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Author Archive | MGH Center for Women's Mental Health

Maternal Smoking During Pregnancy Associated with Psychiatric Illness in Offspring

  In the United States, the prevalence of smoking in pregnant women has declined; however, according to data gathered from 29 states by the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), about 13% of women smoked during the last 3 months of pregnancy.  The prevalence varied according to state, with the highest rates reported in West […]

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

  About 1.4 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with ADHD, and about 60-80% of children diagnosed with ADHD will need to take their medication into adulthood. When girls diagnosed in childhood become reproductive-aged women, they face challenging decisions regarding how to proceed with their treatment when they are also family planning. There […]

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

  Illicit opioid use has steadily increased over the past decade, and this increase is most prominent in the 18–25 age group, which includes women of reproductive age (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2013). Paralleling this increase in illicit opiate use in this population has been a significant increase in the use of […]

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

There have long been concerns regarding the safety of the anticonvulsant valproate (Depakote) during pregnancy.  Back in 2009, the American Academy of Neurology and American Epilepsy Society recommended against the use of valproic acid in women of childbearing age because of the various risks associated with prenatal exposure.  Raising similar concerns in 2014, the European […]

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Announcing the MGH Perinatal Depression Scale at the Apple Store

    We are very pleased to announce the release of the MGH Perinatal Depression Scale available free of charge on the App Store ( The MGHPDS smartphone app includes digital versions of perinatal depression screening tools including the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale (EPDS) as well as other instruments which measure relevant symptoms associated with […]

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Clinical Guidelines for Lithium Dosing During Pregnancy

  We have an abundance of articles which address the impact of psychotropic medications on pregnancy.  Much less research, however, has focused on how pregnancy may affect how these medications work. Physiologic changes take place during pregnancy which may affect the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination of medications.  These pharmacokinetic changes may result in lower […]

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Weekly Roundup for July 28, 2017: Recent Publications in Women’s Mental Health

A light week. Untreated perinatal paternal depression: Effects on offspring. Gentile S, Fusco ML.Psychiatry Res. 2017 Jun;252:325-332. Review.  Untreated perinatal paternal depression negatively affects child development.  Family-centred approaches may improve the effectiveness of perinatal mental health programs. Reduction of quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) in patients with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Yamada K, Kamagata E.  Qual […]

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No Association Between Intellectual Disability and Prenatal Antidepressant Exposure

We have long been interested in understanding the effects of prenatal exposure to antidepressants on the development of the fetal brain.  The earliest studies addressing this question were small but yielded detailed (and reassuring) information regarding the cognitive development of children exposed to antidepressants in utero.  The findings of these studies supported the hypothesis that […]

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Weekly Roundup for July 21, 2017: Recent Publications in Women’s Mental Health

There a few new articles on the impact of antidepressant use during pregnancy.  Viktorin and colleagues demonstrated no increase in risk for intellectual disability in children with prenatal exposure to antidepressants.  Rai and colleagues demonstrated a small increase in risk of autism (without intellectual disability) in children exposed prenatally to antidepressants. We will be covering […]

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