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. 

The very last article on the list from Doretto and colleagues is an interesting one (free text available).  It takes a deep dive into the relationship between polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and psychotic illness.  There have been a few articles over the last couple of years indicating that psychiatric illness in general, and bipolar disorder specifically, is more common in women with PCOS.  The current article takes a look at the complicated relationship between PCOS and psychotic disorders.  The authors note that women with psychotic disorders may present with symptoms suggestive of PCOS, such as menstrual irregularity or increased body mass index, and that these symptoms are often attributed to the use of antipsychotic medications, when they may in fact be symptoms of an endocrine abnormality. In addition, antipsychotic medications, which may cause amenorrhea and metabolic syndrome, may exacerbate the symptoms of PCOS. 

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



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Mamma Mia – A randomized controlled trial of an internet-based intervention for perinatal depression.Haga SM, Drozd F, Lisøy C, Wentzel-Larsen T, Slinning K. Psychol Med. 2019 Aug;49(11):1850-1858. Free PMC Article

Researchers assessed the effectiveness of an automated internet intervention (‘Mamma Mia’) on perinatal depressive symptoms. Mamma Mia is tailored specifically to the perinatal phase and targets risk and protective factors for perinatal depressive symptoms.  The prevalence of women with EPDS-score ?10 was lower in the Mamma Mia group at all follow-up measurements.



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Addressing maternal depression in home visiting: Findings from the home visiting collaborative improvement and innovation network.

Tandon D, Mackrain M, Beeber L, Topping-Tailby N, Raska M, Arbour M.

PLoS One. 2020 Apr 16;15(4):e0230211. Free Article

HV CoIIN resulted in improved symptoms among women who accessed services, from 51.1% to 59.9%. HV CoIIN also improved the percent of women screened for depression, from 83.6% to 96.3%, and those with positive depression screens who accessed evidence-based services, from 41.6% to 65.5%. 

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 Oct 1;257:136-142. 

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

Newborn White Matter Microstructure Moderates the Association between Maternal Postpartum Depressive Symptoms and Infant Negative Reactivity.

Nolvi S, Tuulari JJ, Lavonius T, Scheinin NM, Lehtola SJ, Lavonius M, Merisaari H, Saunavaara J, Korja R, Kataja EL, Pelto J, Parkkola R, Karlsson L, Karlsson H.

Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2020 Jun 24. Free article.

The link between maternal depressive symptoms and infant negative reactivity was moderated by white matter fractional anisotropy or FA, a measure of white matter maturity, at 2-5 weeks of age . The variation in white matter microstructure might play a role in child susceptibility to parental distress.

Be a Mom, a Web-Based Intervention to Prevent Postpartum Depression: Results From a Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial.

Fonseca A, Alves S, Monteiro F, Gorayeb R, Canavarro MC.  Behav Ther. 2020 Jul;51(4):616-633.

Be a Mom is a self-guided web-based intervention, grounded in cognitive behavioral therapy, delivered to postpartum women to prevent persistent postpartum depression [PPD] symptoms. 194 women presenting with risk factors/early-onset PPD symptoms were allocated to the intervention (n = 98) or to the control (n = 96) group.  Less than half of the women (41.8%) completed Be a Mom, although further research is needed to establish Be a Mom as a preventive intervention for persistent PPD.



No articles this week



Identification of substance use disorders among pregnant women: A comparison of screeners.

Chang G, Ondersma SJ, Blake-Lamb T, Gilstad-Hayden K, Orav EJ, Yonkers KA.

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2019 Dec 1;205:107651

The CRAFFT and SURP-P showed modest ability to identify substance use disorders among pregnant women. Future research is needed to develop an ideal questionnaire set in the complicated societal context which includes increasing rates of use and potential sanction.



Risk of Depression in the Adolescent and Adult Offspring of Mothers With Perinatal Depression:  A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Tirumalaraju V, Suchting R, Evans J, Goetzl L, Refuerzo J, Neumann A, Anand D, Ravikumar R, Green CE, Cowen PJ, Selvaraj S.  JAMA Netw Open. 2020 Jun 1;3(6):e208783. Free article.

Six studies with a total of 15 584 mother-child dyads were included in the meta-analysis.  The offspring of mothers who experienced perinatal depression to have increased odds of depression (odds ratio [OR], 1.70; 95% credible interval [CrI], 1.60-2.65).  Maternal perinatal depression, especially antenatal depression, was associated with the risk of depression in adolescence and adulthood.

The perinatal origins of childhood anxiety disorders and the role of early-life maternal predictors.

Galbally M, Watson SJ, van Rossum EFC, Chen W, de Kloet ER, Lewis AJ.  Psychol Med. 2020 Jun 29:1-9. d

Antenatal depression, a history of maternal childhood trauma and lower gestational age at birth were each associated with anxiety disorders at 4 years of age in their children.

Genome-Wide DNA Methylation Patterns in Children Exposed to Nonpharmacologically Treated Prenatal Depressive Symptoms: Results From 2 Independent Cohorts.

Stonawski V, Roetner J, Goecke TW, Fasching PA, Beckmann MW, Kornhuber J, Kratz O, Moll GH, Eichler A, Heinrich H, Frey S.  Epigenet Insights. 2020 Jun 16.

The mainly nonsignificant results from this study challenge the assumption of consistent modifications of DNA methylation in children exposed to prenatal depressive symptoms. 

Mother’s prenatal and postpartum depression symptoms and infant’s sleep problems at 6 months.

Dias CC, Figueiredo B.  Infant Ment Health J. 2020 Jun 26.

Mother’s prenatal depression symptoms predicted more infant’s sleep anxiety and daytime sleepiness, while mother’s depression symptoms at 2 weeks postpartum, specifically anxiety scores of the EPDS, predicted more bedtime resistance and CSHQ-I total scores at 6 months. 

Prevalence of maternal mental illness among children and adolescents in the UK between 2005 and 2017: a national retrospective cohort analysis.

Abel KM, Hope H, Swift E, Parisi R, Ashcroft DM, Kosidou K, Osam CS, Dalman C, Pierce M.  Lancet Public Health. 2019 Jun;4(6):e291-e300. Free Article

One in four children aged 0-16 years are exposed to maternal mental illness and the prevalence of diagnosed and treated maternal mental illness is increasing. 



No articles this week



Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Psychotic Disorder

Larissa Doretto, Flora Chaves Mari, Ana Cristina Chaves.  Front Psychiatry. 2020; 11: 543. 



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