Women’s experiences of being pregnant with their first child and their expectations of the birth were explored and interpreted by means of interviews with six women. The interpretation was inspired by Antonovsky’s salutogenic theory. First-time pregnant women’s experience of pregnancy objectifies previous life events, relationships in daily life and with healthcare personnel, as well as expectations about support during the birth. Previous life events seemed to determine how the women coped with pregnancy and to influence their thoughts and feelings about the birth experience. Together, these findings revealed that the women made a significant effort to reduce or stabilize the tension and stress caused by their pregnancy.

Keywords: birth experience, pregnancy, salutogenesis, stress, support