"I was depressed during pregnancy!"

Everyone expects you to be cheery during pregnancy, but depression is more common than we think.What is it like to have Antenatal Depression? Christina Rutherford shares her story with theAsianparent.

Depression during pregnancy

"My Pregnancy was pretty normal, except for the fact that I developed Antenatal Depression (AD) in my seventh month of pregnancy!

As you can imagine, it was simply horrible. I didn't want to work, talk to anyone, and I didn't even want my baby. I would think of ways to induce labor early just so I wouldn't be pregnant," shares Christina Rutherford, a 24 year old first time mum.

"I know that sounds horrible, but it got to such a terrible point where my family really noticed the change and was about to get help for me. I finally decided to call my Doctor, who immediately put me on anti-depressants, which helped my depression a lot," adds Rutherford.

Antenatal depression during pregnancy, while not as talked about, may be even more common than postnatal depression. According to KK Hospital, Singapore, one in five women are likely to have "depressive symptoms associated with impairment of functioning, and about one in ten will have clinical depression - that is, depression requiring medical attention."

What causes antenatal depression?

The causes for antenatal depression are often an interplay of various factors. Some common reasons for antenatal depression include:

- Adjusting to a an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy

- Having a complicated pregnancy

- Fetal abnormalities

- Personal or family history of depression

- Relationship difficulties

- Interpersonal problems

- Financial and occupational problems

- Lack of social support

- Loss of a loved one

- Previous pregnancy loss

- Substance abuse and dependency

What are the symptoms of antenatal depression?

- Hopelessness or feeling that life is meaningless

- A sense that nothing feels fun anymore

- Irritability

- Loss in interest

- Poor sleep

- Poor appetite

- Never ending fatique

- Excessive self-blame or guilt

What can you do about antenatal depression?

If you feel you are suffering from a low mood then you should talk to your GP, gynea or someone you can trust. If left untreated, your depression may worsen and lead to adverse effects for you and your baby.

Your GP might be able to suggest forms of help such as counseling and other psychological therapy. If your depression is severe they may suggest a course of antidepressants which will be safe to take during pregnancy.