A Spotlight on Perinatal Mental Health during Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week: Can Nootropics Play a Role?

July 19, 2023


The significance of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week extends far beyond a mere seven-day period. Its aim is to cast a spotlight on mental health issues specifically concerning mothers, fostering a culture of understanding, acceptance, and progress. As we observe this crucial event, it’s timely to delve deeper into one of the most nuanced aspects of maternal mental health: perinatal mental health. This term refers to the mental well-being of women during pregnancy and the first year after childbirth, a time of immense change both physically and emotionally (1). A related, burgeoning area of interest in mental health research involves nootropics, substances that could enhance cognitive functions including mood. This article aims to explore these topics, with a brief discussion of how nootropics might contribute to supporting mental health (2).

The Significance of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week

The Essence of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week
Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week is not just a mere occurrence in our calendars but serves as a beacon calling attention to the urgency and significance of maternal mental health issues. It’s an opportunity for individuals, communities, and policymakers to enhance awareness, encourage open conversations, and push for changes in mental health care provision. The goal is to eradicate the stigma surrounding maternal mental health, fostering an environment where mothers feel comfortable seeking help when needed.

From Awareness to Action: The Impact of Public Engagement
Public awareness and engagement are fundamental in addressing maternal mental health issues. The increased understanding and destigmatization can dismantle barriers that often prevent mothers from seeking help. Furthermore, heightened awareness could lead to increased funding for maternal mental health research and services, ultimately improving outcomes for mothers. Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week plays a pivotal role in promoting this much-needed dialogue and understanding around maternal mental health (3).

The Intricacies of Perinatal Mental Health

An Insight into Perinatal Mental Health
Perinatal mental health underscores a woman’s mental health during pregnancy and in the year following childbirth. It’s a delicate time where hormonal and physiological changes intertwine with the psychological adjustment to motherhood, creating a potentially high-risk period for developing mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety (4).

The Far-Reaching Consequences of Perinatal Mental Health Disorders
Perinatal mental health disorders are not solely a concern for the mother but have broad repercussions. They affect not only the mother’s well-being but can also have long-term impacts on the child’s cognitive and emotional development and significantly strain family dynamics. Thus, timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment are critical to mitigate these potential effects and ensure the well-being of the mother and child (4).

Navigating the Maze of Nootropics and Mood Support

In the world of maternal mental health support, a novel option has surfaced, the use of nootropics. These substances, colloquially known as ‘smart drugs’ or ‘cognitive enhancers,’ are touted for their potential to enhance cognitive functions, including mood (2). Certain nootropics are hypothesized to play a role in supporting mood, offering potential benefits in the context of perinatal mental health. However, their use should not be taken lightly. The safety and efficacy of nootropics during critical phases such as pregnancy and breastfeeding are not yet firmly established, emphasizing the need for more rigorous research and cautious clinical application (5).

From Comprehension to Compassion: Envisioning a Future with Enhanced Perinatal Mental Health Care

As we look forward to Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week, we must remember to broaden our horizons. Beyond understanding the intricacies of perinatal mental health and exploring the potential role of nootropics, it’s time to turn our awareness into actions. Maternal mental health services need to be tailored to address the specific needs of expectant and new mothers, considering all aspects of their well-being, including the safe and effective use of novel treatments like nootropics.


Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggle many mothers face and the continuous effort required to enhance maternal mental health care. As we commemorate this week, let’s deepen our understanding of perinatal mental health and remain open to new potential aids like nootropics. Most importantly, let’s ensure that maternal mental health awareness translates into actions that enable every mother to access the support they need for optimal mental health (6).


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Suliman, N. A., et al. (2016). Establishing Natural Nootropics: Recent Molecular Enhancement Influenced by Natural Nootropic. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2016, 4391375.

Mental Health Foundation. (2023). Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week. Retrieved from Mental Health Foundation Website.

O’hara, M. W., & Wisner, K. L. (2014). Perinatal mental illness: definition, description, and aetiology. The Lancet Psychiatry, 1(1), 36-46.

Orsolini, L., et al. (2020). Use of Nutraceuticals for the Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders in Pregnancy: A Proposed Treatment Algorithm. Advances in Therapy, 37(5), 2228-2241.

National Alliance on Mental Illness. (2023). Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week. Retrieved from National Alliance on Mental Illness Website.

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Dennis, C. L., & Dowswell, T. (2013). Psychosocial and psychological interventions for preventing postpartum depression. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2013(2), CD001134.

Silberner, J. (2019). How postpartum depression in new mothers significantly affects the entire family. Retrieved from National Public Radio Website.

Cameron, J., et al. (2017). Perinatal mental health: A review of progress and challenges. World Psychiatry, 16(3), 273-285.

Husain, N., et al. (2022). Perinatal depression and child development: exploring the economic consequences from a South Asian perspective. BMJ Global Health, 7(2), e004513.

Molyneaux, E., et al. (2014). Antidepressant treatment for postnatal depression. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2014(11), CD002018.