Mass General Hospital

Harvard Medical School



Parent’s Suicide Attempt Increases a Child’s Risk of Suicide

Previous studies have shown that children who have lost a parent to suicide are more likely to attempt suicide than children whose parents died unintentionally.  One obvious explanation for this finding is that the parents who attempt or commit suicide are more likely to have a mood disorder or serious psychiatric illness and that their […]

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Opioid Abuse and Dependence in Pregnancy: Impact on Obstetrical Outcomes

In a recent study, researchers looked at the rising nationwide trend of opioid abuse and dependence in pregnancy and obstetrical outcomes in this patient population.  Previous research has focused on neonatal outcomes, such as neonatal abstinence syndrome; however, maternal complications have not been well-studied.  In this study, data was collected from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS), including nearly 57 million American women who were admitted for obstetric delivery between the years 1998-2011.  Overall 113,105 of those women (0.2%) were identified as abusing or being dependent on opioids.  The prevalence increased by 127% from the beginning of the study in 1998 until its completion in 2011, reflecting the growing opioid epidemic.   The increase was mostly represented in women 20 to 34 years or age.

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Pilot Study: Omega-3 Fatty Acids Decrease Levels of Stress during Pregnancy

We have long been concerned about the impact of stressful life events on pregnancy outcomes.  There is data to indicate that stress experienced during pregnancy may increase the risk of various adverse outcomes, including increased risk of preterm birth and lower birth weight. Other studies suggest that prenatal exposure to maternal stress may also increase the risk of later psychopathology in the child, increasing the exposed child’s risk of being diagnosed with ADHD, mood and anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia.

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Happy New Year: Let’s Start By Taking a Look Back to 2014

2014 was a huge year in the field of Reproductive Psychiatry.  Never before have we seen so many articles published in this specialty.  Much attention has focused on the reproductive safety of psychotropic medication; however, we have seen an increased interest in the mental health of women and a greater appreciation of how psychiatric illness in the mother may affect the entire family, including her unborn child and family.

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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 to improve aspects of the mother-infant relationship related to child development.

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