Monthly Archives: February 2015

Menopausal Vasomotor Symptoms Last Longer than Five Years for Most Women

Up to 80% of women experience vasomotor symptoms (VMS) as they transition into the menopause phase. While clinical guidelines suggest that VMS typically last from 6 months to 2 years, we often see women with VMS lasting for a much longer period of time. To more accurately assess the duration of VMS in perimenopausal women, researchers analyzed data from 1449 women included in the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN), an observational study of women entering menopause.  Here is a summary of the key findings:

New Recommendations Call for Iodine in All Prenatal Vitamins

In the developing baby, iodine is necessary for thyroid function and normal brain development. According to a recent Lancet study, even children born to women with mild-to-moderate iodine deficiency during pregnancy are at increased risk for lower IQ and reading ability (assessed at age 9). The most severe effects were observed among children born to women with severe deficiency.

Ethnic Minorities at Greater Risk of Depression during Pregnancy

While various studies have recently examined the prevalence of depression during pregnancy, few of these studies have examined how being an ethnic minority may influence the risk of antenatal depression.  A new study from Oslo, Norway suggests that certain ethnic minorities may have a higher risk.

You Asked: Is Smoking While Breastfeeding Safe?

This is one of the most common questions sent in to our website.  Many women ask if it is safe to smoke while they are breastfeeding.  Smoking is relatively common during pregnancy, with about 10% of all women smoking at some point during their pregnancy. The rates are even higher among women with psychiatric illness.  While many women may be able to stop smoking or reduce their intake during pregnancy, most women resume smoking during the postpartum period.  And women who suffer from postpartum depression are at even higher risk for smoking relapse.

Psychological Distress in the Mother May Affect Levels of Immunoglobulins in Breast Milk

We have seen multiple studies which indicate that postpartum depression (PPD) interferes with breastfeeding.  Postpartum women who suffer from depression are less likely to breastfeed, and they typically breastfeed for a shorter duration than women who are not depressed.  A recent study looks at an entirely different question, asking whether postpartum stress affects the quality of the breast milk.  In this study, the researchers focused on levels of immunoglobulin A (IgA) in the breast milk.  (Immunoglobulins or antibodies are passed from the mother to the baby through the breast milk and help to confer immunity.)

Progesterone Reduces the Use of Cocaine in Postpartum Women with Cocaine Use Disorder

It has been suggested in prior literature that the effects of cocaine are partially modulated by the gonadal hormones, estradiol and progesterone, which may account for sex differences in the use and abuse of cocaine (Evans et al. 2002 & Jackson et al. 2006). Because previous studies have shown that women who use cocaine tend to use less of this drug during periods of high endogenous progesterone levels, as in pregnancy or during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, a recent study explored whether progesterone replacement could be effective in reducing cocaine use in postpartum women with a cocaine use disorder.  In this recent double-blinded study performed by researchers at Yale School of Medicine, women were eligible for the study if they met DSM IV criteria for cocaine abuse or dependence in the 6 months prior to conception or during pregnancy and were within 12 weeks of delivery.