We’d like to remind everybody about the upcoming one day course in Women’s Mental Health we will be offering in Boston on Thursday, October 17th.  This is the day preceding the MGH Annual Psychopharmacology Conference (October 18-20, 2019). This course will focus on the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders in women across the reproductive lifespan. Specialized knowledge is necessary to tailor treatments to reproductive events such as pregnancy and pregnancy planning, the postpartum, breastfeeding, the menopausal transition, and menstrual cycle related mood dysregulation.


For more detailed descriptions of many of these topics, you can read the CWMH NEWSLETTER which comes out every Thursday.  You can sign up for our newsletter HERE.


Ruta Nonacs, MD PhD


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No articles this week



Childhood adversity and sleep are associated with symptom severity in perinatal women presenting for psychiatric care.

Menke RA, Swanson L, Erickson NL, Reglan G, Thompson S, Bullard KH, Rosenblum K, Lopez JP, Muzik M; WIMH Group at University of Michigan.  Arch Womens Ment Health. 2019 Aug;22(4):457-465. 

In a group of 578 women presenting for treatment, clinician-rated diagnoses showed that 65% of women met criteria for major depression, 23% for generalized anxiety disorder and 4% for PTSD; almost 30% of women had childhood adversity and 98.2% reported poor perinatal sleep quality. 

Rapid repeat pregnancy in women with schizophrenia.

Gupta R, Brown HK, Barker LC, Dennis CL, Vigod SN.  Schizophr Res. 2019 Aug 14. 

Women with schizophrenia (n?=?1565) were at higher risk for rapid repeat pregnancy than women without schizophrenia (n?=?924,657) (6.3% vs. 3.9%, adjusted relative risk, aRR 1.31.



Prenatal SSRI antidepressant use and maternal internalizing symptoms during pregnancy and postpartum: Exploring effects on infant temperament trajectories for boys and girls.

Erickson NL, Hancock GR, Oberlander TF, Brain U, Grunau RE, Gartstein MA.  J Affect Disord. 2019 Aug 5;258:179-194. 

For girls, prenatal internalizing symptoms were associated with greater initial distress to limitations, and lower duration of orienting, smiling/laughter, and soothability. Postnatal symptoms predicted slower decreases in girls’ duration of orienting. SSRI exposure predicted decreases in distress to limitations and slower increases in smiling and laughter. For boys, maternal internalizing symptoms did not generally affect temperament profiles. SSRI exposure was associated with higher initial activity level and slower declines in distress to limitations.

The effects of perinatal SSRI exposure on anxious behavior and neurobiology in rodent and human offspring.

Grieb ZA, Ragan CM.  Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2019 Aug 16. 



Imbalance between Omega-6 and Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Early Pregnancy Is Predictive of Postpartum Depression in a Belgian Cohort.

Hoge A, Tabar V, Donneau AF, Dardenne N, Degée S, Timmermans M, Nisolle M, Guillaume M, Castronovo V.  Nutrients. 2019 Apr 18;11(4). Free Article

Higher omega-6/omega-3 and arachidonic acid (AA)/eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) ratios were significantly associated with an increased odds of PPD. Women with an omega-3 index <5% had a 5-fold increased risk of depressive episode than did those with an omega-3 index ?5% (OR 5.22 (95%CI 1.24-21.88)). A low omega-3 PUFA status, alone and combined with high omega-6 PUFA status, in early pregnancy was associated with a greater risk of PPD.

Interaction between the functional SNP rs2070951 in NR3C2 gene and high levels of plasma corticotropin-releasing hormone associates to postpartum depression.

Gutiérrez-Zotes A, Díaz-Peña R, Costas J, Martorell L, Gelabert E, Sans T, Navinés R, Albacar G, Ímaz ML, García-Esteve L, Sanjuan J, Martín-Santos R, Carracedo A, Vilella E. Arch Womens Ment Health. 2019 Aug 6. 

A strong association between PPD and the interaction between the placental corticotropin-releasing hormone (pCRH) and NR3C2 rs2070951 genotype was observed. 

The oxytocinergic system in PTSD following traumatic childbirth: endogenous and exogenous oxytocin in the peripartum period.

Witteveen AB, Stramrood CAI, Henrichs J, Flanagan JC, van Pampus MG, Olff M.  Arch Womens Ment Health. 2019 Aug 6. 

Peripartum neurobiological alterations in the oxytocinergic system are highly relevant for postpartum maternal behavioral and affective adaptions like bonding and lactation but are also implicated in the response to traumatic events. 

Natural sunlight plus vitamin D supplementation ameliorate delayed early motor development in newborn infants from maternal perinatal depression.

Zhang H, Liu S, Si Y, Zhang S, Tian Y, Liu Y, Li H, Zhu Z.

J Affect Disord. 2019 Jul 5;257:241-249.   Free Article

The infants of perinatal depressed mothers displayed early motor developmental delay accompanied by increased cortisol. Sunlight plus conventional vitamin D supplement (400IU/d) were better than exclusive vitamin D supplements for the amelioration delayed early motor development in infants (p < 0.05). The infants exposure to sunlight 7-14?h/week plus conventional vitamin D supplement reached the best scores of motor development and the lowest HairF (p < 0.05).


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No articles this week



Obsessive-compulsive symptoms, intrusive thoughts and depressive symptoms: a longitudinal study examining relation to maternal responsiveness.

Miller ML, O’Hara MW.  J Reprod Infant Psychol. 2019 Aug 20:1-17.

A sizable number of postpartum women experience clinically significant postpartum-specific intrusive thoughts and utilise neutralising strategies, especially in the context of postpartum depressive symptoms. Depressive symptoms have the most influence on maternal responsiveness but it is also important to target intrusive thoughts and OC symptoms in the context of postpartum depression to promote the welfare of new mothers and their offspring.

Maternal prenatal depression predicts infant negative affect via maternal inflammatory cytokine levels.

Gustafsson HC, Sullivan EL, Nousen EK, Sullivan CA, Huang E, Rincon M, Nigg JT, Loftis JM.  Brain Behav Immun. 2018 Oct;73:470-481. 

Maternal pro-inflammatory cytokines during the third trimester (indexed using a latent variable that included plasma interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-alpha and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 concentrations as indicators) mediated the effect, such that higher maternal depressive symptoms were associated with higher maternal inflammation, and this mediated the effect on maternal report of infant negative affect (controlling for maternal affect during the infant period). 

A systemic review of maternal wellbeing and its relationship with maternal fetal attachment and early postpartum bonding.

McNamara J, Townsend ML, Herbert JS. PLoS One. 2019 Jul 25. Free Article

How maternal pre- and postnatal symptoms of depression and anxiety affect early mother-infant interaction?

Hakanen H, Flykt M, Sinervä E, Nolvi S, Kataja EL, Pelto J, Karlsson H, Karlsson L, Korja R.  J Affect Disord. 2019 Jul 2;257:83-90. 

After controlling for background factors, generalized anxiety during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy was associated with higher maternal intrusiveness. Depressive symptoms at 6 months postpartum were associated with lower maternal structuring behavior and with lower involvement of the mother.

Pre- and post-natal maternal anxiety and early childhood weight gain.

Nawa N, Black MM, Araya R, Richiardi L, Surkan PJ.  J Affect Disord. 2019 Jul 2;257:136-142. 

Maternal anxiety around childbirth was associated with modest increases in child BMI gain during the child’s second year of life.



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No articles this week