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


A randomized, double-blind study on efficacy and safety of sepranolone in premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

Bäckström T, Ekberg K, Hirschberg AL, Bixo M, Epperson CN, Briggs P, Panay N, O’Brien S.

Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2021 Nov;133:105426.

The results indicate that sepranolone reduces symptoms, impairment, and distress in women with PMDD at the 10 mg dosage. Sepranolone was well tolerated, and no safety concerns were identified.


No articles this week


Management of anorexia nervosa in pregnancy: a systematic and state-of-the-art review.

Galbally M, Himmerich H, Senaratne S, Fitzgerald P, Frost J, Woods N, Dickinson JE.

Lancet Psychiatry. 2022 Mar 24:S2215-0366(22)00031-1.

This review provides multidisciplinary recommendations for clinical care in this area. Managing anorexia nervosa in pregnancy is an area of clinical care that requires a multidisciplinary approach and includes those experienced in managing high-risk pregnancies.

Risk factors of perinatal depression in women: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Yang K, Wu J, Chen X. BMC Psychiatry. 2022;22(1):63.

Thirty-one studies with an overall sample size of 79,043 women were included in the review. Lower educational level, poor economic status of families, history of mental illness, domestic violence, perinatal smoking or drinking, and multiparity serve as risk factors of perinatal depression in women.

Screening programs for common maternal mental health disorders among perinatal women: report of the systematic review of evidence.

Waqas A, Koukab A, Meraj H, Dua T, Chowdhary N, Fatima B, Rahman A.

BMC Psychiatry. 2022 Jan 24;22(1):54. d

For women in the perinatal period, do screening programmes for perinatal depression and anxiety compared with no screening improve maternal mental health and infant outcomes?A series of meta-analyses reveal a reduction in perinatal depression and anxiety among perinatal women undergoing screening programs. For the outcome of depressive disorder, meta-analysis indicates a positive impact in favor of the intervention group (OR = 0.55).

Perinatal depression is associated with a higher polygenic risk for major depressive disorder than non-perinatal depression.

Kiewa J, Meltzer-Brody S, Milgrom J, Guintivano J, Hickie IB, Whiteman DC, Olsen CM, Colodro-Conde L, Medland SE, Martin NG, Wray NR, Byrne EM.

Depress Anxiety. 2022 Mar;39(3):182-191.

Distinctions between major depressive disorder (MDD) and perinatal depression reflect varying views of perinatal depression, from a unique etiological subtype of MDD to an MDD episode that happens to coincide with childbirth. In a case-control study investigating genetic differences between perinatal depression and MDD outside the perinatal period (non-perinatal depression), perinatal depression had a high genetic overlap with MDD, but also points of distinction focusing on differential expression in ovarian tissue. Higher MDD polygenic scores were observed, particularly for women experiencing both antenatal and postpartum depression.

Exercise and yoga during pregnancy and their impact on depression: a systematic literature review.

Jarbou NS, Newell KA.

Arch Womens Ment Health. 2022 Mar 14.

The evidence suggests that exercise of various types in pregnancy can reduce depressive and/or anxiety symptoms in the perinatal period in otherwise healthy women. Specifically in women with antenatal depression, the incorporation of yoga in pregnancy can improve depressive/anxiety symptoms in the perinatal period; however, this is based on a small number of studies, and it is not clear whether this is superior to non-exercise controls. Further studies are needed to determine the potential therapeutic effects of exercise of various types during pregnancy on symptoms of antenatal depression.

Quality of Life in Mothers With Perinatal Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

Li J, Yin J, Waqas A, Huang Z, Zhang H, Chen M, Guo Y, Rahman A, Yang L, Li X.

Front Psychiatry. 2022 Feb 15;13:734836.


Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor Pharmacokinetics During Pregnancy: Clinical and Research Implications.

Poweleit EA, Cinibulk MA, Novotny SA, Wagner-Schuman M, Ramsey LB, Strawn JR.

Front Pharmacol. 2022 Feb 25;13:833217.

Examining differences in placental efficiency following exposure to antidepressants and current depression: Findings from an Australian pregnancy cohort study.

Galbally M, Watson SJ, Spigset O, Lappas M, Walker S, Lewis AJ.

Placenta. 2022 Mar 4;119:44-51.

Antidepressant use in pregnancy was not associated with significant changes in placental efficiency after adjustment for confounding variables.


Maternal pain during pregnancy dose-dependently predicts postpartum depression: The Japan Environment and Children’s Study.

Shigematsu-Locatelli M, Kawano T, Yasumitsu-Lovell K, Locatelli FM, Eitoku M, Suganuma N; Japan Environment and Children’s Study Group.

J Affect Disord. 2022 Apr 15;303:346-352.

Data were analyzed from the Japan Environment and Children’s Study (JECS), a nationwide prospective birth cohort study. Information on prenatal pain was collected twice during pregnancy through self-administered questionnaires. Those with persistent pain both at the first and the second/third trimesters showed the highest risk for PPD: aRR = 1.95.

App-Based Ecological Momentary Assessment to Enhance Clinical Care for Postpartum Depression: Pilot Acceptability Study.

Krohn H, Guintivano J, Frische R, Steed J, Rackers H, Meltzer-Brody S.

JMIR Form Res. 2022 Mar 23;6(3):e28081. Free article.

Using ecological momentary assessment to track daily symptoms of postpartum depression using a wearable device was largely endorsed as acceptable and clinically useful by participants and the study clinician.

Postpartum hemorrhage and postpartum depressive symptoms: A retrospective cohort study.

Wang K, Qiu J, Meng L, Lai X, Yao Z, Peng S. Depress Anxiety. 2022;39(3):246-253.

Puerperal women with PPH were more likely to screen positive for postpartum depressive symptoms than those without PPH (16.4% vs. 11.7%, p = .016).

Paternal prevalence and risk factors for comorbid depression and anxiety across the first 2 years postpartum: A nationwide Canadian cohort study.

Dennis CL, Marini F, Dol J, Vigod SN, Grigoriadis S, Brown HK.

Depress Anxiety. 2022 Mar;39(3):233-245.

Overall, 569 fathers (22.4%) had comorbid depression and anxiety symptoms at some point during the first year postpartum (2.2% at baseline to 8.9% at 6 months), and 323 fathers (13.2%) had comorbidity at some point during their second year postpartum (8.1% at 18 months and 8.6% at 24 months). Strongest risk factors associated with paternal comorbidity were poor or fair perceived health at 4 weeks postpartum, depression before pregnancy, anxiety in the current pregnancy, significant adverse childhood experiences, positive ADHD screen, and victim of intimate partner violence.


No articles this week


Prenatal tobacco and alcohol exposures and the risk of anxiety symptoms in young adulthood: A population-based cohort study.

Duko B, Pereira G, Tait RJ, Betts K, Newnham J, Alati R.

Psychiatry Res. 2022 Apr;310:114466.

After adjusting for potential confounders, this study observed increased risks of experiencing symptoms of anxiety in young adults exposed to prenatal tobacco in the first trimester [RR = 1.52, 95% CI: 1.12-2.06, p-value < 0.01] and third trimester [RR = 1.53, 95% CI: 1.10-2.13, p-value = 0.02]. There was a dose response association between prenatal tobacco exposure and increasing anxiety symptoms in offspring.


A positive parenting program to enhance positive affect in children of previously depressed mothers.

Cullum KA, Goodman SH, Garber J, Korelitz K, Sutherland S, Stewart J.

J Fam Psychol. 2022 Mar 10.

Children of mothers with a history of depression are at heightened risk for developing depression and other maladaptive outcomes. Deficits in parenting are one putative mechanism underlying the transmission of risk from mother to child. Children of mothers participating in a positive parenting intervention showed increases in positive affect as compared to children of mothers in the attention control intervention. Increases in mothers’ active listening and smiling/laughing significantly predicted increases in children’s positive affect.


No articles this week


Screen use and internet addiction among parents of young children: A nationwide Canadian cross-sectional survey.

Dennis CL, Carsley S, Brennenstuhl S, Brown HK, Marini F, Bell RC, Miller A, Ravindran S, D’Paiva V, Dol J, Birken CS.

PLoS One. 2022 Jan 31;17(1):e0257831.

In this survey, 19.4% of respondents would be classified as having a mild internet use problem with 3.0% having a moderate or severe issue.

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