The adult children of alcoholic parents are at increased risk of having health problems compared to the adult children of nonalcoholic parents. Little is known about how growing up with alcoholic parents affects women's experiences when pregnant. The objectives of this study were to explore how adverse childhood experiences related to parental alcohol abuse affect women during their pregnancy and to assess the potential implications of women's experiences for antenatal care provision. Twelve in-depth interviews were performed with women who were brought up by an alcoholic mother and/or father. Systematic text condensation was used to analyse the data. Two main categories were identified: 'establishing relationships and having social support' and 'antenatal care encounters and concerns during pregnancy'. Women's trust in others in adult life was impacted by their upbringing. Strained relationships with their parents and few friends meant that the women primarily relied on their partners for support. Neither antenatal care providers nor women talked about women's childhood experiences at the visits. The women described concerns related to the baby's health, lack of predictability and control during the pregnancy, as well as apprehensiveness regarding birth and motherhood. The potential implications for practice include systematic screening for adverse childhood experiences, antenatal preparation classes, parenting courses, and post-graduate training.
Keywords: antenatal care; children of alcoholics; pregnancy.