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. 

It’s hard to believe that September is upon us.  A few reminders.  We will continue to offer our Wednesday virtual rounds.  You can sign up HERE.  This is a great opportunity to discuss clinical issues with members of our center and other colleagues in the reproductive psychiatry community.

In addition, registration is open for our live course in women’s mental health coming up in October:  Psychiatric Disorders in Women: Diagnostic and Treatment Considerations Across the Female Lifespan.  This is a repeat of the one-day seminar preceding the annual psychopharmacology conference at MGH:  However, due to the current circumstances surrounding the COVID pandemic, we will be offering this class virtually this year.  Although this is a disappointment for many of us who look forward to meeting up with our colleagues every year, it will allow us to meet new colleagues who cannot make it to Boston in the fall.

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


Ruta Nonacs, MD PhD



No articles this week



No articles this week



Suicide Risk and Mood Disorders in Women in the Postpartum Period: a Longitudinal Study.

de Avila Quevedo L, Scholl CC, de Matos MB, da Silva RA, da Cunha Coelho FM, Pinheiro KAT, Pinheiro RT.  Psychiatr Q. 2020 Aug 18.

The odds of postpartum suicide risk were 6.50 (95% CI: 2.73; 15.48) higher in mothers with postpartum depression and 41.50 (95% CI: 12.11; 142.16) higher in those with mixed episodes than those who did not suffer from any mood disorder. 

Postpartum depression biomarkers predict exacerbation of OCD symptoms during pregnancy.

Kaminsky ZA, Osborne LM, Guglielmi V, Jones I, Grenier W, Clark K, Ross E, Meilman S, Nestadt P, Payne JL, Samuels J, Nestadt G.  Psychiatry Res. 2020 Jul 25.

Newborn amygdalar volumes are associated with maternal prenatal psychological distress in a sex-dependent way.

Lehtola SJ, Tuulari JJ, Scheinin NM, Karlsson L, Parkkola R, Merisaari H, Lewis JD, Fonov VS, Louis Collins D, Evans A, Saunavaara J, Hashempour N, Lähdesmäki T, Acosta H, Karlsson H.  Neuroimage Clin. 2020 Aug 11;28:102380. 

Newborn sex was found to moderate the relationship between maternal distress symptoms at gestational week 24 and the volumes of left and right amygdala. This relationship was negative and significant only in males.

Association of parental depression with offspring attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder: A nationwide birth cohort study.

Chen LC, Chen MH, Hsu JW, Huang KL, Bai YM, Chen TJ, Wang PW, Pan TL, Su TP.  J Affect Disord. 2020 Jul 19;277:109-114. 

Both paternal and maternal depression occurring in the pre-pregnancy, perinatal and postnatal periods were significantly associated with subsequent ADHD and ASD in the offspring, with hazard ratios between 1.42 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.35-1.49) and 2.25 (2.09-2.41). 

The effectiveness of massage for reducing pregnant women’s anxiety and depression; systematic review and meta-analysis.

Hall HG, Cant R, Munk N, Carr B, Tremayne A, Weller C, Fogarty S, Lauche R.

Midwifery. 2020 Aug 14;90:102818. Free article. 

Meta-analysis of four studies revealed a moderate effect of massage therapy on women’s depressive symptoms as measured by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) (MD = -5.95, 95%CI = -8.11 to -3.80, I2 = 0%) compared with usual care. A moderate effect of massage interventions on women’s anxiety were also found based on five studies using various measures when compared with usual care. However, non e of the trials had a low risk of bias.

Maternal stress or sleep during pregnancy are not reflected on telomere length of newborns.

Ämmälä AJ, Vitikainen EIK, Hovatta I, Paavonen J, Saarenpää-Heikkilä O, Kylliäinen A, Pölkki P, Porkka-Heiskanen T, Paunio T.  Sci Rep. 2020 Aug 19;10(1):13986. Free article.

Maternal prenatal stress, anxiety, depression, BMI, and self-reported sleep quality were evaluated with self-reported questionnaires. Despite sufficient power to detect similar or even considerably smaller effects than those previously reported in the literature, we were unable to replicate the previous correlation between maternal stress, anxiety, depression, or sleep with infant telomere length.



Maternal Use of Specific Antidepressant Medications During Early Pregnancy and the Risk of Selected Birth Defects. 

Anderson KN, Lind JN, Simeone RM, Bobo WV, Mitchell AA, Riehle-Colarusso T, Polen KN, Reefhuis J.   JAMA Psychiatry. 2020 Aug 5.

While this study raised concerns regarding the risk of congenital malformations associated with prenatal exposure to antidepressants.  See our analysis of the findings HERE.  



Development and validation of a three-item version of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale.

Martínez P, Magaña I, Vöhringer PA, Guajardo V, Rojas G.  J Clin Psychol. 2020 Aug 18. The three-item version of the EPDS exhibited excellent discriminative capacity and showed no significant differences versus the full version of the EPDS. The best trade-off between sensitivity (92.86%) and specificity (86.70%) was achieved at a cut-off score of 8/9.



No articles this week



Maternal Characteristics Associated With Preconception Marijuana Use.

Short VL, Hand DJ, Gannon M, Abatemarco DJ.  Am J Prev Med. 2020 Aug 12:

Approximately 8% of respondents reported that they had used marijuana in the month before pregnancy. After controlling for a number of factors, marital status, education level, parity, and living in a state with medical or recreational marijuana legalization or decriminalization remained independently associated with marijuana use. Those who reported marijuana use were 3-5 times more likely to also report symptoms of depression and tobacco and alcohol use before or during pregnancy than respondents who did not report marijuana use.



 Amygdala-prefrontal structural connectivity mediates the relationship between prenatal depression and behaviour in preschool boys.Hay RE, Reynolds JE, Grohs MN, Paniukov D, Giesbrecht GF, Letourneau N, Dewey D, Lebel C.  J Neurosci. 2020 Aug 11:

Third trimester maternal EPDS scores were positively associated with mean diffusivity (MD) in the amygdala-frontal tract and the cingulum, controlling for postpartum depression. Externalizing behaviour had a sex interaction in the amygdala-frontal pathway; weaker connectivity (lower fractional anisotropy, higher MD) was associated with worse behaviour in boys. 

Effectiveness of a peer-delivered, psychosocial intervention on maternal depression and child development at 3 years postnatal: a cluster randomised trial in Pakistan.

Maselko J, Sikander S, Turner EL, Bates LM, Ahmad I, Atif N, Baranov V, Bhalotra S, Bibi A, Bibi T, Bilal S, Biroli P, Chung E, Gallis JA, Hagaman A, Jamil A, LeMasters K, O’Donnell K, Scherer E, Sharif M, Waqas A, Zaidi A, Zulfiqar S, Rahman A.  Lancet Psychiatry. 2020 Sep;7(9):775-787.

Reduced symptom severity and high remission rates were seen across both the intervention and enhanced usual care groups, possibly masking any effects of the intervention.



No articles this week



No articles this week



Related Posts