Montreal Antenatal Well-Being Study

Montreal Antenatal Well-Being StudyLead Researcher: Kieran O’Donnell, PhD

As many as one in five moms experience anxiety or depression during pregnancy, the experience of which is associated with detrimental outcomes for both mothers and their children. For example, maternal suicide is a leading cause of death in the prenatal period. Likewise, research shows that a mother’s prenatal mental health can affect her child’s development, including cognitive and socio-emotional development. Little is understood about how biological, social and psychological factors combine to increase women’s risk of experiencing adverse mental health during pregnancy. Neither do we understand why some children experience the developmental affects of prenatal mental health while others do not.

The Montreal Antenatal Well-Being Study is one of the largest studies in Canada to better understand how biological, social and psychological factors combine to influence women’s mental health and well-being  during pregnancy and the postpartum period. We are also seeking to understand when the best time is to screen pregnant women for anxiety and depression. We hope that, in the future, this will allow us to better support women who need help to boost their mood during pregnancy.


Recent publications:

  • Aristizabal MJ, Anreiter I, Halldorsdottir T, Odgers CL, McDade TW, Goldenberg A, Mostafavi S, Kobor MS, Binder EB, Sokolowski MB, O’Donnell KJ. Biological embedding of experience: A primer on epigenetics. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Oct 17. pii: 201820838. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1820838116. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31624126.
  • McEwen LM, O’Donnell KJ, McGill MG, Edgar RD, Jones MJ, MacIsaac JL, Lin DTS, Ramadori K, Morin A, Gladish N, Garg E, Unternaehrer E, Pokhvisneva I, Karnani N, Kee MZL, Klengel T, Adler NE, Barr RG, Letourneau N, Giesbrecht GF, Reynolds JN, Czamara D, Armstrong JM, Essex MJ, de Weerth C, Beijers R, Tollenaar MS, Bradley B, Jovanovic T, Ressler KJ, Steiner M, Entringer S, Wadhwa PD, Buss C, Bush NR, Binder EB, Boyce WT, Meaney MJ, Horvath S, Kobor MS. The PedBE clock accurately estimates DNA methylation age in pediatric buccal cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Oct 14. pii: 201820843. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1820843116. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31611402.


For more information on the study, please contact:

Cindy Hénault Robert, Study Coordinator
(514) 761-6131 ext. 2514