My research is in the area of perinatal mental health with a primary focus on perinatal anxiety disorders.
I am very interested in how common anxiety concerns are among pregnant and postpartum women. Significant attention has been given to understanding postpartum depression. Far less attention has been given to perinatal anxiety. Knowing how common the different types of anxiety are among pregnant and postpartum women help to decide where to target education, prevention and treatment efforts.
I have also be conducting research in the area of new mothers’ thoughts of harm related to their newborn, and the relationship of these thoughts to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). In our research, 100 per cent of new mothers report unwanted thoughts of accidental harm coming to their infants and 50 per cent report unwanted thoughts of actively harming their infants. Thoughts of active harm can be very distressing to the women who experience them. We are trying to understand the relationship of these thoughts to OCD and mothering behaviours.