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Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

New mothers frequently have obsessive-compulsive symptoms and may develop postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which often occurs with major depressive disorder. In postpartum OCD, obsessions often center on the new infant, such as fears about harming the baby, worrying about the baby breathing at night or excessive concern over germs and hygiene. While these are typical concerns for any new mother, in women with postpartum OCD these thoughts are pervasive and cause intense anxiety and functional impairment.

Examples are:

  • Monitoring the baby at night with loss of sleep or refusing to bathe the baby. 
  • The obsessions or compulsions take more than one hour per day or result in significant distress or impairment in functioning.

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Members of the Asher Center for the Study and Treatment of Depressive Disorders provide clinical care through Feinberg-affiliate care sites. Visit our Patient Care page for more information.

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