Mothers who have recently given birth are more likely to develop the symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) than the rest of the population, a new study shows.
Around 11% of new mums will develop habits including repeatedly washing bottles, monitoring their baby’s breathing and checking the cot’s security.
This is compared to 2-3% of the general population thought to suffer symptoms of the illness.
Researchers at Northwestern University in Illinois found that most of the mums showing signs of OCD also suffered with depression, but around half did start to improve after six months.
The experts looked at 461 pregnant women testing them for various mental health issues two weeks after giving birth and then again six months on.
Researcher Dana Gosset has commented, “It may be that certain kinds of obsessions or compulsions are adaptive and appropriate for a new parent, for example those about cleanliness and hygiene.
“But when it interferes with normal day-to-day functioning and appropriate care for the baby and parent, it becomes maladaptive and pathologic.”