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



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Dose-effect of maternal serotonin reuptake inhibitor use during pregnancy on birth outcomes: A prospective cohort study.

Molenaar NM, Houtman D, Bijma HH, Brouwer ME, Burger H, Hoogendijk WJG, Bockting CLH, Kamperman AM, Lambregtse-van den Berg MP.  J Affect Disord. 2020 Apr 15;267:57-62.

Maternal SRI dose at 36 weeks of gestation was significantly associated with birth weight, as was mean SRI standardized dose during total pregnancy.  No significant associations between maternal SRI dose and gestational age or being small for gestational age were observed.

Prevalence of benzodiazepines and benzodiazepine-related drugs exposure before, during and after pregnancy: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Bais B, Molenaar NM, Bijma HH, Hoogendijk WJG, Mulder CL, Luik AI, Lambregtse-van den Berg MP, Kamperman AM.  J Affect Disord. 2020 May 15;269:18-27. 

The worldwide prevalence of benzodiazepine use during pregnancy was 1.9% (95%CI 1.6%-2.2%). The highest prevalence was found in the third trimester (3.1%; 95%CI 1.8%-4.5%). Lorazepam was the most frequently used benzodiazepine (1.5%; 95%CI 0.5%-2.5%). The highest prevalence was found in Eastern Europe (14.0%; 95%CI 12.1%-15.9%).

The international prevalence of antidepressant use before, during, and after pregnancy: A systematic review and meta-analysis of timing, type of prescriptions and geographical variability.

Molenaar NM, Bais B, Lambregtse-van den Berg MP, Mulder CL, Howell EA, Fox NS, Rommel AS, Bergink V, Kamperman AM.

J Affect Disord. 2020 Mar 1;264:82-89. 

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were the most commonly used antidepressants during pregnancy, with an international prevalence estimate of 3.0% (95%CI 2.3 – 3.7). While Europe and Australasia had pooled prevalence estimates of 1.6% and 1.3% respectively, Northern America had a prevalence estimate of 5.5%. Highest SSRI prevalence rates were found for sertraline (1.10%), followed by citalopram and fluoxetine (0.77% and 0.76% respectively).



Early identification of postpartum depression using demographic, clinical, and digital phenotyping.

Hahn L, Eickhoff SB, Habel U, Stickeler E, Schnakenberg P, Goecke TW, Stickel S, Franz M, Dukart J, Chechko N.  Transl Psychiatry. 2021 Feb 11;11(1):121. Free article.

Combinations of postpartum depression, attachment and mood scores at week 3 achieved balanced accuracies of 93 and 79% for differentiation of PPD and adjustment disorder from non-depressed controls.

The early postpartum period – Differences between women with and without a history of depression.

Schnakenberg P, Jo HG, Stickel S, Habel U, Eickhoff SB, Brodkin ES, Goecke TW, Votinov M, Chechko N.  J Psychiatr Res. 2021 Apr;136:109-116. 

While women with no history of depression showed a negative association between hair cortisol concentration (HCC) and gray matter volume (GMV) in the medial orbitofrontal cortex (mOFC), the opposite trend was seen in women with a history of depression. This implies that women with remitted depression show distinctive neural phenotypes with subclinical residual symptoms, which likely predispose them to later depressive episodes.

My job, my child, my house: the predictive value of job- and housework-related factors on depressive symptoms during the postpartum period.

Schaber R, Karl M, Kopp M, Kress V, Weidner K, Martini J, Garthus-Niegel S.  J Affect Disord. 2020 Jul 1;272:388-397.

While education was not significantly associated with PPD symptoms, low job satisfaction, high job burden, and low ministering to family needs were significant risk factors for PPD symptoms.



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No articles this week



Relations of Maternal Depression and Parenting Self-Efficacy to the Self-Regulation of Infants in Low-Income Homes.

Bates RA, Salsberry PJ, Justice LM, Dynia JM, Logan JAR, Gugiu MR, Purtell KM.

J Child Fam Stud. 2020 Aug;29(8):2330-2341. 

While maternal depressive symptomatology and self-efficacy were directly and significantly correlated with infant self-regulation, results of a mediation model suggested that parenting self-efficacy mediated the relationship between maternal depressive symptomatology and infant self-regulation. Lower maternal depressive symptomatology predicted better parenting self-efficacy, in turn predicting better infant self-regulation. 

Maternal depression and the emotional availability of mothers at six months postpartum: Findings from the Mercy Pregnancy and Emotional Wellbeing Study (MPEWS) pregnancy cohort.

MacMillan KK, Lewis AJ, Watson SJ, Galbally M.  J Affect Disord. 2020 Apr 1;266:678-685. 

Whilst results showed a small negative association between antenatal depressive symptoms in trimester one of pregnancy and maternal EA, there was no effect of maternal depression diagnosis or of maternal depressive symptoms in later pregnancy or postpartum.



What happens after menopause? (WHAM): A prospective controlled study of depression and anxiety up to 12 months after premenopausal risk-reducing bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy.

Hickey M, Moss KM, Brand A, Wrede CD, Domchek SM, Meiser B, Mishra GD, Joffe H.

Gynecol Oncol. 2021 Feb 11.

Risk reducing bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (RRBSO) leads to a rapid increase in clinically significant depressive and anxiety symptoms despite Hormone Therapy use.



Plasma androgens and the presence and course of depression in a large cohort of women.

de Wit AE, Giltay EJ, de Boer MK, Bosker FJ, Cohn AY, Nolen WA, Kaiser UB, Joffe H, Penninx BWJH, Schoevers RA.  Transl Psychiatry. 2021 Feb 12;11(1):124. Free article.

Findings support the idea that plasma androgens within the physiological range have no or only limited effects on depressive disorders in women.

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