Background: There is evidence that anxiety is common, perhaps even more prevalent than depression, in the post-partum period. In this review we propose adopting a transdiagnostic approach to perinatal mental health: to delineate psychopathology and identify potential underlying cognitive mechanisms such as repetitive negative thinking (RNT). Sampling and Methods: We provide an overview of key studies of RNT in perinatal mental health and suggest directions for future work. We propose the value of examining post-partum depression and anxiety, and their co-occurrence, and of testing whether the psychological mechanisms that predict and maintain depression and anxiety also play a role in these conditions in the post-partum period. Further, given that psychological distress often first emerges in the antenatal phase, we make a case for investigating RNT across the perinatal period – i.e., in antenatal and postnatal women. Results and Conclusions: RNT may be a modifiable risk factor which can be targeted in pregnancy to prevent depression and anxiety in new mothers.

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