Louise Howard

Louise Howard
King's College London | KCL · Institute of Psychiatry

PhD MRCP FRCPsych

About

451
Publications
85,454
Reads
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15,923
Citations
Introduction
Additional affiliations
September 2010 - present
King’s Health Partners
Position
  • Professor (Full)
January 2006 - December 2008
January 2002 - December 2012
King's College London

Publications

Publications (451)
Article
Full-text available
Background Research exploring prevalence of, and factors associated with, increased risk of experiencing or perpetrating Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPVA) in military communities is limited. This study aimed to describe IPVA prevalence in a military sample, explore the role of military-specific risk factors, and draw comparisons with a gen...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives Explore inequalities in risk factors, mental and physical health morbidity in non-pregnant women of reproductive age in contact with mental health services and how these vary per ethnicity. Design Retrospective cohort study. Setting Data from Lambeth DataNet, anonymised primary care records of this ethnically diverse London borough, li...
Article
Full-text available
The rate of normal birth outcomes (i.e. full-term births without intervention) for women with severe mental illness (SMI – psychotic and bipolar disorders) is not known. We examined rates of birth without intervention (spontaneous labour onset, spontaneous vaginal delivery without instruments, no episiotomy and no indication of pre- or post-deliver...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives To compare, in a population of women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), the time to diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes in those with and without common mental disorder (CMD) (depression and/or anxiety) during pregnancy. Design and setting prospective study of the Born in Bradford cohort in Bradford, UK. Participants 909 women diagnose...
Article
There is a well-established bidirectional association between Type 2 diabetes and mental disorder and emerging evidence for an increased risk of perinatal mental disorder in women with gestational diabetes (GDM). However, the relation between mental disorder prior to pregnancy and subsequent risk of GDM remains relatively unexplored. This is a syst...
Article
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(1) Background: Approximately one in five women will experience mental health difficulties in the perinatal period. Women from ethnic minority backgrounds face a variety of barriers that can prevent or delay access to appropriate perinatal mental health care. COVID-19 pandemic restrictions created additional obstacles for this group of women. This...
Article
Background Self-harm in pregnancy or the year after birth (‘perinatal self-harm’) is clinically important, yet prevalence rates, temporal trends and risk factors are unclear. Methods A cohort study of 679 881 mothers (1 172 191 pregnancies) was conducted using Danish population register data-linkage. Hospital treatment for self-harm during pregnan...
Article
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Purpose To investigate whether (1) depression is associated with increased risk of past-year intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration, disaggregated by sex, after controlling for potential confounders; (2) observed associations are mediated by alcohol misuse or past-year IPV victimisation. Methods Systematic review and individual participant d...
Article
Background Few studies have explored ethnic inequalities in physical and mental health in non-pregnant women of reproductive age. We aimed to assess the differences in multimorbidity in women according whether they had been in contact with mental health services or not, and differences in primary care in women according to ethnicity. Methods In th...
Article
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Background Children exposed to poverty and family adversities including domestic violence, parental mental ill health and parental alcohol misuse may experience poor outcomes across the life course. However, the complex interrelationships between these exposures in childhood are unclear. We therefore assessed the clustering of trajectories of house...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this study was to explore staff perceptions of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health service delivery and outcomes for women who were pregnant or in the first year after birth (‘perinatal’ women). Secondary analysis was undertaken of an online mixed-methods survey open to all mental health care staff in the UK involving 36...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background Both poverty and family adversities including domestic violence, parental mental illness and parental drug and alcohol use are associated with poor outcomes across the life course. However, the complex relationships between these exposures in childhood are unclear. We therefore assessed the clustering of trajectories of household poverty...
Article
Full-text available
Background Self-harm occurring within pregnancy and the postnatal year (“perinatal self-harm”) is a clinically important yet under-researched topic. Current research likely under-estimates prevalence due to methodological limitations. Electronic healthcare records (EHRs) provide a source of clinically rich data on perinatal self-harm. Aims (1) To...
Article
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Purpose Threatening or obscene messaging is repeated, unwanted texts, emails, letters or cards experienced by the recipient as threatening or obscene, and causing fear, alarm or distress. It is rarely examined as an aspect of intimate partner violence. We describe the prevalence of exposure to threatening/obscene messaging from a current or ex-part...
Article
Background Interpersonal traumas are common among expectant and new mothers and are found to have considerable impacts on women's mental health. These experiences may disrupt maternal perceptions of the mother-infant relationship, which is essential for healthy infant development, but findings are inconsistent. This study aims to explore associatio...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction Depression and self-harm are leading causes of disability in young people, but prospective data on how maternal depression and self-harm thoughts contribute to these outcomes, and how they may interact is lacking. Methods The study sample consisted of 8,425 mothers and offspring from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children...
Article
Postnatal depression (PND) is common and predicts a range of adverse maternal and offspring outcomes. PND rates are highest among women with persistent mental health problems before pregnancy, and antenatal healthcare provides ideal opportunity to intervene. We examined antenatal perceived social support as a potential intervention target in preven...
Article
Full-text available
Fear of childbirth (FOC) is a common phenomenon that can impair functioning in pregnancy but potential longer term implications for the mother-infant relationship are little understood. This study was aimed at investigating postpartum implications of FOC on the mother-infant relationship. A UK sample of 341 women in a community setting provided dat...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives To estimate the population prevalence of severe fear of childbirth (FOC) during pregnancy and investigate its association with: (a) antenatal common mental disorders (depression and anxiety disorder) and (b) elective cesarean birth. Methods 545 participants from an inner‐city London maternity population were interviewed soon after their...
Article
Background: Postpartum psychosis (PP) is the most severe psychiatric disorder associated with childbirth. However, there is little research on maternal bonding towards the infant and parenting stress in this clinical population. Methods: We investigated maternal bonding during pregnancy and post-partum in 75 women: 46 at risk of PP (AR), because of...
Article
Full-text available
Aims There is little research into evidence-based preconception interventions for women with serious mental illness (SMI). Women with SMI will have specific needs around preconception due to the complexities of the teratogenicity of medications, risk of mental illness relapse and higher levels of stigma around motherhood. If effectively delivered p...
Article
Full-text available
In this study, we explore the role that isolation and loneliness play in the narratives of women diagnosed with perinatal depression. Isolation and loneliness are increasingly seen as risk factors for depression, including in the perinatal period, but little is known about whether, and in what ways, women themselves associate isolation or lonelines...
Preprint
Postnatal depression (PND) is common and predicts a range of adverse maternal and offspring outcomes. PND rates are highest amongst women with persistent mental health problems before pregnancy, and antenatal healthcare provides ideal opportunity to intervene. We examined antenatal perceived social support as a potential intervention target in prev...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose Experiences of reported trauma are common and are associated with a range of mental health problems. Sex differences in how reported traumas are experienced over the life course in relation to mental health require further exploration. Methods 157,358 participants contributed data for the UK Biobank Mental Health Questionnaire (MHQ). Strat...
Article
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Objectives Domestic violence and abuse (DVA) is highly prevalent, with severe adverse consequences to the health and well-being of survivors. There is a smaller evidence base on the health of DVA perpetrators and their engagement with healthcare services. This review examines the experiences of perpetrators of DVA of accessing healthcare services a...
Article
Full-text available
Background Moderate to severe anxiety disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social phobia and panic disorder are common, and affect approximately 11–16% of women in pregnancy. Psychological treatments for anxiety disorders, primarily cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), have a substantial eviden...
Article
Full-text available
Despite increased prevalence of domestic violence and abuse (DVA), victimization through DVA often remains undetected in mental health care. To estimate the effectiveness of a system provider level training intervention by comparing the detection and referral rates of DVA of intervention community mental health (CMH) teams with rates in control CMH...
Article
Background Postpartum psychosis is the most severe psychiatric disorder associated with childbirth, and the risk is particularly high for women with a history of bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder or those who have suffered a previous episode of postpartum psychosis. Whilst there is a lot of evidence linking stress to psychosis unrelated to...
Article
Full-text available
Background: The health benefits of breastfeeding are well-established but for mothers with severe mental illness (SMI), the decision to breastfeed can be complex. Very few prior studies have investigated the infant feeding choices of women with SMI, or the factors associated with this. Our aims were to examine antenatal infant feeding intentions an...
Article
Background: Depression is one of the most common morbidities of the postnatal period. It has been associated with adverse outcomes for women, children, the wider family and society as a whole. Treatment is with psychosocial interventions or antidepressant medication, or both. The aim of this review is to evaluate the effectiveness of different ant...
Article
Full-text available
Background Despite a high prevalence of antenatal depression in low- and middle-income countries, there is very little evidence for contextually adapted psychological interventions delivered in rural African settings. The aims of this study are (1) to examine the feasibility of procedures for a future fully powered efficacy trial of contextually ad...
Article
Full-text available
The response to the coronavirus outbreak and how the disease and its societal consequences pose risks to already vulnerable groups such those who are socioeconomically disadvantaged and ethnic minority groups. Researchers and community groups analysed how the COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated persisting vulnerabilities, socio-economic and structural...
Article
Full-text available
Background Investigating obstetric near misses (life-threatening obstetric complications) provides crucial information to prevent maternal mortality and morbidity. Aims To investigate the rate and type of obstetric near misses among women with serious mental illness (SMI). Method We conducted a historical cohort study, using de-identified electro...
Article
Full-text available
Background Children exposed to poverty and family adversities including domestic violence, parental mental ill health and parental alcohol misuse may experience poor outcomes across the life course. However, the complex interrelationships between these exposures in childhood are unclear. We therefore assessed the clustering of trajectories of house...
Article
Aims This study used a large database to develop a reliable and valid shortened form of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), a self‐report questionnaire used for depression screening in pregnancy and postpartum, based on objective criteria. Methods Item responses from the 10‐item EPDS were obtained from 5,157 participants (765 major de...
Article
Full-text available
IntroductionDepression is a common morbidity of the perinatal period (during pregnancy and up to one year postpartum). There is evidence for an association between diet and physical activity, and depression in the non-pregnant population but this association has been relatively less explored during the perinatal period; particularly poorly understo...
Article
Full-text available
The original version of this article contained an error in one of the author name. The co-author name was published as "Angela Flynn", instead it should be "Angela C. Flynn".
Article
Objective The Maternal Mental Health in Canada, 2018/2019, survey reported that 18% of 7,085 mothers who recently gave birth reported “feelings consistent with postpartum depression” based on scores ≥7 on a 5-item version of the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale (EPDS-5). The EPDS-5 was designed as a screening questionnaire, not to classify dis...
Article
Aims To investigate whether exposure to antipsychotic medications during pregnancy is associated with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in United Kingdom (UK) and Hong Kong (HK) population cohorts. Methods Two population-based cohort studies were conducted using data from the UK The Health Improvement Network (THIN) and HK Clinical Data Analysis...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract Background: Awareness of domestic violence and abuse (DVA) as a problem among military personnel (serving and veterans) has grown in recent years, and there is a need for research to inform improvements in the identification of and response to DVA in this population. This study aimed to explore the experience of health and welfare professi...
Article
Full-text available
Background Preterm birth (PTB) and small for gestational age (SGA) are increasingly prevalent, with major consequences for health and development into later life. There is emerging evidence that some risk processes begin before pregnancy. We report on associations between maternal and paternal common mental disorders (CMD) before and during pregnan...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose: Linked maternity, neonatal and maternal mental health records were created to support research into the early life origins of physical and mental health, in mothers and children. The Early Life Cross Linkage in Research (eLIXIR) Partnership was developed in 2018, generating a repository of real-time, pseudonymised, structured data derived...
Article
Full-text available
Depression affects around one in ten women in the first few months after birth, making it one of the most common morbidities to affect women during this time. It is associated with a range of adverse sequalae for women, children and the wider family (Meltzer‐Brody et al,Nat Rev Dis Primers,2018;4:18022). A range of risk factors have been identified...
Article
Perinatal mental health has become a significant focus of interest in recent years, with investment in new specialist mental health services in some high-income countries, and inpatient psychiatric mother and baby units in diverse settings. In this paper, we summarize and critically examine the epidemiology and impact of perinatal mental disorders,...
Article
Full-text available
Rationale: Despite interventions to improve detection rates, domestic violence, and abuse (DVA) remains largely undetected by healthcare services. We therefore aimed to examine the acceptability, feasibility, and sustainability of an intervention aiming to improve DVA detection rates, which included a clear referral pathway (i.e., the BRAVE interve...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives Estimates of depression prevalence in pregnancy and postpartum are based on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) more than on any other method. We aimed to determine if any EPDS cutoff can accurately and consistently estimate depression prevalence in individual studies. Methods We analyzed datasets that compared EPDS scores t...
Preprint
Full-text available
Purpose: the aim of this study was to explore staff perceptions of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health service delivery and outcomes for women who were pregnant or in the first year after birth (perinatal women). Methods: secondary analysis of an online mixed-methods survey open to all mental health care staff in the UK involving 3...
Article
Full-text available
Background/objective: Perinatal mental health services are a current NHS priority and services are being increased for women. There is limited research on mothers' perspectives of these services and most research focuses on mother and baby units (MBUs). This study explored women's views of their experiences of generic wards, MBUs and crisis resolu...
Article
Full-text available
Background Research in schizophrenia and pregnancy has traditionally been conducted in small samples. More recently, secondary analysis of routine healthcare data has facilitated access to data on large numbers of women with schizophrenia. Aims To discuss four scientific advances using data from Canada, Denmark and the UK from population-level hea...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Despite a high prevalence of antenatal depression in low- and middle-income countries, there is very little evidence for contextually adapted psychological interventions delivered in rural African settings. The aims of this study are: (1) to examine the feasibility of procedures for a future fully powered efficacy trial of contextually...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Despite a high prevalence of antenatal depression in low- and middle-income countries, there is very little evidence for contextually adapted psychological interventions delivered in rural African settings. The aims of this study are: (1) to examine the feasibility of procedures for a future fully powered efficacy trial of contextually...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Despite a high prevalence of antenatal depression in low- and middle-income countries, there is very little evidence for contextually adapted psychological interventions delivered in rural African settings. The aims of this study are: (1) to examine the feasibility of procedures for a future fully powered efficacy trial of contextually...
Chapter
Women in the perinatal period are at risk for psychiatric disorders. They suffer from depression, anxiety disorders, puerperal psychosis, and bipolar disorder in both the antenatal and postnatal periods. If the affected mothers could not function properly, as a result, the children’s growth and development would be negatively affected. In severe ca...
Article
Full-text available
Background How neighbourhood characteristics affect the physical safety of people with mental illness is unclear. Aims To examine neighbourhood effects on physical victimisation towards people using mental health services. Method We developed and evaluated a machine-learning-derived free-text-based natural language processing (NLP) algorithm to a...
Article
Full-text available
Background anxiety and depression are common in women with gestational diabetes but it is not clear whether they are more likely to precede the onset of gestational diabetes or to co-occur with it. Our aims were to compare the strength of association between common mental disorders of anxiety and depression i) before pregnancy and ii) during pregna...
Chapter
Mental health conditions, which include depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, are common among women and men prior to or during pregnancy, as well as in the postnatal period. It’s estimated that approximately 18% of parents will have a preconception common mental disorder (e.g. depression and anxiety) in adolescence and young adu...
Article
Women who receive a diagnosis of personality disorder may face particular challenges in the context of having a baby. However, this area has received little attention. This study aimed to qualitatively explore experiences of mental health support during the perinatal period in a group of mothers who self-reported having a personality disorder diagn...
Article
Full-text available
Background: In rural Ethiopia, 72% of women are exposed to lifetime intimate partner violence (IPV); IPV is most prevalent during pregnancy. As well as adversely affecting women's physical and mental health, IPV also increases the risk of child morbidity and mortality associated with maternal depression, thus making antenatal care an important opp...