Premenstrual exacerbation (PME) of psychiatric symptoms (worsening of mental health conditions just prior to a woman’s period), is not a new term or idea. Yet PME of psychiatric symptoms such as depression, mania, and psychosis, to name a few, has been understudied compared to other illnesses related to the menstrual cycle. The work that has been done surrounding this idea has mostly asked women to report past experience of worsening psychiatric symptoms around their menstrual cycle. This is problematic in research because it can be difficult to remember specifics of symptom changes
An estimated one in five childbearing persons in the U.S. experience a mental or substance use disorder before, during, or after pregnancy each year. With support from the CDC Foundation, APA has developed a series of educational materials for addressing perinatal mental health. This toolkit includes four fact sheets for patients: for people planning to become pregnant, for pregnant persons, for postpartum people, and suggestions for preparing for medical appointments.
During Women’s History Month, we invite you to reflect on the history of women’s mental health and the rapid advancement of the field of reproductive psychiatry over the past several decades. While our understanding of women’s mental health has thankfully progressed from Hippocrates’ attribution of psychological distress to a “wandering uterus,” much of this development has been surprisingly recent.
Along with all the excitement and anticipation, becoming a new parent comes with a great deal of change and potential stress, such as the challenges of childrearing, financial pressure and career uncertainties. This elevated stress can contribute to mental health problems, including peripartum depression. New research published in the Lancet finds that access to employer-provided parental leave may help protect mothers’ mental health in the months after childbirth.
Every psychiatrist will see a pregnant woman or other patient who is pregnant someday. When that person presents to your office, will you be ready? Many of us received little if any training on the subject, so the American Psychiatric Association’s Committee on Women’s Mental Health would like to help. Read on for five things every psychiatrist needs to know before a pregnant patient walks in your door.