Labour: Partners and your support

(…yes, that’s you – partner, parent, grandparent, friend…)

  1. 1 Contribute to pregnancy and parenting education classes

    Around 30-38 weeks, you’ll get lots of practical info like how baby’s developing, the birth process and breastfeeding. Check out or a District Health Board funded class in your area.

  2. 2 Keep talking!

    Good communication about the impending birth is key to playing an active role – learn some technical terms (like cervix, transition, perineum) so you’re not baffled by science on the day.

  3. 3 100% committment

    Once you’ve committed to support her, make sure you’re providing unwavering support, encouragement and practical help.

  4. 4 Have I got my car keys…?

    Does the hospital have parking arrangements? Do you have your cell phone (and charger)? Or money for the hospital pay phone. Who will look after the kids during labour? It’s worth planning ahead!

  5. 5 How do I know?

    Is she in labour? If she starts to get considerable pain in her lower tummy, even it is not coming and going… talk to your LMC about when to call for labour support. They’ll often advise to try and stay put at home for the early stages of labour.

  6. 6 Back rub time

    Use firm circular motions over the lower back, use the heel of the hand, add a little oil or talcum powder and you’ll be providing much needed relief during labour.

  7. 7 Lip service

    Encourage sipping a little water or sucking some ice between every contraction.

  8. 8 Visit the ladies

    Encourage visits to the toilet at least every hour, and be a chaperone!

  9. 9 Trying different positions in labour

    Encourage moving around as much as she can, helping her get into different positions – but don’t be surprised if she wants to change again.

  10. 10 Exhale…

    Breathing through the contractions with her as they get stronger will help slow the pace. Remember what you’ve both practised.

Eating Right

Oh so important during pregnancy and breastfeeding

  1. 1 A little bit of this, a little bit of that

    Finding variety and balance in your diet. Those additional nutritional needs when you’re pregnant can be met by eating good, fresh food – here’s what we mean:

    You will need: Great sources:
    Calories Starches – wholemeal bread, pasta, potatoes, kumara, taro, rice. Fats – butter, cheese, milk (all in moderation), cooking oils, salad oils
    Protein Milk (trim), butter, cheeese, lean red meat, fish and other kaimoana, chicken (all freshly prepared), all types of beans, nuts, lentils
    Iron Lean red meat, fish and other kaimoana, chicken, eggs (all freshly prepared)Wholegrain bread, legumes, dried nuts, parsley, spinach, silverbeetVitamin C also helps iron absorption, so try to eat foods rich in Vitamin C alongside the above
    Folic acid Green leafy vegetables (puha, cabbage, lettuce), raw or lightly cooked
    Vitamin B (especially B12) Meat, milk, fish, eggs, Vitamin B12-fortified foods (some soy milks, textured vegetable protein)
    Vitamin C Fresh fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruit, kiwifruit, capiscums, kumara and potatoes
    Vitamin D Oily fish (sardines and tuna)
    Calcium Milk (trim), cheese, yoghurt, canned fish with bones dried fruit, wholegrain bread, cereals, nuts. Calcium metabolism is also helped by Vitamin D
    Zinc and Magnesium Cereals, wholegrain breads, nuts and fish
  2. 2 First take folate

    Take folic acid tablets during early pregnancy and if you can even before you conceive – it cares for your baby’s brain and spinal cord development. Eat that spinach like Popeye!

  3. 3 Drink!

    Sounds obvious, but water and trim milk are best. Careful of fizzy drinks, sugary fruit juices, too much coffee or tea and say a big no-no to alcohol.

  4. 4 Eating for … one (sorry)

    No need to “eat for two”, but don’t scrimp with portions either. Eat moderate portions, use the palm of your hand as a guide.  Expect to gain 6-8kg during pregnancy – especially in the second and third trimester.

  5. 5 Say goodbye to happy hour

    Alcohol in any amount can be a problem for your developing baby. Alcohol can affect your baby’s brain, face and heart at anytime during your pregnancy.

  6. 6 Grill, boil, steam

    Avoid frying food. Don’t overcook the nutrients out of veggies, but do make sure that chook is cooked properly.

  7. 7 Say (NO to soft) cheese

    Avoid processed cold foods like pate and soft cheeses, and be careful with unknown or suspect food sources, like deli foods that may have been sitting for extended periods of time.

  8. 8 Iron-ladies

    Vegan or Vegetarian diets may need supplements or to eat more iron-rich foods. Pick up plenty of legumes, nuts, wholegrain breads and cereals from the supermarket – and eat them!

  9. 9 Expecting twins?

    Then your nutritional needs are greater and you’ll more easily become deficient in folic acid and iron – so stock up and see what your LMC advises.

  10. 10 Helping with morning sickness

    This can affect you in the first 12-14 weeks, so try eating very small portions every 2 to 3 hours or try a range of foods – some might agree with you more than others, try stewed or tinned peaches, plain crackers, flat lemonade…

The Last 3 Months

Helping you out from Weeks 28-40+

  1. 1 School of Pregnancy

    Held once or twice a week, pregnancy and parenting classes are great for women and their partners or support person to learn more about expectations, meet other parents-to-be and begin those exercises and breathing techniques. Check out for more or ask your LMC for information about local classes that are District Health Board funded.

  2. 2 Can’t get no sleep…

    Trouble sleeping? You’re pretty much limited to sleeping on your side, sometimes a soft pillow under your tummy helps or use it to support your top leg. Avoid sleeping on your back. Even if you have to get up and visit the toilet in the night, return to bed and get valuable rest – you’ll often drift off again. Once you settle, baby will too!

  3. 3 Toilet tripping again

    As your uterus grows, your bladder gets squashed meaning you’ll spend time running to the toilet again. Pressure on your bowel can mean constipation strikes – eat plenty of vegetables, lots of fibre and drink enough water.

  4. 4 Baby’s position

    He or she is on the move! Your LMC will determine baby’s position by pushing quite firmly just above your pelvis with their hands. Top tip! Relax your tummy muscles and visit the bathroom beforehand – it’ll feel much more comfortable.

  5. 5 Kick start

    Feel like baby will be a footballer, ballerina or karate black-belt? You’ll begin to detect a daily pattern of baby’s movements, so take note of when your baby moves – it should be at least 10 times in 2-4 hours. Talk to your LMC if you are worried about your baby’s movements.

  6. 6 Breast changes

    Those milk-producing hormones have now taken control of your breasts! Small amounts of milk – colostrum – start being produced, and you may notice a few drops at your nipples.

  7. 7 And squeeze

    After week 20, make sure you do daily pelvic floor exercises to prevent incontinence  (both before and after birth). Keep these up – if you can control these muscles, it’ll help during birth.

  8. 8 Skinny genes

    As the skin of your tummy stretches, it can become itchy and red stretch marks can appear. Some women find massaging their skin beneficial, and the lines do fade after birth! Try almond oil to relieve itchiness, but test it on a small area of skin first.

  9. 9 Double the fun

    850 sets of twins and 10 sets of triplets are born every year in New Zealand. With multiple pregnancies, be prepared for more antenatal visits, more tests and a closely monitored labour to give you all optimal care.

  10. 10 Birth plan

    Keep this flexible! And remember to include preferences on any pain relief and active intervention, should they be needed. Chat with your LMC about this and you’ll feel much more prepared.

The Second Trimester

Helping you out from Weeks 14-27

  1. 1 Babymooning

    Take the opportunity to enjoy a well-earned holiday  – it’s the most comfortable time  for extended travel, by car, train or plane. Discuss international travel plans with your LMC before you book.

  2. 2 Get those swimming togs out!

    Walking, jogging, swimming, yoga, aquarobics – all help prevent loss of fitness for mum,  and make you smile! Mild and moderate exercise is best, but discuss any concerns with your LMC. Check out our Exercise Room for more ideas.

  3. 3 Home DIY

    Many New Zealanders get that nesting feeling and so think now is the right time to make some home improvements, decorate the nursery or move house. Do this now! Don’t leave it until baby is due.

  4. 4 Maternity wardrobe

    Are your jeans becoming too tight around the waist? Feeling frumpy in your baggy t-shirts? There are some great NZ maternity stores out there and if you’re on a budget, check out TradeMe for some nearly-new options. At some point during weeks 14-24 you’ll find some of your old wardrobe just doesn’t have room for you and baby anymore!

  5. 5 Boy, girl or surprise?

    At about 20 weeks, your ultrasound anatomy scan can show baby’s gender, so decide if you’d like to know the sex before you go in. Your baby’s anatomy and spinal health is checked here and it can be a very emotional time seeing baby on screen, so take along a partner or support person.

  6. 6 Heartburn

    As your growing uterus pushes on your tum, heartburn and indigestion are very common at this stage in pregnancy. Take note of the foods that induce heartburn and try to avoid them. Help by eating small meals and eating earlier in the day – and avoid going to bed after a big dinner.

  7. 7 Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition

    Now that the nausea has begun to improve, it’s a good time to think about the good nutritional value of your food. Check out our Top Ten Tips on Eating Well for advice on a balanced diet.

  8. 8 Back care

    Aches? Pains? Pressures? As the ligaments of your lower back and pelvis stretch to make room for baby, it’s important you look after your back and posture well. Don’t lift heavy objects, get daily rest, take exercise and when standing and sitting, avoid high heels and maintain the normal curve of your spine – try not to stick out that bum or tum!

  9. 9 Butterfly tummy

    If it’s your first baby, you may feel the baby move somewhere between 18 and 22 weeks – or as early as 16 if it is your second or third. Some women describe it as butterflies or a fluttering sensation – be sure to share the news as it is an exciting stage of pregnancy!

  10. 10 J. O. B.

    Most women find that they can work at their usual job until at least week 28 and often continue happily until week 36. It depends on your job however – heavy physical work, stressful situations or environmental hazards are all things to consider. Discuss parental leave with your employer or check out the Department of Labour.

The First 3 Months

Helping you out from Weeks 1 to 13

  1. 1 Am I pregnant?

    If you think there’s a chance you may be, confirm it with a pregnancy test asap. You can buy a home pregnancy test or visit your GP, medical centre or self-employed midwife for a free test.


  2. 2 First take folate

    Take folic acid tablets during early pregnancy and if you can even before you conceive – it cares for your baby’s brain and spinal cord development.

  3. 3 The drugs don’t work

    Avoid recreational drugs as they can affect your developing baby, causing miscarriage or abnormalities. Check with your Dr about any prescribed drugs you may be taking.

  4. 4 Auditioning your LMC (Lead Maternity Carer)

    Start looking early – this is a special and important relationship during your pregnancy. Your LMC could be a midwife, a GP or specialist obstetrician. Call freephone 0800 MUM 2 BE for LMC’s in your area or check out

  5. 5 The beginning of a beautiful friendship

    Meet your LMC for the first time once your pregnancy is confirmed. Remember to ask any questions you may have, your LMC will be asking lots of you – it’s very helpful to remember the date of your last period and take a pen and paper to make some notes!

  6. 6 Breast (ouch) tenderness

    Watch out for breast tenderness, your nipples especially may become super-sensitive – even before your period is missed.

  7. 7 Toilet tripping

    Feel like you are constantly taking trips to the bathroom? You may have interrupted sleep as a result of night time visits to the toilet.

  8. 8 That sicky feeling

    Get more rest to help with morning sickness. Eat very small portions every 2 to 3 hours. Try ginger, homepathic remedies or acupuncture. Remember, it generally gets better after weeks 11 to 15.

  9. 9 Let’s talk about sex

    You may feel changes in your desire for sex or notice differences in the experience itself. Some lucky women enjoy it more, others not as much.

  10. 10 ZZZZZZzzzzzz…..

    Rest. Put your feet up. Go to bed early. Listen to your body and relax!