Mass General Hospital

Harvard Medical School


Welcome to the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Women’s Mental Health, a perinatal and reproductive psychiatry information center.

This website provides a range of current information including discussion of new research findings in women’s mental health and how such investigations inform day-to-day clinical practice. Despite the growing number of studies being conducted in women’s health, the clinical implications of such work are frequently controversial, leaving patients with questions regarding the most appropriate path to follow. Providing these resources to patients and their doctors so that individual clinical decisions can be made in a thoughtful and collaborative fashion dovetails with the mission of our Center.

We hope you find this website informative and we welcome your comments.

The MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health Perinatal and Reproductive Psychiatry Program Simches Research Builiding 185 Cambridge St Suite 2200 Boston, MA 02114

To make an appointment:

Massachusetts General Hospital Clinical Program: (617) 724-7792

Latest News from our Blog

  • Low Dose Paroxetine Improves Sleep in Postmenopausal Symptoms

    August 25, 2014


    Last year, the FDA approved the first non-hormonal treatment for hot flashes – a 7.5-mg formulation of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) paroxetine which was marketed under the name of Brisdelle. A new study suggests that low dose paroxetine (7.5 mg) not only helps with vasomotor symptoms, it can also improve sleep. In a recent ...

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  • A New Strategy for Managing Premenstrual Symptoms

    August 22, 2014


    Current research suggests that women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) have an abnormal affective response to normal hormonal shifts that occur during the menstrual cycle. Some researchers have hypothesized a metabolite of progesterone (PROG), allopregnanolone (ALLO), may mediate this sensitivity. In rodents, exposure to or withdrawal from ALLO modulates GABA-A receptors and, in this way, ...

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  • New Data on Anxiety Medications and Pregnancy

    August 20, 2014


    Benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepine hypnotics are commonly used during pregnancy. However, there data regarding the reproductive safety of these agents has been somewhat mixed. Although initial reports suggested that there may be an increased risk of cleft lip and palate, more recent reports have shown no association between exposure to benzodiazepines and risk for cleft lip ...

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  • Smoking While Pregnant: What are the Effects on the Developing Fetal Brain?

    August 18, 2014


    When women come to us for consultation, we focus primarily on the risks of exposure to psychotropic medications. It is important, however, to consider the impact of other, potentially harmful, exposures that are common in women who suffer from psychiatric illness. For example, pregnant women with psychiatric illness are more likely to smoke and to ...

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  • Research from the CWMH: For Menopausal Women Venlafaxine Does Not Appear to Affect Sexual Functioning

    August 13, 2014


    While many midlife women are interested in pursuing non-hormonal options for the treatment of menopausal symptoms, they are understandably concerned about taking antidepressant medications, such as SSRIs and SNRIs, that, while effective for treating hot flashes and night sweats, are commonly associated with sexual side effects. A recent study indicates that venlafaxine (Effexor, an SNRI ...

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  • Relaxation Exercises During Pregnancy: What are the Benefits for Mothers and Babies?

    August 11, 2014


    A significant number of women experience anxiety symptoms during pregnancy, with nearly 10% of women meeting criteria for generalized anxiety disorder. Even more women suffer from milder anxiety symptoms or what some refer to as “stress” during pregnancy. Of concern is the data suggesting that women who experience anxiety during pregnancy have worse outcomes, including ...

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  • Depression and Anxiety Common in High-Risk Obstetric Patients

    August 7, 2014


    In this study 62 women hospitalized for high-risk obstetrical complications completed the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item scale (GAD-7), and Short-Form 12 (SF-12) weekly until delivery or discharge and once after delivery. The EPDS was suggestive of depression (a score of ? 10) in 27% of the women (n=17) and clinically significant ...

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  • Antipsychotics and Pregnancy Part 2: Preliminary Data from the MGH Pregnancy Registry

    August 6, 2014


    This is the second part of a two part series on the use of antipsychotic medications during pregnancy.

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  • Caffeine for Menopausal Women: More Hot Flashes but Less Mood and Memory Problems

    August 5, 2014


    A recent study of 2507 menopausal women suggests that menopausal women with higher caffeine intake are more likely to have hot flashes and night sweats; however, they have fewer problems with mood, memory, and concentration. Read more in Medscape Faubion SS, Sood R, Thielen JM, Shuster LT. Caffeine and menopausal symptoms: what is the association? Menopause. 2014 ...

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  • Anxiety and PTSD Associated with Preterm Birth

    August 4, 2014


    A recent study followed 29 mothers who gave birth to 35 premature children born before the 33rd week of pregnancy. The women were assessed within 2 weeks postpartum (T0), 2 weeks after hospitalization (T1), 6 months post-term (T2), and 18 months post-term (T3). The Impact of Event Scale (IES), General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) and State ...

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