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Perinatal Dyadic Psychotherapy for the Treatment of Postpartum Depression

Many studies have observed that postpartum depression may negatively affect the mother-infant relationship and may thus impede bonding and attachment and negatively affect the development of the young child.  A recent study explores the use of Perinatal Dyadic Psychotherapy (PDP), a dual-focused mother-infant intervention designed to prevent and/or decrease depressive symptoms in the mother and […]

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The Impact of Infertility Treatment on Mood: Some Women are More Vulnerable

While many women complain of psychological distress during infertility treatment, it has been somewhat unclear if the anxiety and depression women may experience is related to having to undergo infertility treatment or to the hormonal agents that are used as part of the treatment, or a combination of the two.   While we know that changing levels of gonadal hormones, like estrogen, may affect mood and anxiety levels, we have very little information on the psychological effects of the hormone-modulating drugs used in assisted reproductive technology (ART).

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FDA Finalizes Guidelines for Pregnancy and Lactation Labeling Information

Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a report outlining the new standards for how to present information regarding the safety of medications used during pregnancy and breastfeeding: “The new content and formatting requirements will provide a more consistent way to include relevant information about the risks and benefits of prescription drugs and biological products used during pregnancy and breastfeeding.”  These changes will be put into effect by June 2015.

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Medications and Pregnancy: A Focus on the Pharmacokinetics

We have an abundance of articles which address the impact of psychotropic medications on pregnancy.  Much less research, however, has focused on how pregnancy may affect how these medications work.  Physiologic changes take place during pregnancy which may affect the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination of medications.  These pharmacokinetic changes may result in lower psychotropic […]

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New Guidelines Limit Testosterone Supplements for Women

Both men and women produce testosterone. The big difference is that the levels are much lower in women, around 15 to 40 ng/dL.  In women, testosterone levels begin to decline gradually after the age of 20. In postmenopausal women, testosterone levels are between 0 and 20 ng/dL.  Various symptoms have been attributed to falling levels of testosterone in midlife women, including lower sex drive, decreased muscle mass and bone density, decline in cognitive functioning, and depression.  Some refer to this constellation of symptoms as “female androgen insufficiency syndrome”; others debate the clinical validity of this diagnosis in women.

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PTSD in Veterans Increases Risk of Preterm Birth

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is relatively common among pregnant and postpartum women. The lifetime prevalence of PTSD for women is about 10%.  PTSD is most prevalent among women of childbearing age and PTSD symptoms are common during pregnancy.  Earlier this year, we reported on a study which observed that women with a diagnosis of PTSD had an increased risk of preterm birth.  The risk was particularly high in those women with diagnoses of both PTSD and a major depressive episode; these women had a 4-fold increased risk of preterm birth.

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Postpartum Depression and Positive Parenting Practices

How does postpartum depression affect a mother’s ability to care for and parent her child?  Various studies have demonstrated that depressed mothers may be less attuned to their children’s needs, either being less responsive to the baby or, in some cases, too intrusive.  Researchers have speculated that this mismatch between mother and baby may contribute to problems with infant bonding, delays in development and emotional dysregulation.

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