Postpartum OCD includes OCD symptoms that are exacerbated after the birth of a child. Once a child is born, OCD within an individual can take on any category or subtype (i.e. scrupulosity, contamination, intrusive thoughts). However, the thoughts are usually centered around their baby. These intrusive thoughts may include fear of harming their baby or causing some type of harm to come to the baby. These thoughts cause significant distress and rituals surrounding these intrusive thoughts may include checking behaviors (checking that the baby is okay) and reassurance seeking (seeking reassurance that the baby is okay, and no harm was done to the baby). This form of OCD onsets following the birth of a child and affects about 6% of first-time mothers.
Some examples of this may include:
- If I don’t pray correctly, my baby will be harmed.
- If I do not wash my hands after I eat, I will contaminate my baby.
- When I changed my baby’s diaper, did I touch them inappropriately?
- What if I impulsively try to drown or hurt my baby?