Tuesday, March 01, 2022

Thoughts of harming baby a normal but unpleasant part of postpartum experience




 News Release 1-Mar-2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication
University of British Columbia


Many new mothers experience unwanted and intrusive thoughts about intentionally harming their babies, but those thoughts don’t appear to increase the likelihood that they will actually harm their newborn, according to a new UBC study.

The researchers note that such thoughts should be discussed with new mothers as a normal, albeit unpleasant and likely distressing, postpartum experience. In the absence of any additional risk factors, however, they do not represent a risk to infant safety.


 Out of 763 surveyed postpartum participants in B.C., a total of 388 provided data through questionnaires and interviews in order to assess “unwanted, intrusive thoughts” (UITs) of infant-related harm, OCD and maternal aggression towards the infant.

Among the 151 women who reported UITs of intentional harm, four reported behaving aggressively towards their infant—resulting in an estimated prevalence of 2.6 per cent—compared to 3.1 per cent in women who did not report this ideation.

In other words, there was less than one per cent difference between the two groups. [Actually, less than one percentage point difference.]


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