Are New Moms OCD?
Anew mother may constantly worry and check to see if her baby is still breathing. Or she may fret about germs, obsessing whether she’s properly sterilized the bottles, then wash and rewash them.
new Northwestern Medicine® study found that women who have recently given birth have a much higher rate of obsessive-compulsive symptoms than the general population. The study found 11 percent of women at two weeks and six months postpartum experience significant obsessive-compulsive symptoms compared to 2 to 3 percent in the general population. This is the first large-scale longitudinal study of obsessivecompulsive symptoms in the postpartum period. These symptoms, including fear of injuring the baby and worry about germs, are usually temporary and could result from hormonal changes or be an adaptive response to caring for a new baby, researchers said. But if the compulsions interfere with a mother’s functioning, they may indicate a psychological disorder. “It may be that certain kinds of obsessions and compulsions are adaptive and appropriate for a new parent, for example those about cleanliness and hygiene,” said study senior author Dana Gossett, M.D., chief and assistant professor of obstetrics and