Introducing 8 chapters, 432 pages, 120 illustrations, 2 expert authors & 1 big family of pregnancy book goodness!

Thousands of Kiwis have trusted ‘The New Zealand Pregnancy Book’ since it was first published way back in 1991. To find out why, have a peek at each chapter below or, for more detail, click the cover to the right for a nifty preview.


Chapter 1

Planning for pregnancy

Everything you need to know about how to plan for pregnancy, including nutrition, contraception and fertility, is in this chapter… +More

Chapter contents include:

Being in good health:

  • Nutrition for all women
  • Exercise
  • Smoking affects your health
  • Alcohol
  • The reproductive/menstrual/ovulatory cycle
  • Regular health care – having a primary care provider
  • Cervical spears
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs or STDs)
  • Breast examination

Sexuality and contraception:

  • Commonly used methods of contraception

Deciding whether to have a child:

  • Do I want a child?
  • Pre-conception health check
  • Stopping contraception

Trouble getting pregnant?

  • Body weight
  • Fertility awareness (natural family planning)
  • Intercourse
  • And if I’m still not pregnant?
  • Pregnancy for women not currently in a heterosexual relationship
  • Investigating infertility
  • Adoption

A Maori health professional’s perspective

Chapter 2

Suspecting and confirming pregnancy

Think you might be pregnant or simply want to know what signs to look out for? This chapter covers all the bases… +More

Chapter contents include:

What’s happening:

  • Fertilisation
  • Implantation
  • Hormonal changes

Finding out if you’re pregnant:

  • Earliest symptoms and signs
  • Pregnancy tests

Normal pregnancy:

  • How long does pregnancy really last?
  • What is antenatal care?
  • Education for pregnancy and parenting (antenatal education)

Unplanned pregnancy – your options:

  • Going ahead with an unplanned pregnancy
  • Termination of pregnancy (abortion)
  • Adoption

A Pacific health professional’s perspective

Chapter 3

The first three months

Weeks 1-13 – need help navigating the first stages of pregnancy? This chapter will walk you through all the key topics… +More

Chapter contents include:

What’s happening?:

  • Problems with development
  • Precautions that can reduce the risk of infections
  • Feelings and changes:
  • Nausea and vomiting (‘morning sickness’)
  • The growth of the uterus and common problems
  • Hormonal changes

Helping yourself:

  • Tiredness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Breast tenderness
  • Skin itchiness and dryness
  • Vaginal thrush and bacterial vaginosis
  • Urinary frequency and infection
  • Constipation


  • Suspecting miscarriage
  • After a miscarriage: feelings
  • Pregnancy after miscarriage
  • Ectopic pregnancy

Choosing a system of antenatal care:

  • A midwife as your LMC
  • A GP obstetrician as your LMC
  • A specialist obstetrician as your LMC
  • How to decide?
  • Changing your LMC
  • The first antenatal visit with your LMC
  • Things your LMC will want to know
  • Tests for checking on the mother’s health
  • Tests for checking on the baby’s development (prenatal diagnosis)
  • Ongoing pregnancy care

Ting’s story: Choosing a lead maternity carer

Chapter 4

The second three months

Weeks 14-27 – what changes can I expect as the baby grows? Can I exercise? Should I be worried about these symptoms? This chapter has all the answers… +More

Chapter contents include:

What’s happening?:

  • The baby
  • The placenta
  • Maternal changes


  • Expansion
  • Movements (‘quickening’)
  • Travel during pregnancy

Helping yourself:

  • Exercise during pregnancy
  • Essential pregnancy exercises
  • Nutrition
  • Sexual activity


  • Hypertension of pregnancy and pre-eclampsia (toxaemia)
  • Sugar diabetes (diabetes mellitus)
  • Intra-uterine growth restriction (IUGR)
  • Cervical incompetence/insufficency
  • Very early premature labour and stillbirth
  • Coping with the death of a baby

Continuing health care:

  • Continuing antenatal health care
  • Prenatal screening and diagnostic tests
  • Dental health
  • Education for parenthood

Planning for birth and beyond:

  • Considering where you will give birth
  • Considering breastfeeding
  • Considering employment
  • Income support
  • What to wear?
  • Household matters
  • Baby clothes and equipment

Ngawari’s story: A first birth at home

Chapter 5

The last three months

Weeks 28-40 – nearing the big day and need to get organised? This chapter covers everything from changes in you and your baby to planning the birth & more… +More

Chapter contents include:

What’s happening?:

  • The baby
  • Maternal changes


  • Practical problems
  • Looking forward

Helping yourself:

  • Looking after your pelvic floor
  • Perineal massage
  • Looking after your skin
  • Sleeping, bending and lifting
  • Sexual activity

When pregnancy becomes complicated:

  • Multiple pregnancy
  • Bleeding (antepartum haemorrhage)
  • Blood clots (deep vein thrombosis, or DVT)
  • Severe abdominal pain in later pregnancy
  • The Rhesus factor
  • Heart disease in pregnancy
  • Premature birth
  • Stillbirth

Continuing health care:

  • Antenatal visits
  • Possible tests in the last three months
  • Antenatal admission to hospital
  • Going to pregnancy and parenting classes
  • Breathing and relaxation for birth

Planning for birth:

  • Changes at the very end of pregnancy
  • A plan for birth
  • Preparation for birtWho is going to help at birth?

A couple’s story: A first birth

Chapter 6


This chapter walks you through all the stages of labour, including how to identify its onset, how to work as a team, complications & interventions, & more… +More

Chapter contents include:

The onset of labour:

  • Definite signs of action
  • Helping yourself in early labour

What’s happening? The normal pattern of labour:

  • The first stage of labour
  • The second stage of labour
  • The third stage of labour

Working as a team during labour:

  • First stage of labour
  • Checking on your baby
  • Transition (the end of the first stage)
  • Second stage of labour
  • The birth
  • Third stage of labour
  • After the birth

Complications and interventions:

  • When home birth is no longer advisable
  • Induction of labour
  • Augmenting labour
  • The ‘posterior’ baby
  • Breech birth
  • Forceps delivery
  • Vacuum (ventouse) delivery
  • Delayed delivery of the placenta
  • Post-partum haemorrhage (PPH)
  • Caesarean section
  • Actively assisting a baby to breathe (neonatal resuscitation)
  • When a baby is born with a severe abnormality

Rhiannon’s story: A first birth in hospital

Moana’s story: A first birth in hospital

Gabrielle’s story: Four home births

Chapter 7

The week after birth

Looking for a helping hand now that you have a new baby? This chapter starts from the first few hours after birth, taking it one day at a time to give you both the best possible start… +More

Chapter contents include:

The first few hours:

  • Feelings
  • Checking on your baby
  • Checking on you
  • The first feed
  • Leaving the birthing area
  • Family and friends (for partners and support people)
  • Bonding – the mother-baby unit

What’s happening?:

  • Your body – changes after birth
  • Your baby – changes after birth

Feeding your baby:

  • Breastfeeding
  • Bottle-feeding

One day at a time (days 1-4):

  • First day
  • Second day
  • Third and fourth days

When a baby needs special care:

  • The special-care unit
  • Treating jaundice (phototherapy)

After a Caesarean:

  • Post-operative pain relief
  • Intravenous (IV) lines, drains and catheters
  • Feeding your baby after a Caesarean
  • Your Caesarean wound
  • Exercises after a Caesarean

Looking after a new mother:

  • Midwife visits
  • For partners and support people

Terri’s story: Four Caesareans

Chapter 8

The first three months with your baby

This chapter will set you up for those crucial early weeks with your baby, covering everything from feeding, nappy-changing, development and continuing health.… +More

Chapter contents include:

Feeding your baby:

  • Breastfeeding in weeks 2-6
  • Breastfeeding in weeks 4-6 and beyond
  • Eating for breastfeeding
  • Expressing milk
  • Combination feeding
  • If a baby fails to thrive

What’s happening:

  • Your body – further changes
  • Your baby – growth and development
  • Your baby – ill health

Baby care:

  • Nappy-changing
  • Clothes for your baby
  • Bathing your baby
  • Bedding
  • Some common problems in young babies

Feelings – and feeling in control:

  • Coping with an unsettled baby
  • Asking for help (for all parents and support people)
  • Getting out of the house
  • Post-natal depression and related problems

Cot death, or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS):

  • Reducing the risk of cot death
  • Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

Charlotte’s story: Cot death

Continuing health care:

  • Home or clinic visits
  • Your six-week check
  • Contraception after childbirth
  • Vaccination programme
  • Having a regular primary care provider
  • Registering the birth

Life with a baby:

  • Looking after yourself
  • Enjoying your baby

Anna’s story: Three small children