The consumption of alcohol by women in Sweden is strongly increasing, especially in younger individuals. Since the rediscovery of the teratological properties of alcohol most of the studies concerning foetal alcohol damage in man have covered female skid row alcoholics. This investigation describes the medical and social characteristics of a group of women (n = 92) receiving inpatient care for alcoholism compared with an age-matched control group, in relation to obstetrical history. The conditions in the control group were in accord with those of the general population. Social problems and degree of alcoholism were noticeably advanced among the probands. The proband women who gave birth after established regular alcohol consumption were younger, showed more psychiatric complications during the treatment period, had started drinking and developing signs of advanced alcoholism earlier in life compared with probands who gave birth before established regular alcohol consumption. They also exhibited more social disturbances. The social problems caused by the mothers' alcohol abuse are expected to aggravate the biological consequences to their children.