Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Roughly 3-5% of women (1 out of 20) experience a specific type of Perinatal Anxiety called Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). The hallmark symptom of Postpartum OCD involves intrusive, upsetting, persistent, repetitive thoughts or mental images related to the baby.
Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Approximately 3-16% of women experience PTSD following childbirth. This often results from trauma during delivery such as prolapsed cord, unplanned c-section, use of vacuum extractor or forceps during delivery, newborn admitted to the NICU, injury related to childbirth, and feelings of powerlessness. Symptoms can include intrusive thoughts, nightmares, and anxiety related to the traumatic event. Approximately 45% of women report their births were traumatic, however, not all will develop symptoms to meet clinical criteria for a diagnosis of PTSD.
When to Get Help for Your Perinatal Mental Health Symptoms
Baby Blues and general discomfort are normal while adjusting to life with a newborn. Some parents will experience more significant mental health challenges and benefit from additional support.
Call your doctor, nurse, midwife, or pediatrician if you or your partner’s symptoms don’t subside after 2 weeks or if you notice any signs or symptoms of these conditions. Your medical provider can screen for these and other concerns and can refer you to a mental health professional for treatment, if necessary.