Prenatal Program Reduces Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Lower levels of obsessions and compulsions observed after cognitive-behavioral program

THURSDAY, Sept. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Expectant mothers at risk for developing postpartum obsessive compulsive symptoms (OCS) show lower postpartum levels of obsessions and compulsions after undergoing a cognitive-behavioral prevention program as part of childbirth education classes, according to a study published online July 18 in the Journal of Psychiatric Research.

Kiara R. Timpano, Ph.D., from the University of Miami, and colleagues examined the efficacy of a cognitive-behavioral prevention program that could reduce the impact of postpartum OCS. A total of 71 expecting mothers in their second or third trimester with an empirically established, malleable risk factor for postpartum OCS received either a prevention program (38 mothers) or a credible control program (33 mothers), both of which were given as part of traditional childbirth education classes.

The investigators found that the prevention program was correlated with significantly lower levels of obsessions and compulsions at one, three, and six months postpartum versus the control group. Even after controlling for baseline OCS and depression symptoms, the group differences were found to remain significant. Compared to the control group, decreasing levels of cognitive distortions were observed in the prevention group.

"Results support the potential utility of incorporating a cognitive behavior therapy-based OCS prevention program into childbirth education classes," the authors write.

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