Every week we review the most recent publications in women’s mental health, covering topics related to premenstrual symptoms, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, use of medications in pregnant and breastfeeding women, perinatal substance use, and menopausal mental health. 

For more detailed descriptions of many of these topics, you can sign up to receive our weekly CWMH NEWSLETTER which comes out every Thursday.  

And don’t forget to visit ESSENTIAL READS – a curated selection of up-to-date and clinically relevant articles in women’s mental health.

Ruta Nonacs, MD PhD



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No articles this week



The effect of antenatal depression and antidepressant treatment on placental tissue: a protein-validated gene expression study.

Edvinsson Å, Hellgren C, Kunovac Kallak T, Åkerud H, Skalkidou A, Stener-Victorin E, Fornes R, Spigset O, Lager S, Olivier J, Sundström-Poromaa I.

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2019 Dec 5;19(1):479. Free article.

This study compared placental gene and protein expression in healthy women, women with untreated antenatal depression and women on antidepressant treatment during pregnancy.  Nominally significant findings were noted for HTR1A (which codes for G-protein coupled receptor for serotonin)and NPY2R (which codes for a neuropeptide Y receptor), where women with untreated depression displayed higher gene expression than healthy controls (p < 0.05), whereas women on antidepressant treatment had similar expression as healthy controls.

Universal prevention of distress aimed at pregnant women: a systematic review and meta-analysis of psychological interventions.

Missler M, Donker T, Beijers R, Ciharova M, Moyse C, de Vries R, Denissen J, van Straten A.  BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2021 Apr 1;21(1):276. Free article.

Overall, ten studies included depression as an outcome measure, five studies included stress, and four studies anxiety. There was a moderate effect of preventive interventions implemented during pregnancy on the combined measure of maternal distress (d = .52), on depressive symptoms (d = .50), and on stress (d = .52). The effect on anxiety (d = .30) was smaller.

I’ll catch you when you fall: Social safety nets and housing instability in IPV-exposed pregnant women.

Miller-Graff L, et al. J Affect Disord, May 2021.

Social support was directly related to lower levels of depressed mood and posttraumatic stress in IPV-exposed women. 



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The effect of ketamine on preventing postpartum depression.

Alipoor M, Loripoor M, Kazemi M, Farahbakhsh F, Sarkoohi A.  J Med Life. 2021 Jan-Mar;14(1):87-92. Free  article. 

Depressive symptoms were lower in women who received ketamine in the induction of general anesthesia at the time of Caesarean section vs. those not receiving ketamine. 

Maternal postpartum depression: risk factors, impacts, and interventions for the neonatal ICU and beyond.

Shovers SM, Bachman SS, Popek L, Turchi RM.  Curr Opin Pediatr. 2021 Mar 31. 

Prevalence rates of PPD increase to 40% for mothers whose infant is admitted to the NICU. 



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No articles this week



Maternal Perinatal Depression and Child Executive Function: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

Power J, et al. J Affect Disord, May 2021.

Poorer executive function outcomes have been identified in the children of depressed mothers and this may represent foundational deficits underlying future dysfunction.

The mediating effect of parenting stress and couple relationship quality on the association between material hardship trajectories and maternal mental health status.

Daundasekaraa SS, et al. J Affect Disord, July 2021.

Parenting stress mediated the association between maternal hardship and maternal depression and generalized anxiety.

Perinatal depression prevention through the mother-infant dyad: The role of maternal childhood maltreatment.

Berry OO, et al. J Affect Disord, July 2021.

Using a mother-infant dyadic intervention is efficacious in preventing perinatal depression.  Women with a history of childhood maltreatment  versus those without had limited response to this intervention in terms of preventing perinatal depression yet still reported an increase in infant daytime sleep.

Maternal depression during pregnancy alters infant subcortical and midbrain volumes.

Sethnaa V, et al. J Affect Disord, May 2021.

Maternal major depressive disorder in pregnancy is associated with alterations in infant brain anatomy in early life.  Infants exposed to depression had significantly larger subcortical grey matter volumes and smaller midbrain volumes.



Prescription medications for sleep disturbances among midlife women during 2 years of follow-up: a SWAN retrospective cohort study.

Solomon DH, et al. BMJ Open 2021;11:e045074.

Women who initiated sleep medications rated their sleep disturbances similar after 1 and 2?years of treatment.

Pharmacologic and hormonal treatments for menopausal sleep disturbances: A network meta-analysis of 43 randomized controlled trials and 32,271 menopausal women.

Cheng YS, Tseng PT, Wu MK, Tu YK, Wu YC, Li DJ, Chen TY, Su KP, Stubbs B, Carvalho AF, Lin PY, Matsuoka YJ, Chen YW, Sun CK, Shiue YL.  Sleep Med Rev. 2021 Mar 11;57:101469. 

The results support combined estrogen-progesterone therapy for menopausal sleep disturbances associated with vasomotor symptoms but showed no significant effects of hypnotics in this clinical setting.

The short-term effects of estradiol, raloxifene, and a phytoestrogen in women with perimenopausal depression.

Schmidt PJ, Wei SM, Martinez PE, Dor RRB, Guerrieri GM, Palladino PP, Harsh VL, Li HJ, Wakim P, Nieman LK, Rubinow DR.  Menopause. 2021 Jan 15;28(4):369-383.

This study did not identify significant therapeutic benefits of transdermal estradiol, the phytoestrogen Rimostil, or raloxifene compared with placebo in perimenopausal depression.



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