Yoga, mindfulness and other psychological interventions for stress and anxiety during pregnancy

A systematic review and narrative synthesis of fourteen studies conducted in Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, UK and USA, published in the last issue of Archives of Women’s Mental Health, focuses on women’s views on the acceptability of and satisfaction with non-pharmacological interventions to reduce the symptoms of anxiety in pregnant women. Studies included women…

It matters how you give birth: mode of delivery and mental health

A study published in the latest edition of Archives of Women’s Health has found that instrumental births (those requiring forceps, vacuum extraction, etc.) and cesarean sections are related to a higher number of psychological difficulties after birth – ranging from lack of adjustment to motherhood to post-traumatic stress disorder. To put these conclusions into perspective,…

Women´s perception of traumatic birth: a qualitative study

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes a “positive childbirth experience” as a significant end point for all women undergoing labor. It defines a positive childbirth experience as one that fulfils or exceeds a woman’s prior personal and sociocultural beliefs and expectations, including giving birth to a healthy baby in a clinically and psychologically safe environment…

Postpartum depression and the role of oxytocin receptors

A recent study from the University of Louisiana (summarized below) has discovered that some mothers with postpartum depression have an “altered expression of oxytocin receptors”. Oxytocin is the hormone of love, human connection and wellbeing; it is produced at high levels during birth and breastfeeding and it is intimately involved in the mother-infant bond, as…

Requiem for Aurora

By Ibone Olza, MD, PhD, Perinatal Psychiatrist. Translated by Peter Hicks. At the beginning of this year, three months after giving birth to her second child, Aurora fell to the ground from a fourth-floor balcony in the middle of an episode of puerperal psychosis.This complex disease had beaten her. It was not the first time…