Massachusetts Maternal Mortality Rates Rising: Opioid Abuse and Psychiatric Illness Play a Role

Pregnancy-associated mortality, defined as the death of a woman during pregnancy or within one year of the termination of pregnancy, is increasing in Massachusetts.  In 2012, there were 30.4 deaths/100,000 live births. In 2014, the rate increased by 33%, to 40.4 deaths per 100,000 live births. Because pregnancy-associated mortality rates have historically been relatively low in Massachusetts, this shift has led to further inquiry by the Massachusetts Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee (MMMMRC). In...

Menopausal Symptoms More Common in Women with History of Intimate Partner Violence

While we have identified various sociodemographic variables as factors which modulate vulnerability to menopausal symptoms, no studies (to my knowledge) have looked at how a history of intimate partner violence (IPV) or other traumatic exposures may affect susceptibility to menopausal symptoms.   A recent study looked at menopausal symptoms in 2,016 women (40 to 80 years of age) who were participating in the Reproductive Risks of Incontinence Study at Kaiser.  In this cohort, 21.0% of...

Weekly Roundup for NOVEMBER 30, 2018: Recent Publications in Women’s Mental Health

What’s worse? Prenatal exposure to antidepressant medications or exposure to maternal depression?  Hutchison and colleagues observe that worse executive functioning was observed in the 6-year-old children of mothers with higher levels of depressive symptoms.  Prenatal exposure to SSRIs did not have any significant impact on executive functioning. Ruta Nonacs, MD PhD   A 6-year longitudinal study: Are maternal depressive symptoms and Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant treatment during pregnancy associated with everyday measures of...

Postpartum Care in the United States: Some Progress But Still So Far to Go

Earlier this year the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) released a revised Committee Opinion calling for a new paradigm for postpartum care in the United States.  Moving away from the single postpartum check at 6 weeks, ACOG has made a significant change in its recommendations for postpartum care: “All women should ideally have contact with a maternal care provider within the first 3 weeks postpartum. This initial assessment should be followed up with...

Treatment of Panic Disorder with Antidepressants Associated with Better Outcomes

While we have focused a great deal on the emergence of mood disorders during pregnancy and the postpartum period, there is a growing body of literature that indicates that anxiety symptoms are prevalent during this period of time and may also affect pregnancy outcomes.  Although many women with panic disorder attempt to discontinue their medications during pregnancy, we see high rates of relapse in this population.  Understandably women focus primarily on the reproductive safety of...

In Brief: Mothers with Affective Illness (Even In Remission) Have Deficits in Emotional Processing

We have long known that postpartum depression may have negative effects on the child and may contribute to deficits in social development and emotional regulation.  Exactly what mediates these effects is not so clear; however, researchers have observed that depressed mothers tend to be less responsive to their children’s emotional cues and are more likely to display negative affect. A recent study presented at the 31st European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) Congress in Barcelona, Spain...