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The aim of this review is to describe the main theoretical findings and research conclusions about obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in the perinatal period. On one hand, epidemiological studies show that the risk of OCD onset and/or exacerbation could increase in this period, particularly in the puerperium. Phenomenologically, in this stage aggressive and contamination obsessions are very common and are related to the fetus or newborn. On the other hand, regarding OCD pathogenesis in this period, there is indirect evidence to suggest the participation of neuroendocrine (e.g. female gonadal steroids and oxytocin) and cognitive behavioural variables (e.g. hyper-responsibility, threat overestimation, and mental control). In terms of research, more empirical studies are needed to contrast these specific vulnerability factors. Moreover, no empirically validated psychotherapeutic treatments (controlled trials) adapted to this OCD subgroup were found, although some studies highlight the role of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) as an effective intervention in the context of selective primary prevention.
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