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Ocd in pregnancy anyone else?

(21 Posts)
El1995 Tue 13-Feb-18 13:10:32

I don't know if this is the right place to come to but I was wondering if anyone else suddenly had ocd tenancies arise in pregnancy? I've never been diagnosed with ocd but have had tendencies in the past and think im currently suffering with it. I am 8 months pregnant and have been having intrusive thoughts through out my pregnancy. It started at the beginning of my pregnancy but not as severe, I would had an obsession for 2-3 weeks that my baby would be born with a genetic problem. I had an unhealthy obsession with this to the point where it caused me great distress, I would trail the Internet looking for reassurance. However it is my latest obsession which is really crippling me, it came out of the blue at 5 and a half months . I was incredibly happy and normal up until this point, the thought didn't even cross my mind! . I woke up one day with the intrusive thought of what if this baby isn't actually my boyfriends. What if I cheated and forgot until 5 months pregnant. Which then escalated to me searching back to my conception date to where I went on a night out two weeks before. Bear in mind this happened back in summer, I remember the entire night and nothing happened, I wasn't even drunk, I'd just had like 2 ciders but I am riddled with intrusive thoughts and I don't know what to do. It's making my pregnancy miserable, everyone I've confided in thinks I'm being ridiculous. It got to the point where I actually contacted the bloke who confirmed I was being ridiculous and that nothing happened. This reassured me for a bit, but now I'm consumed with what if I did do something awful and he's lying to me or blocked it out or I've blocked it out. I'm always anxious, it's effecting my work and my life. It doesn't make sense, I can't stop feeling guilty and doubting and obsessing over something that hasn't happened, I don't know what is wrong with me, has anyone experienced something like this in pregnancy? I feel like it's just me 😥

mindutopia Tue 13-Feb-18 13:56:22

I have OCD normally (not related to pregnancy), but it's generally well managed. I've had it my whole life (since I was a child), so I've sort of learned to live with it and cope pretty well. With a few exceptions during really stressful times, it doesn't bother me day to day. When it flares up, I have my ways of dealing with it. I didn't specifically have it during pregnancy, but I did have a flare up postnatally when I had my first. It was probably from maybe 1-3 weeks after she was born. It didn't last long, but it was just feeling really anxious and on edge and having intrusive thoughts about all the horrible things that could happen to her. I don't mean thoughts of harming her myself, just like getting in a car accident, someone else hurting her, etc. It was really upsetting. For me, learning to distract myself from the intrusive thoughts, getting more sleep, and also I think taking placenta capsules (which I'd had encapsulated) helped me. I don't necessarily mean that as an endorsement of placenta encapsulation and certainly not to the exclusion of mental health support, etc. But the timing made sense based on when I started them and when my anxiety and intrusive thoughts seemed to go away. Who knows? It didn't hurt.

In my case, because I've dealt with it so long, I've learned a bit how to talk myself down from it because I know they aren't real and they aren't rational and it's just a sign I'm anxious about something else, overwhelmed, exhausted, etc. I do my best to take better care of myself and get support from my dh when it happens. That's been my coping strategy and I haven't felt a need to seek out professional support. But as you are already having it in pregnancy and it's become especially distressing, I would mention it to your midwife and also to your health visitor when they see you. They can direct you to what resources there are in your area. I know near us there is a pregnancy and postnatal anxiety support group which I think would be really helpful if it happens to me again. They have an online group but also meet up too.

ReggaetonLente Tue 13-Feb-18 21:47:42

Hello, I just had to reply and say I’ve had OCD for most of my life and have suffered with the same intrusive thoughts as you in pregnancy - the baby have congenital defects and DH not being the father. I googled it and these are the absolute most common intrusive thoughts in pregnancy - I read stories from so many women just like us and I’ll tell you what, it made me feel so much better to read them. It might not be ‘normal’, but it’s normal for people with OCD! And what are the chances all of us have actually done these things?!?

I still struggle at times so I don’t have any magic solution. I sometimes try and imagine myself hearing the intrusive thoughts as ‘whispers’, and just brushing them off. I’ve also used some hypnobirthing apps.

I just have to tell myself - it’s in my head, it’s not real. Pregnancy is something that none of us can control, and this is my weird brain trying to claw back some control by telling me things that aren’t true. And worse than that, it’s using the things I love and value most (my relationship and my baby) to torture me!!

I talk to DH about it - I am lucky he is so understanding as I’m sure not many men would patiently listen to their wife’s concerns that the baby in her belly isn’t his hmm but he knows what I’m like and what I do. He reassures me and tells me loves me and it helps. I also talk to some trusted friends, who are kind to me and tell me (nicely) that I’m talking rubbish. I haven’t spoken to the midwife yet - I will do if I get worse, but right now I feel I can keep a lid on it all. I’m aware that my OCD makes it more likely I’ll suffer with PND, so I might flag it nearer the time.

PM me if you ever want to talk OP. It’s so hard, I know it is.

El1995 Wed 14-Feb-18 08:51:46

Thanks for your messages :-) yeah I've come across a few people that have had similar thoughts in pregnancy but my brain is telling me I'm the only one where these things have actually happened and it's not in my mind. It's never been this bad before so I'm putting it down to my crazy pregnancy hormones!

I haven't told DH about it as I don't think he'd get it and I really don't want to tell him something that didn't actually happen 🤔 Ive been to therapy and I've only told him that 'i have anxieties ' that's all he knows. Before this I didn't really know what I had and just thought everyone had these awful thoughts, but after opening up to my GP and midwife, I was referred to therapy and was basically told that although they couldn't formally diagnose me, I had Ocd tendencies.

I've also told my mum and close friends who again, all think I'm talking rubbish. I'm just struggling to pinpoint why I had this thought so out of the blue! I'd announced my pregnancy, had scans etc etc for Almost 6 months and didn't have this thought 💭 even with all the reassurance from various people, my mind still goes 'omg what if' despite me having zero recollection of doing anything wrong. I mean I wouldn't have just calmly carried on with my life for 5 months and then 'suddenly remembered having a fling with someone'. I've never ever forgotten something major like that in my life, so this should be no different Right? It's just so exhausting 😣

ReggaetonLente Wed 14-Feb-18 09:57:56

It’s probably because everything else is fine! Seriously - your scans are healthy, your pregnancy is going well, so your brain has invented something to worry about. If it wasn’t this, it’d be something else.

And it is no different, you’re right. This anxiety is a sign you’re a good person who takes fidelity and honesty seriously. That’s why your brain is using it against you - but it’s also how I know it’s something you just wouldn’t have done. It’s not in your nature.

It helps me to not give my worries any ‘credit’. It’s a tip I got from an OCD forum. By asking people, messaging people etc you’re acting like this is even a possibility, which it’s NOT. But as you’ve found, no matter what answers you get, your brain will pick holes in them, find a way for them to be wrong.

When I was younger my OCD manifested in health anxiety, and I became convinced I had HIV (for no reason, but as you know that’s how it works!). So I got an HIV test, hoping it’d put my mind at ease. And when it was (of course) negative, did it put my mind at ease? NOPE!!! I became convinced it was wrong, that I was still in the infection window where the disease can’t be picked up, or they’d tested the wrong sample.... because my anxiety wasn’t based on fact, it wasn’t rational or practical, and so rational, practical answers couldn’t cure it.

That’s why I’m not getting a paternity test, or a harmony test, or anything else that’s crossed my mind in my dark moments - because I know I’d be treating the symptoms, not the cause.

Oysterbabe Wed 14-Feb-18 10:27:34

I had the exact same thoughts re the baby not being my husband's, which is absolutely ridiculous because I've never cheated on him ever. We are both very fair and blond and I kept imagining an olive skinned, dark haired baby 😂 Needless to say my babies are as blond as can be. I don't know where these thoughts come from but they are pretty common it seems.

El1995 Wed 14-Feb-18 10:34:36

Yeah that's the odd thing, my scans are healthy (I've had 4) and my results were 1 in 14000 and 1 in 50000 but I was still paranoid like omg Its not a certain result, 'what if etc etc'. I almost convinced myself to get an amniocentesis just for peace of mind :-(

I think Mines stemmed from previous guilt, many years ago I was in a terrible previous relationship, and did end up having an affair briefly before breaking up. I am totally against cheating but I was so unhappy and needed to get out of it (nobodies perfect) and I'd never dream of doing that again, so I think my brains like omg what.if you've done it again but blocked it out this time... I'm hoping it'll stop once my baby is born.

The weird thing is, I had seen this friend in the time frame of the night in question and before the thoughts popped up (so we're talking 4-5 months) and never even thought of it! Since then I've met with my group of friends and he's been really normal, asking how my partner is, how the pregnancy is going etc etc, not something he'd be saying if he knew something I didn't.. Goodness the things pregnancy has done to me!

One of my past ocd things was thoughts telling me that if I didn't do something specific like walk around a lamppost or something like that, then a family member would die of something bad would happen.. Again I just thought this was normal 🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️

Sorry I just had some questions! How do you get over each 'theme' as it were? How far pregnant are you? If not how far in to your pregnancy did these thoughts crop up? what do you do to prevent them?

El1995 Wed 14-Feb-18 10:38:46

Same here OP, I know 100% I've never cheated but for some reason it's this nagging voice at the back of my mind like 'what if you did and forgot till 5 months pregnant' completely irrational!

ReggaetonLente Wed 14-Feb-18 11:08:11

So I’m 14 weeks. My irrational thoughts started as soon as I knew I was pregnant - as I knew they would. As a PP said I get worse when I’m stressed, run down and feel like I’m not in control - so pretty much textbook first trimester!

I also got drunk on a night out very close to my conception date, so that caused anxiety too - same as you, about cheating and not remembering. Alcohol and hangovers make my intrusive thoughts and anxiety much worse, sometimes for weeks after, so there was probably a physiological element to that too.

My ‘themes’ tend to run themselves out. I’ll think about something non stop for weeks and then suddenly, boom, it’s replaced by something else. The old theme won’t seem like such a big deal anymore and I’ll wonder why I spent so long worrying about it when obviously the real, most pressing concern was right under my nose the whole time hmm

I can talk about it like this because I’ve spent a long time almost studying my own behaviour and trying to understand it. I certainly don’t have all the answers and it still massively affects my life.

I try to take deep breaths, remember it’s not real (like watching a horror film!) and try to find joy in my pregnancy where I can. I also sometimes use mantras that I repeat to myself to block out the thoughts - my latest one is that all the people around me on the street, at work, on the train, are all products of healthy, normal pregnancies, and there’s no reason why my baby shouldn’t be the same. It’s something my midwife said to me at booking in and I liked it and remembered it.

ReggaetonLente Wed 14-Feb-18 11:09:44

And YY oysterbabe to obsessing over the baby having a different skin colour to me and DH!

Thelampshadelady Wed 14-Feb-18 11:19:53

I have had ocd for as long as I can remember.
I’m now 25 weeks pregnant and I’m noticing pregnancy related ocd creeping in.
My biggest thing is that if I don’t do something (could be small, like reopen and close a jar) then my baby will die. I know it’s absolutely nonsense but I can’t help it.
From my previous ocd experience though, I do try and ‘fight’ it because I know that the more I give into it the worse it becomes.
I do try and practice CBT which helps.
My dh knows all about it and is very supportive.
We’ve had a few problems along the way which has heighten my anxieties but we think they are under control now so it really is a case of managing the ocd.
Good luck op, I know it’s so hard when it all feels so real in your head but remind yourself it’s not true and it’s all rubbish. I find this helps, I try not to dwell and tell the thoughts to do one. The less head space they get the better. flowers

El1995 Wed 14-Feb-18 13:00:18

I'm currently 32 weeks along, I found out at 16 weeks and my current theme started at 21 weeks . I've noticed it worsened when I was tired ( pretty much continuous in my pregnancy) and stressed out also.

It began with a paranoia of being caught speeding (a few weeks before I found out I was pregnant). I obsessed that id been caught speeding despite driving within speed limits etc, I was terrified of receiving a letter in the post and having my license taken away from me (this went on for like 3 weeks or so during which time I was totally convinced of my fate and contemplated ringing up to ask if I'd been caught breaking the law)....I mean how irrational. It was then replaced with the genetic theme and finally this.

Funny thing was, I was tipsy, not even drunk, I remeber everything and I was even on my period that night... 😕 sorry if tmi. I stayed over as I couldn't drive back as I live too far away so stayed on the sofa. With 3 other people in the room (all sleeping in different places). I think I'm paranoid because this bloke has tried it on with me in the past, I've always rejected his advances amd idk, it's just fuelled these crazy thoughts. I didn't even drink enough to have a hangover the next day as I was virtually sober if not a tad merry, but that's it 🤷‍♀️

Same, my themes have always run themselves out, so I'm waiting for the next one to rear it's ugly head!
I'm starting to see how ridiculous I sound, and have had 3 sessions of CBT which is helping. Other than that, it's just sleep sleep sleep! 😴 I'm hoping it's just pregnancy, as my last load of thoughts occurred somewhat 4-5 years ago, so have been laying dormant for a while!

Roll on the next 8 weeks! Not long to go 😰

ReggaetonLente Wed 14-Feb-18 13:15:53

You aren’t ridiculous. Your OCD is fuelled in part by hormones and brain chemistry, and you’re no more at fault than ladies who develop gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia.

The speeding thing makes me even more sure that yours is partly hormonal - you would have been at the peak of first tri hormones while having those irrational, intrusive thoughts!

I’ve had them in the past about accidentally hitting someone in the car and not remembering. I’ve sat trawling local news sites and twitter for anything about hit and runs etc. Of course, I haven’t done that, so there’s never anything. That was pre-pregnancy though but you can see there’s a pattern which most of us with these intrusive thoughts follow. You’re not alone smile

El1995 Wed 14-Feb-18 15:15:32

Thankyou all for your positive comments! I'll have to keep you all updated :-) reggaetonlente, you mentioned about having the same fear as myself, I forgot to ask, if your cheating fear aimed at a particular person, or just someone you've made up or can't remember? Sorry for so many questions! 😊😊

ReggaetonLente Wed 14-Feb-18 15:39:27

This time it’s aimed at someone I can’t remember.

But in the past (I’ve had this cheating intrusive thought before) it’s been about good friends, friend’s partners... random fellow wedding / party guests... basically anyone my brain decides to fixate on.

El1995 Wed 14-Feb-18 15:48:40

My final question, I promise! When it was fixated on someone, did you outright ask them like I did? I've found I still don't believe them even though they've said nothing has ever happened ever.... I was just curious, my brain has settled immensely the past few weeks, but I do still have my random crazy moments! 😬

ReggaetonLente Wed 14-Feb-18 16:01:11

I usually asked the girls/close friends i was with, who reassured me.

I think once when it was one of my close guy friends I asked him and he was repulsed at the thought 😂😂

By contrast, one of my best friends had an alcohol blackout and couldn’t remember if she’d ‘done stuff’ with her male friend - she asked and he confirmed they had. I think it’s be really really unusual to be asked and lie about it, not to mention dubious around consent etc.

I think about it this way. I don’t even like doing it anywhere except a bed with my husband (lucky guy lol) so WHY ON EARTH do I think I’ve had sex in a toilet / club corridor / house party sofa with someone I don’t even know or like? It’s not my nature, not my personality, no matter how much I drank!

ReggaetonLente Wed 14-Feb-18 16:07:43

But my love - remember what I said earlier. Of course you won’t believe any answer you get, because it’s not about what’s true or rational or practical. It’s about being IRRATIONAL! No matter what proof you had, your brain would try and convince you of the opposite. That’s sadly the nature of OCD, and why it’s better to try and get help with that, rather than seek reassurance about individual irrational thoughts.

isshoes Wed 14-Feb-18 20:14:28

Yes I am experiencing OCD, and have since I was a kid. It is heightened at the moment no doubt due to the pregnancy. I also have cheating fears, although surprisingly I’ve not had the fear that the baby isn’t my husbands. But I know that one is extremely common.

You probably know this already, but you should avoid asking people for reassurance - eg to confirm that you didn’t cheat. It just fuels the OCD flames. Are you experiencing any other compulsions? Mine is usually to ‘confess’, which is also to be avoided. Even ruminating - ie going over and over the events of the night in your mind is a compulsion, and all of these actions serve to perpetuate the obsession.

Good luck and hang on in there! I know just how tough it is, but have been fortunate enough to have some very useful therapy and to be on a regular dose of sertraline.

appletree100 Wed 14-Feb-18 22:59:49

I have OCD in pregnancy too xx i cant even cook properly as almost every time i think i have cooked it correctly or long enough, or did I wash the vegetables alright to get rid of pesticides, were there chemicals on the kitchen top and now in my food, etc etc i feel out of control (my husband is doing the cooking!). I am just constantly anxious....when generally speaking i do not have these problems when not pregnant xxxx i throw away milk that has only been in the fridge for a day.. Just incase, had i forgotten it was in there for longer (even though i know it hasn't really).

I do have some good days though i suppose it is not constant for me.

Im 17 weeks x

You are not alone lovely x

El1995 Thu 15-Feb-18 08:52:02

Reggaetonlente I had the same thing! I asked if in the history of me knowing him had we ever hooked up and he was just like omg no, what are you going on about, wouldn't I remember doing something like that? 😂 because I didn't specify a day, I feel the urge to ask again because ' what if he's blocked that day out too' or 'what if I wasn't clear enough'. Jeez this is going to be a long 8 weeks! 😣

That's what I was thinking! I wasn't even drunk that night...I've been far far more drunk in my youth (check me out lol) and still remebered everything!

Isshoes, that's what I'm thinking, pregnancy has no doubt triggered me in to having a bit of a melt down! My 'compulsions' so to say is to get constant reassurance off of different people, and also to replay the event I've fixated on in my brain. I even went as far as to map out my movements from that night just incase I'd missed something out 🤷‍♀️ I do feel the need to confess, but there is nothing to confess to of that makes sense, so I don't really know what I'd say 😂

Appletree100 yeah exactly like you, I know rationally that these things are untrue and have never happened, but still feel the need to check, or convince myself that I'm going to be the 1 person that these things actually come true to. I've been totally fine for several years. It tends to crop up in times of stress or huge life events (in this case pregnancy). Thankyou all xx

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