This study examined the associations between perceived parental care and control in childhood and maternal anxiety, depression and parenting stress during the transition to parenthood. Eighty-eight women completed the Parental Bonding Instrument, self-report measures of anxiety and depression and a structured diagnostic interview (Mini-plus International Neuropsychiatric Interview) during the third trimester of pregnancy. The MINI-Plus and anxiety and depression measures were re-administered at 7 months postpartum. The Parenting Stress Index was also administered at this time. Significant associations were found between maternal 'affectionless control' and prenatal and postnatal symptom measures of anxiety and depression, p values <0.005. Compared to women who reported optimal parenting, women who recalled maternal 'affectionless control' were also six times more likely to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder during pregnancy (OR = 6.1, 95 % CI = 2.17-30.11) and seven times more likely to be diagnosed with postnatal major depression (OR = 6.8, 95 % CI = 1.80-25.37). Paternal 'affectionless control' was associated with significantly higher scores on symptom measures of prenatal and postnatal anxiety, p values <0.005. This study suggests that assessing a woman's own parenting history is important in identifying and managing the risk of prenatal and postnatal affective disorders and parenting stress.