Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a relatively common mental illness.
You may have had OCD before getting pregnant. For some women, pregnancy or birth can be the trigger for the disorder.
OCD has three main parts:
OCD affects 2 in 100 women in pregnancy and 2 -3 in every 100 women in the year after giving birth.
Perinatal OCD may be more likely in first time mothers but you can have it during or after any pregnancy. If you have had OCD before, you are more likely to get Perinatal OCD.
There may be many factors which cause you to have Perinatal OCD.
The main symptoms of Perinatal OCD are:
These are unwanted thoughts, images, urges or doubts. These happen repeatedly and can make you very distressed. Common examples are:
Anxiety and other emotions
These are the things you feel you need to do to reduce your anxiety, or to prevent what you fear from happening. They include:
The two main treatments are Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Medication. These can be used alone or in combination.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
This is a talking therapy. CBT helps you examine patterns of thoughts and behaviour that distressing you. You will usually see a therapist on a weekly basis. Sometimes you can attend a full course of sessions over a shorter period. Ypur GP can refer you onto services in your local area.
Antidepressants are used to treat OCD. There are several antidepressants you can try. The ones most commonly used for OCD are called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). Sometimes other medications are added.
Maternal OCD: A charity set up by mothers recovered from perinatal OCD, who can provide support via email, twitter and skype. Email: email@example.com
OCD Action: A charity providing information about OCD, a dedicated OCD helpline, email support and advocacy service. Contact details: 0845 3906232; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
OCD UK: A charity run by and for people with lived experience of OCD including on line forum and support groups for people with OCD and family members Telephone and email support: Tel: 03332 127890. Email: email@example.com
Thank you to the Royal College of Psychiatrists for the information in this section
Postpartum Psychosis (PP) is a severe, but treatable, form of mental illness that occurs after having a baby. It can happen ‘out of the blue’ to women without previous experience of mental illness. There are some groups of women, women with a history of bipolar disorder for example, who are at much higher risk. PP normally begins in the first few days to weeks after childbirth. It can get worse very quickly and should always be treated as a medical emergency. Most women need to be treated with medication and admitted to hospital.
Postpartum psychosis (PP) is a serious, but rare, diagnosis occurring in around one in 1,000 births.
It is not clear what causes postpartum psychosis, but you're more at risk if you:
There are a large variety of symptoms that women with PP can experience. Women may be:
Postpartum Psychosis includes one or more of the following:
These are also common symptoms:
Most women need to be treated in hospital. Ideally, this would be with your baby in a specialist psychiatric unit called a mother and baby unit (MBU). But you may be admitted to a general psychiatric ward until an MBU is available.
You may be prescribed one or more of the following:
As you move forward with your recovery, your GP may refer you to a therapist for cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
ECT is used only very rarely. You may have this therapy if your symptoms are particularly severe – for example, if you have severe depression or mania.
Most women with postpartum psychosis make a full recovery as long as they receive the right treatment.
Action for Postpartum Psychosis
A wonderful charity providing award winning peer support, information and training
Action on Postpartum Psychosis
c/o Birmingham Mother & Baby Unit
The Barberry National Centre for Mental Health
25 Vincent Drive, Birmingham, B15 2FG
Thank you to APP and NHS Choices for the information in this section
Tokophobia refers to a marked fear of childbirth (and sometimes fear of pregnancy) that gives rise to anxiety symptoms. There is usually avoidance of anything related to childbirth, such as talking about childbirth, watching programmes about childbirth and pregnancy itself is often avoided.
Approximately 14% of women may experience severe tokophobia: many more will have mild to moderate anxieties about childbirth. Some men also experience tokophobia, with the fear usually focused on the health of mother and child during birth.
Tokophobia can happen if you have:
Symptoms of tokophobia can include:
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