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10 Signs You Have Postpartum OCD: Don't Ignore Them!


Postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is one of the most underdiagnosed and underestimated postpartum mental health issues. These are not just passing thoughts or silly rituals; they are real symptoms that need attention. OCD is characterized by unwanted, recurring thoughts and ideas called obsessions, as well as a series of actions called compulsions. Depending on the individual, these obsessions and compulsions may be neutral, positive, negative or even repulsive. The good news is that postpartum OCD is treatable with therapy and medication if necessary. It’s also important to note that these symptoms do not represent a mother’s love for her child—every parent has doubts about their ability to raise their child at some point in time. However, if you experience any of these symptoms during the first year after birth, it could be a sign of postpartum OCD and you should seek help from a trusted professional such as your general practitioner or a therapist.

Recognize the Signs of Postpartum OCD

Postpartum OCD usually appears during the first year after birth; it is not uncommon to have obsessive thoughts during the pregnancy and postpartum period, but they should be fleeting. If you find that your obsessions are persistent and cause significant distress, you may be suffering from postpartum OCD.

1.You Have Unwanted Thoughts and Feelings

Unwanted thoughts and feelings are common in almost all postpartum women. For example, you may find yourself obsessing about what would happen if you drop your baby or if you accidentally hurt your child while playing with him or her.

2.You Develop Repetitive Behaviours

Repetitive behaviours are the irrational rituals you feel compelled to perform. For example, you may feel the need to wash your hands excessively, regardless of whether or not they are dirty and without any rational reason. You may also find yourself checking your child excessively for signs of injury or illnesses.

3.You Have Constant Fear of Harm to Your Child

If you have constant fear of harm to your child, you may be suffering from postpartum OCD. The severity of this symptom may vary from person to person. For example, you may have fear of harm to your child when you drop him or her or when you hold too tightly. You may be afraid to use certain baby products or items of furniture that you think may harm your child.

4. You Exhibit Irrational behaviours and Beliefs

Obsessions may also manifest in irrational behaviours and beliefs. For example, you may believe that you need to carry or touch your newborn baby with 10 fingers. You may also believe that something terrible would happen to your baby if you don’t follow certain rituals.

5.You Have Severe Anxiety and/or Depression

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a common condition in which postpartum women experience symptoms of depression and/or anxiety. Postpartum anxiety is characterized by intrusive thoughts and feelings of panic, distress, and/or impending doom. It can be a sign of an underlying mental illness, such as PTSD or depression (which may be a precursor to postpartum OCD).


Postpartum OCD is a real condition that deserves attention. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is important to seek help. First, talk to your partner and your loved ones about your symptoms and request their support. Second, seek professional help from your general practitioner or a therapist. Although there is no cure for postpartum OCD, with help you can learn to manage your symptoms and lead a healthy, happy and normal life.

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