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


The prevalence of early life trauma in premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

Kulkarni J, Leyden O, Gavrilidis E, Thew C, Thomas EHX. Psychiatry Res. 2022 Jan 2;308:114381.

Eighty-three percent of women with PMDD had experienced early life trauma, with emotional abuse being the most common (71%). All types of trauma were more common amongst PMDD women than the general Australian population.

Positive GABAA receptor modulating steroids and their antagonists: Implications for clinical treatments.

Bäckström T, Das R, Bixo M. J Neuroendocrinol. 2021 Jul 12:e13013. Review.


No articles this week


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 Jan 5.

The genetic correlation between perinatal depression and MDD was 0.93 (SE = 0.07; p = 3.5e-38). Higher MDD polygenic risk scores were observed in women experiencing both antenatal and postpartum perinatal depression.

A pilot study of multilevel analysis of BDNF in paternal and maternal perinatal depression.

Kittel-Schneider S, Davidova P, Kalok M, Essel C, Ahmed FB, Kingeter Y, Matentzoglu M, Leutritz AL, Kersken K, Koreny C, Weber H, Kollert L, McNeill RV, Reif A, Bahlmann F, Trautmann-Villalba P. Arch Womens Ment Health. 2022 Jan 6.

In women, lower BDNF levels correlated with maternal depressive symptoms at 3 months pp. In the fathers, no significant correlations between BDNF and perinatal depression were found.


Association of Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension in Infants With the Timing and Type of Antidepressants In Utero.

Munk-Olsen T, Bergink V, Rommel AS, Momen N, Liu X. JAMA Netw Open. 2021 Dec 1;4(12):e2136639.


Prolactin mediates the relationship between regional gray matter volume and postpartum depression symptoms.

Cheng B, Hu X, Roberts N, Zhao Y, Xu X, Zhou Y, Tan X, Chen S, Meng Y, Wang S, Xing H, Deng W. J Affect Disord. 2022 Jan 11:S0165-0327(22)00059-3.

In women with PPD, regional gray matter volume (rGMV) in right anterior insula was positively correlated with prolactin levels, PPD severity, and the number of children raised, whereas rGMV in left DLPFC was negatively correlated with education and age.


No articles this week


Maternal smoking during pregnancy and children’s mental health at age 22 years: Results of a birth cohort study.

Corrêa ML, da Silva BGC, Wehrmeister FC, Horta BL, Gonçalves H, Barros F, Menezes AMB. J Affect Disord. 2022 Jan 2;300:203-208.

The children of mothers who smoked had a 45% higher chance of developing GAD at age 22 years (OR 1.45; 95%CI 1.18; 1.80) and 75% higher chance of depression (OR 1.75; 95%CI 1.18; 2.59). Also, the higher the number of cigarettes smoked. the higher was the chance for the development of GAD.

Association of Timing and Duration of Prenatal Analgesic Opioid Exposure With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Children.

Trønnes JN, Lupattelli A, Handal M, Skurtveit S, Ystrom E, Nordeng H. JAMA Netw Open. 2021 Sep 1;4(9):e2124324.

A slightly elevated risk of ADHD diagnosis in children was observed after prenatal analgesic opioid exposure for 5 or more weeks compared with exposure for 4 weeks or less. This result may be driven by longer duration of use; however, the role of residual or unmeasured confounding cannot be excluded.


Prenatal depression exposure alters white matter integrity and neurodevelopment in early childhood.

Roos A, Wedderburn CJ, Fouche JP, Joshi SH, Narr KL, Woods RP, Zar HJ, Stein DJ, Donald KA. Brain Imaging Behav. 2022 Jan 9.

Widespread white matter alterations were observed in 2-3-year-old children with prenatal exposure to maternal depression; these findings are consistent with previous findings, as well as with neuroimaging findings observed in adults with major depression.

Early life environmental factors associated with autism spectrum disorder symptoms in children at age 2?years: A birth cohort study.

Pham C, Symeonides C, O’Hely M, Sly PD, Knibbs LD, Thomson S, Vuillermin P, Saffery R, Ponsonby AL; Barwon Infant Study Investigator Group. Autism. 2022 Jan 11.

Among the factors associated with higher risk for autism was maternal depression during pregnancy.

Ma S, Yin X, Tao R, Jiang X, Xie J, Li P, Zhu D, Zhu P. Association of maternal prenatal depression and anxiety with toddler sleep: the China-Anhui Birth Cohort study. Arch Womens Ment Health. 2022 Jan 8. doi: 10.1007/s00737-021-01200-w.


No articles this week


No articles this week

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