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Harvard Medical School

Happy New Year: What Happened in 2017?

Happy New Year from the Center for Women’s Mental Health!!  

As we sit here in the Northeast bracing for yet another major snowstorm to hit, I have had the opportunity to reflect on the past year.  It has been another very active year in the field of women’s mental health, with about 350 newly published articles summarized in our weekly roundups.   

We continue to see analyses addressing the reproductive safety of various medications; many of these studies have relied on large medical databases and have made a diligent effort to control for potential confounding factors.  More studies have also focused on screening for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs), although we have yet to determine how best to ensure that women with PMADs get appropriate support and treatment.  And more attention has been directed to the issue of substance abuse disorders in women during pregnancy and the postpartum period.

As always we are grateful to our many readers! We appreciate your thoughtful comments and your efforts to bring this important information to a wider audience.

Ruta Nonacs, MD PhD


Highlights in Women’s Mental Health from 2017

One of the things we are most excited about is our new app.  Our hope is that we can use this tool to increase and refine screening for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.

Announcing the MGH Perinatal Depression Scale at the App Store

Hospital develops iPhone app to screen for postpartum depression (ABC News)

Clinically we are seeing more women of childbearing age who are being treated with stimulants.  Our information regarding the use of this class of medication has been limited, and it has bee difficult to advise women regarding the use of stimulants during pregnancy.   This year, several large scale studies have looked at the reproductive safety of these medications have been published.

Good News: More Data on the Use of ADHD Medications During Pregnancy

Placental Complications Associated With Psychostimulant Use in Pregnancy.

In addition, we are very excited about a new study we launched this year which will look at the course of ADHD across pregnancy and the postpartum period.

New Study at the CWMH: Course of ADHD During Pregnancy and the Postpartum

We continue to gather data on the use of atypical antipsychotic agents during pregnancy and have enrolled over 1000 participants in our registry.

National Pregnancy Registry for Atypical Antipsychotics

National Pregnancy Registry for Atypical Antipsychotics Milestone

New Research from the CWMH: Patterns of Atypical Antipsychotic Use During Pregnancy

New Research from the CWMH: Risk of Gestational Diabetes in Women Taking Second Generation Antipsychotics During Pregnancy

Many articles have focused on the growing problem of opioid use in pregnancy.

ACOG Releases Revised Guidelines for Treatment of Opioid Use During Pregnancy

Prescribing Psychotropic Medications with Opioids During Pregnancy May Increase Risk for Neonatal Withdrawal

After many years and many reports regarding the teratogenic effects of the anticonvulsant valproic acid, several agencies have taken a stronger stand with regard to the use of valproic acid in women of reproductive age.

France Bans the Use of Valproic Acid in Some Women of Childbearing Age

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

Sage Pharmaceuticals released more data on a novel treatment for postpartum depression: SAGE-547, now called brexanolone.

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


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