Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Adult Development and Aging, Anxiety OC PTSD, Child Development, Clinical Psychology, Early Social and Emotional development, Families and Peers, Health Psychology, Human Development, Intervention: Adults-Couples, mental illness, Neuroscience.

Description: You have likely heard that the baby-blues or post-partum depression is a very real issue and concern. This is true. Postpartum depression is very much a form of real depression that is triggered by the hormonal and circumstantial changes associated with giving birth. Recognizing its signs and symptoms and treating it as we would treat depression in general is very important given the potential impact of a depressed parent on infant development (as well as on parental well-being). With this in mind what might you hypothesize (or guess) about possible relationships between symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and having a new baby? Include in your hypotheses some thinking about potential relationships between genetics, psycho-social circumstances and OCD symptoms then read the article linked below to see what research has said about these things.

Source: Maternal Instinct or OCD? Kelly Kautz, Well, Family, New York Times.

Date: August 2, 2017

Photo Credit:  Getty Images

Links:  Article Link —

So how did your hypotheses do? What is the relationship between formal OCD and the behaviours in new parents sometime called “ocd” without data based links to the formal disorder?  While the population rate of OCD symptom bursts following birth is low at 2% this rate is still double that of the general population. This suggests a relationship between birth and increased risks for OCD and 1% of the estimated 360,000 birth per day globally is a rather large number. Our understanding of the shifting patterns of risk and how they might be linked to important developmental moments in the lives of parents and children is growing. Findings like those discussed in the linked article can inform professionals (such as pediatricians and GP’s) and others (if information is made generally available) about the sorts of negative and positive issues possibly associated with moments of developmental life change. With this knowledge we can respond more quickly and more effectively when developmental advancements are put at risk.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How are symptoms of depression or OCD related to life events such as giving birth?
  2. What information should be generated and provided to professionals such as pediatricians and GP’s in relation to OCD and new parents?
  3. What additional research is needed if we are to properly engage in the actions suggested in question 2 above or to make information about things like OCD and birth available to the public in general?

References (Read Further):

Abramowitz, Jonathon (2017) Beyond the Blues: Postpartum OCD. Accessed August 2017,

National Institute of Mental Health (2016) Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, accessed August 2017,

Fairbrother, N., & Woody, S. R. (2008). New mothers’ thoughts of harm related to the newborn. Archives of women’s mental health, 11(3), 221-229.

Fairbrother, N., Barr, R. G., Pauwels, J., Brant, R., & Green, J. (2015). Maternal thoughts of harm in response to infant crying: An experimental analysis. Archives of women’s mental health, 18(3), 447-455.