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



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No articles this week



Anderson MR, Salisbury AL, Uebelacker LA, Abrantes AM, Battle CL. Stress, coping and silver linings: How depressed perinatal women experienced the COVID-19 pandemic.  J Affect Disord. 2021 Oct 26: S0165-0327(21)01198-8. 

doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2021.10.116. 

While the COVID pandemic has increased stress in perinatal women with depression, increased family time may be a silver lining to the pandemic for perinatal women.

Miller ES, Fleming O, Ekpe EE, Grobman WA, Heard-Garris N. Association Between Adverse Childhood Experiences and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes. Obstet Gynecol. 2021 Nov 1;138(5):770-776. 

doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000004570. 

Of the 1,274 women, 904 (71%) reported one or more adverse childhood experiences, and 290 (23%) reported a high ACE score (more than three adverse childhood experiences).  Individuals with high ACE score had 1.55-fold (95% CI 1.06-2.26) increased odds of having hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and 2.03-fold (95% CI 1.38-2.99) increased odds of preterm birth. 

Chen X, Hong F, Wang D, Bai B, Xia Y, Wang C. Related Psychosocial Factors and Delivery Mode of Depression and Anxiety in Primipara in Late Pregnancy. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2021 Oct 4;2021:3254707. 

doi: 10.1155/2021/3254707. 

Antenatal depression and anxiety  influence the choice of the delivery mode of pregnant women. 

Evans J, Ingram J, Law R, Taylor H, Johnson D, Glynn J, Hopley B, Kessler D, Round J, Ford J, Culpin I, O’Mahen H. Interpersonal counselling versus perinatal-specific cognitive behavioural therapy for women with depression during pregnancy offered in routine psychological treatment services: a phase II randomised trial. BMC Psychiatry. 2021 Oct 15;21(1):504. 

doi: 10.1186/s12888-021-03482-x. 

Women reported IPC was acceptable, and supervisors reported high treatment competence in interpersonal psychotherapy (IPC) arm by junior mental health workers. Outcome measures indicated there was improvement in mood in both groups (Change in EPDS score IPC 4.4 (s.d. 5.1) and CBT 4.0 (s.d. 4.8).

Iodice S, Di Paolo M, Barkin JL, Tarantini L, Grassi S, Redaelli M, Serati M, Favalli V, Cirella L, Bollati V, Buoli M. The Methylation of Clock Genes in Perinatal Depression: Which Role for Oxytocin? Front Psychiatry. 2021 Sep 28;12:734825. 

doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2021.734825. 

This study suggests a possible protective role played by oxytocin in the development of PD by promoting a favorable methylation profile characterized by reduced expression of CRY1 and CRY2. 



Christensen J, Trabjerg BB, Sun Y, Dreier JW. Association of Maternal Antidepressant Prescription During Pregnancy With Standardized Test Scores of Danish School-aged Children. JAMA. 2021 Nov 2;326(17):1725-1735. 

doi: 10.1001/jama.2021.17380. 

In this study of public schoolchildren in Denmark, children whose mothers had filled prescriptions for antidepressants during pregnancy, compared with children whose mothers did not fill prescriptions for antidepressants, had a 2-point lower standardized test score in mathematics, a difference that was statistically significant, but had no significant difference in language test scores. The magnitude of the difference in the mathematics test score was small and of uncertain clinical importance.

Lupattelli A, Mahic M, Handal M, Ystrom E, Reichborn-Kjennerud T, Nordeng H. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children following prenatal exposure to antidepressants: results from the Norwegian mother, father and child cohort study. BJOG. 2021 Nov;128(12):1917-1927. 

doi: 10.1111/1471-0528.16743. Epub 2021 Jun 8. 

Women with depression who use antidepressants in pregnancy do not have greater risk of having children with ADHD. 

Yang LY, Lin FJ, Katz AJ, Wang IT, Wu CH. Prenatal antidepressant use and the implication of hypertensive disorders during pregnancy. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2021 Jun 8:S0002-9378(21)00634-7.

doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2021.06.003. 

No association was found between antidepressant use and the development of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. However, women taking higher cumulative doses of antidepressants were at greater risk. 



Liu CH, Hyun S, Mittal L, Erdei C. Psychological risks to mother-infant bonding during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Pediatr Res. 2021 Oct 14. 

doi: 10.1038/s41390-021-01751-9.

Postpartum-related grief, but not anxiety, was associated with lower quality mother-infant bonding.  Read more HERE.

Kress V, von Soest T, Kopp M, Wimberger P, Garthus-Niegel S. Differential predictors of birth-related posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms in mothers and fathers – A longitudinal cohort study. J Affect Disord. 2021 Sep 1;292:121-130. 

doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2021.05.058. 

Clinically relevant birth-related PTSD symptoms were found in 2.3% of mothers and 0.7% of fathers. Depressive and anxiety symptoms, pregnancy complications, and poorer subjective birth experience predicted PTSD symptoms in both groups. Additionally, lower support during birth and an unplanned cesarean section predicted PTSD symptoms in mothers, whereas lower job satisfaction, higher job burden, being first-time father, lower education, and mothers’ lower support during birth were predictors for fathers. 



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No articles this week



Bowers K, Ding L, Yolton K, Ji H, Nidey N, Meyer J, Ammerman RT, Van Ginkel J, Folger A. Pregnancy and Infant Development (PRIDE)-a preliminary observational study of maternal adversity and infant development. BMC Pediatr. 2021 Oct 15;21(1):452. 

doi: 10.1186/s12887-021-02801-1.

Although there were no statistically significant associations between maternal psychosocial factors in pregnancy and infant neurobehavior, there were several associations at 24 months, primarily internalizing symptoms, which persisted through 36 months. 



Thurston RC, Aslanidou Vlachos HE, Derby CA, Jackson EA, Brooks MM, Matthews KA, Harlow S, Joffe H, El Khoudary SR. Menopausal Vasomotor Symptoms and Risk of Incident Cardiovascular Disease Events in SWAN. J Am Heart Assoc. 2021 Feb 2;10(3):e017416. 

doi: 10.1161/JAHA.120.017416. 

Frequent and persistent VMS were associated with increased risk of later CVD events. VMS may represent a novel female-specific CVD risk factor.



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