Symptoms of Pregnancy/Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder include:
Recurrent, persistent thoughts, impulses or images that are intrusive and inappropriate. These are typically related to the baby, and cause mothers intense anxiety or distress. These thoughts/images are not simply excessive worry about real problems. The mother attempts to ignore or suppress the thoughts/ images.
The mother recognizes these thoughts/images are a product of her own mind
Repetitive behaviors or mental acts she feels driven to perform in response to the obsessive thoughts/images
These behaviors/mental acts are aimed at reducing/preventing some dreaded event or situation, but they are not connected in a realistic way or are clearly excessive.
A sense of horror about the obsessive thoughts/images.
Other important facts about PPOCD symptoms:
The "obsessive" thoughts most pregnant/postpartum women experience are usually vivid images or thoughts in their head. These images are often like a movie playing in the mind and are typically centered around the baby. These women actually see terrible things happening to their body (in pregnancy) or the baby (postpartum), and it causes them deep distress.
The "compulsive," ritualistic behaviors often include: checking the baby, avoiding situations that cause distress (like cooking, sleeping with the baby, or taking the baby up the stairs), and/or searching for information about her symptoms on the internet or in books, etc.
Unlike general OCD, in Pregnancy/Postpartum, the symptoms of OCD are directly related to baby.
There are often co-occurring symptoms of Depression related to the OCD thoughts/images.
Mothers feel intense anxiety/worry about the thoughts/images.
The mother recognizes the obsessions/compulsions are excessive.
They cause her severe distress or significantly interfere with normal life.