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.

Ruta Nonacs, MD PhD


No articles this week



The Effect of Digital Mindfulness Interventions on Depressive, Anxiety, and Stress Symptoms in Pregnant Women: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Mefrouche ML, Siegmann EM, Böhme S, Berking M, Kornhuber J. Eur J Investig Health Psychol Educ. 2023 Sep 1;13(9):1694-1706.

This systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized-controlled trials investigates the effect of digital-based mindfulness interventions on depressive, anxiety, and stress symptoms during pregnancy. Digital mindfulness intervention methods were significantly able to reduce depression and anxiety symptoms, but not stress symptoms.



Ascertainment of malformations in pregnancy registries: Lessons learned in the North American AED Pregnancy Registry

Holmes LB, Quinn M, Conant S, Lyons A, Hauser WA, Yerby M, Hernandez-Diaz S. Birth Defects Res. 2023 Aug 15;115(14):1274-1283.

Patterns of Prescription Medication Use during the First Trimester of Pregnancy in the United States, 1997-2018

Werler MM, Kerr SM, Ailes EC, Reefhuis J, Gilboa SM, Browne ML, Kelley KE, Hernandez-Diaz S, Smith-Webb RS, Garcia MH, Mitchell AA; National Birth Defects Prevention Study and Birth Defects Study To Evaluate Pregnancy exposures.Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2023 Oct;114(4):836-844.

The researchers analyzed data from 9,755 women whose infants served as controls in two large United States case-control studies from 1997-2011 and 2014-2018. After excluding vitamin, herbal, mineral, vaccine, i.v. fluid, and topical products and over-the-counter medications, the proportion of women that reported taking at least one prescription medication in the first trimester increased over the study years, from 37% to 50% of women. The corresponding proportions increased with increasing maternal age and years of education, were highest for non-Hispanic White women (47%) and lowest for Hispanic women (24%). The most common indication for first trimester use of a medication was infection (12-15%). Increases were observed across the years for medications used for indications related to nausea/vomiting, depression/anxiety, infertility, thyroid disease, diabetes, and epilepsy.



Risk factors for relapse or recurrence in women with bipolar disorder and recurrent major depressive disorder in the perinatal period: a systematic review

Alcantarilla L, López-Castro M, Betriu M, Torres A, Garcia C, Solé E, Gelabert E, Roca-Lecumberri A. Arch Womens Ment Health. 2023 Sep 18.

Recurrences of BD and rMDD are more frequent in the postpartum period than in pregnancy, with the first 4-6 weeks postpartum being especially complicated. In addition, women with BD type I are at higher risk than those with BD type II and rMDD, and the most frequent presentation of perinatal episodes of both disorders is a major depressive episode. Other risk factors consistently repeated were early age of onset of illnesses, severity criteria, primiparity, abrupt discontinuation of treatment, and personal or family history of perinatal affective episodes.

Effect of social media-based psychodrama therapy on reduction in symptoms of postpartum depression in women with first birth experience: The contributing role of spousal support

Obichili MI, Ogwo CA, Udeh K, Obiechina CK, Kakwagh VV, Eze CC, Gever VC. Health Care Women Int. 2023 Aug 10:1-18. The study demonstrated a significant main effect of social media-based psychodrama therapy in reducing symptoms of postpartum depression in women. The study also found that this relationship is moderated by spousal support like physical, emotional and social support.

Long-term maternal mental health after spontaneous preterm birth

Janssen LE, Laarman ARC, van Dijk-Lokkart EM, Bröring-Starre T, Oudijk MA, de Groot C, Boer M. Am J Perinatol. 2023 Sep 27.

After a median of 13 years after delivery, no significant differences were found in prevalence or severity of anxiety or depressive symptoms. However, significantly more women with a history of spontaneous preterm birth reported that the birth still had an impact on daily life; aOR 2.46, (95% CI: 1.35-4.48). A total of 57 (16.3%) women after SPTB reported to have needed professional psychosocial support after delivery but did not receive it.

The role of gut microbiota in the pathogenesis and treatment of postpartum depression

Zhang S, Lu B, Wang G. Ann Gen Psychiatry. 2023 Sep 27;22(1):36.

Increased risk of postpartum depression in women with lactational mastitis: a cross-sectional study. Shen F, Zhou X, Guo F, Fan K, Zhou Y, Xia J, Xu Z, Liu Z.Front Psychiatry. 2023 Sep 1; 14:1229678.

Compared with women without lactational mastitis, the proportion of women with depression symptoms was significantly higher (38.1% vs. 27.4%, p = 0.008), and the risk of postpartum depression increased by 68% (RR = 1.68, 95% CI, 1.18, 2.40) in women who had experienced lactational mastitis. In addition, the risk of self-harm or suicidal ideation increased by 89% (RR = 1.89, 95% CI, 1.08, 3.29) in women who experienced lactational mastitis.



No articles this week



No articles this week



Mother-infant interaction and infant development in women at risk of postpartum psychosis with and without a postpartum relapse

Biaggi A, Hazelgrove K, Waites F, Bind RH, Lawrence AJ, Fuste M, Conroy S, Howard LM, Mehta MA, Miele M, Seneviratne G, Pawlby S, Pariante CM, Dazzan P. Psychol Med. 2023 Sep 14:1-12.

Women at risk of postpartum psychosis (PP) as a group, regardless of whether they developed a psychiatric relapse within 4 weeks after delivery, had less synchronous mother-infant interactions and had infants with less optimal cognitive, language, motor and socio-emotional development than healthy controls. In particular, boys of at-risk women had the lowest scores in cognitive, language and motor development and in mother-infant interaction, while girls of the at-risk women had the lowest scores in socio-emotional development. The synchrony in the dyad predicted infant cognitive and language development. There was no evidence for a difference in mother-infant interaction nor in infant development between the at-risk-unwell and at-risk-well groups.

Pinto TM, Nogueira-Silva C, Figueiredo B. Fetal heart rate variability and infant self-regulation: the impact of mother’s prenatal depressive symptoms. J Reprod Infant Psychol. 2023 Sep 19:1-14.

Findings suggest that FHR variability may be an early precursor of infant self-regulation that underlies the association between mother’s prenatal depressive symptoms and infant self-regulation. Infants of mothers with higher levels of prenatal depressive symptoms could be at risk of self-regulation problems, partially due to their lower FHR variability.

Power J, Watson S, Chen W, Lewis A, van IJzendoorn M, Galbally M. The trajectory of maternal perinatal depressive symptoms predicts executive function in early childhood. Psychol Med. 2023 Oct 2:1-11.

This study suggests that increasing maternal depressive symptoms over the perinatal period is associated with poorer executive function (EF) outcomes in children at age 4 – independent of prenatal smoking, drinking, or antidepressant use. Depressive chronicity, severity, and postpartum influences may play crucial roles in determining childhood outcomes of EF.

Maternal Prenatal Depressive Symptoms and Infant Sleep Problems: The Role of Infant Temperament and Sex

Dias CC, Pinto TM, Figueiredo B. Behav Sleep Med. 2023 Nov 2;21(6):695-711.

While controlling for maternal postnatal depressive symptoms, our results revealed that (1) infant negative affectivity at two weeks partially mediated the impact of maternal prenatal depressive symptoms on sleep anxiety at six months, and (2) this mediation is independent of the infant’s sex.

Differential effects of prenatal psychological distress and positive mental health on offspring socioemotional development from infancy to adolescence: a meta-analysis

Phua DY, Chew CSM, Tan YL, Ng BJK, Lee FKL, Tham MMY. Front Pediatr. 2023 Sep 14;11:1221232.

This meta-analysis, comprising 74 studies with 321,966 mother-child dyads across 21 countries, revealed significant associations of prenatal psychological distress with both adverse and positive child socioemotional outcomes. Notably, the effect sizes for the association of psychological distress with positive child outcomes were smaller compared to adverse outcomes. Positive prenatal mental health, on the other hand, was significantly associated with positive socioemotional outcomes but not adverse outcomes.



No articles this week



Modulators of GABAA receptor-mediated inhibition in the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders: past, present, and future

Thompson SM. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2023 Sep 14.

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