The study was conducted in order to describe the extent and content of advice on common ailments in pregnancy given by doctor or midwife during prenatal visits and to describe the frequency of ailments in the period before the visits. The design was a nationwide cross-sectional study based on questionnaires completed by pregnant women who had seen a general practitioner (GP), midwife or hospital doctor for prenatal care. Ailments and advice in connection with one specific visit were reported. The questionnaires were completed by 517 women after a prenatal visit to their GP (92% of eligible), by 514 women after a prenatal visit to the midwife (91% of eligible), and by 203 women after a prenatal visit to a doctor in the maternity department in pregnancy week 16-18 (84% of eligible). The results showed that nausea, pollakisuria, tiredness and heartburn had been present during the period before the visit in about half the women. Between a third and a fourth of the women had been discomforted by back pain, discharge or cramps. From 15 to 58 percent had been given advice, depending on the symptom. The advice was of many different kinds. To a large extent the women wanted to talk to the health professionals about the ailments, and most often they wanted to talk to a midwife about the ailments. We conclude that common ailments of pregnancy are frequent and they should be investigated more. Nearly all pregnant women want to talk about the subject during prenatal visits. The objectives of giving advice should be clearer, and clinical studies of the effectiveness of the advice are needed.