Obsessive-compulsive symptoms during the postpartum period: A prospective cohort

Emily S. Miller, Christine Chu, Jacqueline Gollan, Dana R. Gossett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Objective: To estimate the prevalence of postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms and to ascertain risk factors for this condition. Study Design: This is a prospective cohort of postpartum women carried out from June to September 2009. A total of 461 women were recruited after delivery at a tertiary care institution. Demographic, psychiatric, and obstetric information were collected from each participant. Patients were contacted at 2 weeks and at 6 months postpartum and completed screening tests for depression, anxiety, and OCD. Results: Eleven percent of women screened positive for OCD symptoms at 2 weeks postpartum. At 6 months postpartum almost half of those women had persistent symptoms, and an additional 5.4% had developed new OCD symptoms. Concomitant positive screens for anxiety and depression were predictive factors for the development of OCD symptoms. Conclusion: Prior population-based studies estimate the prevalence of OCD to be approximately 2-3%. We found much higher rates among women in the postpartum period. The postpartum period is a high-risk time for the development of OCD symptoms. When such symptoms develop, they have a high likelihood of persisting for at least 6 months.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-122
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Reproductive Medicine
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • Anxiety
  • Mental health
  • Obsessivecompulsive disorder
  • Peripartum period
  • Postpartum women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Obsessive-compulsive symptoms during the postpartum period: A prospective cohort'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this