Research has found that OCD - obsessive compulsive disorder - affects a staggering 11 per cent of new mothers. The figures mean that as many mums are affected by OCD as by postnatal depression.
The findings, published in the March/April issue of the Journal of Reproductive Medicine, show that new mums are far more likely than others to report mild-to-moderate symptoms of OCD after childbirth.
The lead researcher of the study, Dr Dana Gossett, said her team were surprised by the numbers.
"We anticipated, just based on our anecdotal experience, that it would be higher than the 2 to 3 percent," she told NBC News. "But 11 percent was a surprisingly high number."
The researchers found that affected mums reported having fears about injuring their baby and worries about germs and dirt, which led to compulsive behaviour such as repeatedly checking the child was breathing, or washing up their feeding bottles over and over.
Dr Gossett said the rationale behind the behaviour or the compulsion, was the belief in the person doing it that their actions would stop the worse-care scenario happening.
"What a compulsion is, is a ritualised behavior that in the mind of the person is going to allay their anxiety," she explained. "If I wash my hands 100 times, the baby won't die."
The OCDUK support group says that post-partum OCD is often 'unfortunately, quite often misdiagnosed as being postnatal depression'.
Did you shows signs of OCD when worrying about your newborn baby?
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