Prenatal Factors May Raise Child’s Risk for OCD

There are constant reports about what you should and shouldn’t do when you are pregnant. But, the best part of these reports are to protect you and your baby. A new study shows that certain pregnancy behaviors and certain childbirth complications may influence a child’s risk of OCD or obsessive compulsive disorder. Specific reasons for OCD have yet to be identified but there are risk factors that are associated with mental disorders. Some indicate that C-sections, preterm and breech births are correlated with issues like OCD. These factors are ones outside of the control of the pregnant woman. However, there are some that are associated with pregnancy that can be controlled like smoking while pregnant. Again, it is important to note that developing OCD are also related to socioeconomic factors as well.

Key Points:

  • 1Pregnancy behaviors and certain childbirth complications may influence a child’s risk of developing obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • 2Cesarean sections, preterm and breech (backward) births, smoking while pregnant, and unusually large or small babies were all associated with increased risk for the mental health disorder
  • 3A genetic risk for OCD coupled with environmental factors may trigger the condition

Besides smoking, method of delivery and birthweight, Brander’s team found that a low Apgar score — an assessment of overall infant health in the minutes after birth — also indicated a greater risk of OCD.

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