Postpartum disorders (mental health disorders starting after delivery of a child) require special attention as they can negatively affect not only the mother, but also the child and the family as a whole. Research at the time estimated that up to 40% of females with OCD reported a symptom onset during or after pregnancy.
This study by Ms. Cromer and her team aimed to test whether an intervention program based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) would be effective in treating mothers with postpartum OCD. 71 expecting mothers with an increased risk of OCD symptoms in their second or third trimester were put either into the intervention group (n=38) or a control group (n=37), both of which were part of traditional childbirth education classes. At all three postpartum assessments (one-month, three-month, and six-month), the intervention group had significantly lower OCD symptoms (below clinical significance) than the control group (which had clinically significant symptom scores). Mothers in the intervention group also had decreasing levels of cognitive distortions. This study supported the potential for including a CBT-based module in childbirth education classes to decrease the burden of perinatal OCD.
Timpano, K.R., Abramowitz, J.S., Mahaffey, B.L., Mitchell, M.A., & Schmidt, N.B. (2011). Efficacy of a prevention program for postpartum obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 45, 1511-1517. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2011.06.015