Psychopharmacology and Perinatal Mental Health for Physicians: What to Know, How to Help

This two-hour course for providers will review foundational information on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) and review the current landscape and recommendations for psychopharmacology in the perinatal period. Sarah Oreck, MD, Columbia-trained reproductive psychiatrist, will share her experiences supporting the mental health of pregnant, postpartum, and lactating birthing people including case studies. She will define the goals of reproductive psychiatry and address common misconceptions about medication in pregnancy. Dr. Oreck will review the safety and efficacy of psychotropic medications in pregnancy and breastfeeding and discuss confounding factors found in research studies on psychotropic medications.


1) Define reproductive psychiatry and identify the parameters of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders;
2) Identify 3 risks of untreated psychiatric disorders in the peripartum period;
3) Identify 3 non-pharmacologic approaches to consider prior to pursuing medication-assisted interventions;
4) Critique empirical research studies to assess for implications for pregnant and postpartum bodies including possible limitations and confounders;
5) Explain elements of safety and efficacy of psychotropic medications in pregnancy and during breast/chestfeeding.

This course is beneficial to anyone providing healthcare during the perinatal period (physicians, midwives, nurses, mental health professionals, lactation consultants and others) who desire to increase their knowledge of the risks and benefits of pursuing medication-assisted treatment for pregnant, postpartum, and lactating individuals in order to support them in making an educated, informed decision in their pursuit of wellness and mental health.

Continuing Education (CE):

CE: This course meets the qualifications for 2 hours of continuing education for LMFTs, LPCCs, LCSWs, LEPs, and psychologists as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences and California Board of Psychology. Community Partners FBO Maternal Mental Health NOW is the sponsor of continuing education for this learning module and is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Community Partners FBO Maternal Mental Health NOW as the sponsor maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

CME: The above activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education through the joint provider ship of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Maternal Mental Health NOW. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The Cedars-Sinai Medical Center designates this enduring material for a maximum of 2.00 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. The California State Board of Registered Nursing accepts courses approved by the ACCME for Category 1 credit as meeting the educational requirements for license renewal. CMEs will be available for these modules from September 23, 2022 - December 31, 2023.

POLICY ON DISCLOSURE: Cedars-Sinai adheres to the ACCME’s Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education. Any individuals in a position to control the content of a CE activity, including faculty, planners, reviewers or others are required to disclose all relevant financial relationships with ineligible entities (commercial interests). The following was reported. All relevant conflicts of interest have been mitigated prior to the commencement of the activity.

Eynav Accortt, PhD Course Director Nothing to disclose
Sarah Oreck, MD Faculty Advisor-Perelel Health
Anna King, LCSW Other Planning Committee Member Nothing to disclose
Sarah Kilpatrick, MD, PhD Planner/Reviewer Nothing to disclose
Gabrielle Kaufman, MA, LPCC, BC-DMT, NCC, PMH-C Other Planning Committee Member Nothing to disclose
Amber Sheikh Faculty Nothing to disclose

**If you hold a license not listed here or are licensed outside of the state of California, please check with your licensing board directly to confirm that these CE credits will be accepted. We are unable to assist in verifying if CE credits will be approved for your license type/state outside of California.
  • Module 1: Introduction to PMADs, including risk factors and goals of treatment
  • Module 2: Psychological vs Biological Treatments
  • Module 3: Confounders in Perinatal Psychiatric Research
  • Module 4: Antidepressant Medication Classes
  • Module 5: Anxiety and Sleep Medication
  • Module 6: Bipolar Disorder and Mood Stabilizers
  • Module 7: Antipsychotic Medication
  • Module 8: Stimulants in Pregnancy
  • Module 9: Breastfeeding & Psychiatric Medications
  • Mod. 10: Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)/Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
  • Module 11: Case Study #1
  • Module 12: Case Study #2
  • Module 13: Case Study #3
  • Module 14: Helpful Tips & Resources
  • Module 15: Amber's Story
  • Learning Assessment Test
Completion rules
  • All units must be completed