Researchers Say They Can Prevent Postpartum OCD

postpartum depressionPsychologists say they have found a way to prevent or at least seriously reduce the incidence of postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder or postpartum OCD.  Researchers from the University of Miami, Florida State University and the University of North Carolina found that identifying mothers at risk for postpartum OCD and putting them into a prevention program that included cognitive behavioral therapy techniques helped reduced the mothers’ anxiety and OCD symptoms.   Their findings have been published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research.

As reported in Science Daily:

“Participants were a group of 71 expecting mothers at risk for developing postpartum OCD symptoms. Half of the group was in a class that included the prevention program, the other half was in a regular childbirth education class (control group). The mothers were followed for six months after the birth of their babies. The program included information on the warning signs of anxiety and OCD, as well as specific techniques for how to deal with the symptoms.

The prevention program was successful in reducing both the incidence of obsessive compulsive symptoms and how distressing they were. Compared to the control group, the mothers in the prevention program experienced less anxiety after the babies were born and they maintained this effect for at least six months postpartum. The team also found that the intervention reduced those thinking styles that put a mom at risk to begin with.”

Photo credit: © Vanessa –


About Katherine Stone

is the founder of Postpartum Progress. She has been named a WebMD Health Hero, one of the fiercest women in America by More magazine, and one of the top 20 Social Media Moms by Working Mother magazine. She is a survivor of postpartum OCD.

Tell Us What You Think


  1. Interesting. So often moms-to-be are resistant to getting the information about anything related to "PPD" prior to actually having it. Moms-to-be at a baby expo a few years ago demonstrated this. They walked a WIDE half circle past our information table even though we had great booths on either side of us. Seriously, they did not just walk a straight line past–they veered. Over 20 hours, the only moms that stopped by were grandmas and moms who had already had the experience–they were so happy to see us there. Dads stopped by as well, "just in case." One mom-to-be stopped by "in case I need it." 1 mom-to-be. ONE.

    I wonder how they enrolled the women?

  2. I think this would have helped me. I am now 13 months pp and got help at 6 months pp after suffering since my son was born. He is my first baby and had I known what I was going through was a postpartum mood disorder I would have reached out much sooner. Instead I thought my crazy thoughts were REAL and had anxiety/panic attacks because of them. I never had any symptoms of depression or compulsions…just those terrible thoughts. I hope doctors see this article and take action, however, I think all mothers who have been through this should spread the word so other new moms who might be suscepible are in the know. We owe it to the future generations of moms to pass on the warning signs and perhaps then we can prevent some of this misery.

    • I completely understand, I thought I was a monster and had to learn to separate myself from my thoughts. i spent a week in the hospital because I was so freaked out by my thoughts, It was a very scary time.