Monthly Archives: January 2015

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 children share this genetic vulnerability and are therefore more likely to have a psychiatric illness which increases their risk for suicide.

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.

Folic Acid is Essential for All Women of Reproductive Age

Last week was National Folic Acid Awareness Week at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), so this seems like a great time to remind women (and their caregivers) of the importance of folic acid in the prevention of birth defects. By taking the recommended dosage of folic acid daily, women will reduce the risk of neural tube defects by 50% - 70%. In addition, women who take folic acid supplements are less likely to give birth to a child with an autism spectrum disorder.

Avoid Valproic Acid in Women of Reproductive Age

The European Medicine Agency (EMA)'s Pharmacovigilance and Risk Assessment Committee recently recommended strengthening the restrictions on the use of valproic acid in women of reproductive age.  Over the last few years, we have seen a host of articles documenting the deleterious effects of valproic acid on the developing fetus:

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.

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.