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Current Psychiatry Reviews


ISSN (Print): 1573-4005
ISSN (Online): 1875-6441

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in the Perinatal Period: A Review of the Literature

Author(s): Shaila Misri and Kristin Kendrick

Volume 3 , Issue 4 , 2007

Page: [265 - 270] Pages: 6

DOI: 10.2174/157340007782408905

Price: $65


Few studies have examined Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) during the perinatal period. Existing data suggest there to be increased rates of OCD during this vulnerable period, with both new onsets and exacerbation of preexisting symptoms. The course of perinatal OCD appears to be varied, although trends suggest that symptoms in women with pre-existing OCD are likely to remain consistent throughout pregnancy and become exacerbated after delivery. Symptoms of OCD specifically associated with the perinatal period consist of: fears of contamination or germs regarding the fetus or infant, fears of intentional or accidental harm to the fetus or neonate, and fear of losing the baby. Associated compulsions are excessive washing and cleaning, avoidant behavior, and checking behaviors. Although many theories exist attempting to account for the etiology of OCD to this point it remains unclear. Both pharmacological treatments and psychological treatments have shown promise for treating perinatal OCD. Further research in this area is necessary for clinicians to better understand how to diagnose and treat OCD in pregnancy and the postpartum period.

Keywords: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, anxiety, pregnancy, postpartum, perinatal

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