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


No articles this week


No articles this week


Allopregnanolone and depression and anxiety symptoms across the peripartum: an exploratory study.

Standeven LR, Osborne LM, Betz JF, Yenokyan G, Voegtline K, Hantsoo L, Payne JL.

Arch Womens Ment Health. 2021 Oct 29.

Among all participants (N = 111), higher ALLO levels at week 6 postpartum were associated with higher depression and anxiety scores.

Natural disaster stress during pregnancy is linked to reprogramming of the placenta transcriptome in relation to anxiety and stress hormones in young offspring.

Nomura Y, Rompala G, Pritchett L, Aushev V, Chen J, Hurd YL.

Mol Psychiatry. 2021 May 12:10.1038/s41380-021-01123-z.

In a group of pregnant women affected by Hurricane Sandy, researchers observed a significant link between prenatal stress and child HPA dysfunction, evident by altered cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and cortisol:DHEA levels.

Perinatal Mental Health Care In The United States: An Overview Of Policies And Programs.

Griffen A, McIntyre L, Belsito JZ, Burkhard J, Davis W, Kimmel M, Stuebe A, Clark C, Meltzer-Brody S.

Health Aff (Millwood). 2021 Oct;40(10):1543-1550. Free Article.

Preventing Pregnancy-Related Mental Health Deaths: Insights From 14 US Maternal Mortality Review Committees, 2008-17.

Trost SL, Beauregard JL, Smoots AN, Ko JY, Haight SC, Moore Simas TA, Byatt N, Madni SA, Goodman D.

Health Aff (Millwood). 2021 Oct;40(10):1551-1559.


Antidepressant exposure in pregnancy and child sensorimotor and visuospatial development.

Galbally M, Watson SJ, Spigset O, Boyce P, Oberlander TF, Lewis AJ.

J Psychiatr Res. 2021 Nov;143:485-491.

At four years of age, antidepressant-exposed children performed better with regard to visuomotor precision completion time compared to born to mothers with untreated depression. Yet another measure of sensorimotor development, motor manual sequences, was worse in those exposed to antidepressants. One subtest for visuospatial processing, block construction, was associated with poorer performance in antidepressant-exposed children who had poor neonatal adaptation and those exposed to a higher dose of antidepressant.


High worry in pregnancy predicts postpartum depression.

Osborne LM, Voegtline K, Standeven LR, Sundel B, Pangtey M, Hantsoo L, Payne JL.

J Affect Disord. 2021 Nov 1;294:701-706.

Women with a history or current diagnosis of major depressive disorder (MDD) or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) were more likely to experience high antenatal worry. High antenatal worry was the only significant predictor of postpartum depressive symptoms, with an odds ratio (OR) of 3.91 (95% CI 1.44-10.65).

Long-term outcome of postpartum psychosis: a prospective clinical cohort study in 106 women.

Rommel AS, Molenaar NM, Gilden J, Kushner SA, Westerbeek NJ, Kamperman AM, Bergink V.

Int J Bipolar Disord. 2021 Oct 28;9(1):31.

Over two thirds of the women included in this study did not have major psychiatric episodes outside of the postpartum period during follow-up. The overall recurrence rate of mood/psychotic episodes outside the postpartum period was ~ 32%.

Post-partum psychosis and its association with bipolar disorder in the UK: a case-control study using polygenic risk scores.

Di Florio A, Mei Kay Yang J, Crawford K, Bergink V, Leonenko G, Pardiñas AF, Escott-Price V, Gordon-Smith K, Owen MJ, Craddock N, Jones L, O’Donovan M, Jones I.

Lancet Psychiatry. 2021 Oct 26:S2215-0366(21)00253-4.

This study supports the recognition of first-onset post-partum psychosis as a separate nosological entity within the bipolar disorder spectrum

Bipolar episodes after reproductive events in women with bipolar I disorder, A study of 919 pregnancies.

Gilden J, Poels EMP, Lambrichts S, Vreeker A, Boks MPM, Ophoff RA, Kahn RS, Kamperman AM, Bergink V.

J Affect Disord. 2021 Dec 1;295:72-7.

Episode risk was 5.2% during pregnancy, and 30.1% in the postpartum period, with a peak in the early postpartum period. Risk of an episode was highest after live birth (34.4%), and lower after miscarriage (15.2%) and induced abortion (27.8%).


Lithium from breast-milk inhibits thyroid iodine uptake and hormone production, which are remedied by maternal iodine supplementation.

Ahmed I, Ma V, Liu Y, Khan MS, Liu Z, Zhang C, Paidi SK, Manno FAM, Amjad N, Manno SHC, Ahmed R, Law AWL, Ali A, Raza F, Zhang Y, Cho WCS, Barman I, Alda M, Bergink V, Lau C.

Bipolar Disord. 2021 Sep;23(6):615-625.

In this animal study, researchers found levels of lithium in breast milk were high enough to affect thyroid and renal function in nursing pup.


Maternal cannabis use is associated with suppression of immune gene networks in placenta and increased anxiety phenotypes in offspring.

Rompala G, Nomura Y, Hurd YL.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Nov 23;118(47):e2106115118.

In children with prenatal exposure to cannabis, this study revealed a relationship between maternal cannabis use and immune response gene networks in the placenta, which may be a potential mediator of risk for anxiety-related problems in early childhood.

Cannabis and synaptic reprogramming of the developing brain.

Bara A, Ferland JN, Rompala G, Szutorisz H, Hurd YL.

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2021 Jul;22(7):423-438.


No articles this week


Acupuncture: A Promising Approach for Comorbid Depression and Insomnia in Perimenopause.

Zhao FY, Fu QQ, Spencer SJ, Kennedy GA, Conduit R, Zhang WJ, Zheng Z.

Nat Sci Sleep. 2021 Oct 12;13:1823-1863. Free Article.

Most clinical trials indicate that acupuncture ameliorates not only perimenopausal depression and insomnia but also climacteric symptoms with minimal side effects.


No articles this week

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