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In Unsettling Times: How to Talk to Your Children About Traumatic Events

Earlier this week, a deadly explosion erupted at an arena in Manchester, England, where the American pop singer Ariana Grande was performing.  One of the most horrifying aspects of the Manchester bombing is that this act of terrorism seemed to target women and children.  Among the injured and dead are young women, children and teens, […]

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Pilot Study of Telephone-Delivered Interpersonal Therapy for Women with Postpartum Depression

It is clear that screening for perinatal depression substantially improves detection; however, screening alone does not appear to improve rates of treatment or outcomes.  What we find is that many, if not most, women with perinatal depression do not receive adequate care.  There appear to be many obstacles: stigma associated with mental illness, lack of […]

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Credit: Pregnant Woman from Wikimedia Commons

Why Are We Still Using Valproic Acid (Depakote) in Women of Childbearing Age?

  There have long been concerns regarding the use of the anticonvulsant valproate (Depakote) during pregnancy.  First trimester use of valproate has been associated with a 3-5% risk of neural tube defects, as well as an increased risk of other malformations affecting the heart, limbs, and genitals. Prenatal exposure to valproate may also result in […]

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Ovarian Suppression for PMDD: New Study Suggests Long-Term Effectiveness and Tolerability

  PMDD or premenstrual dysphoric disorder has always been a bit of mystery.  We explain that PMDD is triggered by changes in reproductive hormone levels, but when you look at hormone levels in women with PMDD, they do not differ significantly from the hormone levels of women without PMDD.  Another question is why some women […]

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In Brief: High Rates of Marijuana Use in Pregnant Teens

According to data from the 2002-2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the prevalence of marijuana use was 3.8% in pregnant women (n=14,400), compared to 7.5% in nonpregnant women (n=395,600).   The investigators observed that marijuana use was higher in the first trimester (6.4%) than in the second (3.3%) or third (1.8%) trimesters.  Marijuana use […]

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Brexanolone: Related to Allopregnanolone, Effective for the Treatment of Postpartum Depression

In 2015, we first reported on SAGE-547 (SAGE Therapeutics), a new medication for the treatment of severe postpartum depression.  SAGE-547, now called brexanolone, is an allosteric modulator of GABAA receptors.  This drug was initially under investigation for the treatment of refractory seizure disorders but it turned out to be a good antidepressant.  The information we […]

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Lamotrigine and Pregnancy: Meta-Analysis Shows No Increase in Risk for Malformations

  Maintenance treatment with a mood stabilizer during pregnancy can significantly reduce the risk of relapse in women with bipolar disorder; however, many of the mood stabilizers commonly used in this setting, including lithium and valproic acid, carry some degree of teratogenic risk. In contrast, lamotrigine (Lamictal) appears to be a much safer option for […]

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Weekly Roundup for MAY 5, 2017: Recent Publications in Women’s Mental Health

  A slow week.  There is more concerning data regarding the use of marijuana in pregnant women, which is prevalent in pregnant teens.  And an elegant study from Peter Schmidt and David Rubinow which gives us more information regarding the etiology of PMDD and potential strategies for its management.     Marijuana Use During Stages […]

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Smoking During Pregnancy Not Associated with Severe Mental Illness in Offspring, But Other Risks Exist

Over the years, we have seen a number of research studies which suggested a link between maternal smoking during pregnancy and adverse psychiatric outcomes in offspring, including increased risk for bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  In a recent article published in JAMA Psychiatry, researchers reported on the results of a population-based cohort study […]

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In Brief: Beta Blockers and Pregnancy, No Observed Increase in Risk of Malformations

Beta blockers are the most commonly used class of medication for treating cardiac conditions in pregnant women.  They are also effective for the treatment of anxiety symptoms, most commonly performance anxiety. According to a report published online in JAMA Internal Medicine, maternal use of beta-blockers during pregnancy (n=4847) was associated with increased risk for fetal […]

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