Background. Mental health problems among children and adolescents are becoming more visible and some research indicates that they are increasing. Several studies suggest that social support counteracts the increasing risk of ill-health in families with children. However, there is a lack of studies which focus on the support that expectant mothers and parents might need.
Aim. The aim of the study was to describe mothers’ experiences of pregnancy, labour and homecoming, support needs, and sources of support in their role as parents.
Methods. One hundred and twenty-two mothers participated in the study by answering a questionnaire consisting of 37 questions. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics, chi-square tests and content analysis.
Findings. Mothers of infants had a great need to talk about their experiences of labour soon afterwards and over the following months. Most of the mothers had generally received support from their partners. However, in some situations, other people in their networks, and maternity and child health services had been more supportive than partners.
Discussion. The study highlights how important it is for expectant mothers and new mothers to be confirmed in their mothering role. Nurses in the maternity and child health services have an important task to support people in becoming and being parents, with regard to their emotional state. There is a need for more resources within these services for establishing parent groups, including groups for fathers. This could improve parents’ physical, psychological and emotional health, and decrease their need for health and social services.