specific needs. Contact us today to book an online therapy or download our free OCD treatment app on Android or iOS for more information.