Pregnancy / Childbirth

Mental disorders after delivery

Mental disorders after delivery

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It starts quite innocently: thoughts focusing on child safety. A young mother may have trouble falling asleep, imagining that when she finally squints, the child will stop breathing. He may be afraid that the newborn will have a problem with freeing himself from under the blanket or pillow, that it will rain and choke, or whether his whimper will be too quiet for her to hear.

Similar anxieties are fairly typical and should not theoretically pose a threat or worry. Unfortunately, in one in ten cases they are ... dangerous. Just like the mental disorders after delivery: postpartum psychosis and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder after delivery

Dr. Dana Gossett Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine researches my mother's susceptibility to mental illness. Nand at the turn of March and April, together with colleagues, he published research results in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine, which prove that young mothers are more likely to have mild to moderate symptoms of obsessive disorderno-compulsive disorder (obsessive compulsive disorder) after delivery.

Most often, the symptoms of the disorder appear on two weeks and six months after childbirth. Such problems are to concern as many as 11% of all young mothers. For comparison: in the general population, obsessive-compulsive disorder affects only 2-3% of the population.

A high percentage of cases among young mothers (11%) surprised the researchers themselves. As they admit, they expected a higher value than 2-3%, but not five times.

The study was conducted on 461 mothers, 95% of them gave birth on time, 55% natural and 37% Caesarean section. Only 8% of mothers survived traumatic delivery (e.g. due to the necessity of hospitalization of a sick child for a long time). In 50% of cases, the disease disappeared six months after the baby was born. The remaining half of the young mothers significantly decreased, but continued after the study.

The classic signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder after childbirth were:

  • intrusive thoughts
  • ritual behaviors that are intended to reduce tension (e.g. repeatedly checking if the child is breathing, repeatedly washing a bottle that has already been washed and scalded, fear of injury to the child, etc.): all activities are repeated many times on the same day, they do not allow you to do anything else before will not take care of them.

When should you worry?

Obsessive care for the newborn baby, diligence in performing the simplest activities, of course, are not yet a symptom of the disease. The problem only starts when the symptoms are severe and interfere with the mother's daily functioning.