Congratulations on your pregnancy! On this page, you’ll find some useful information about finding a midwife, specialist, and screening/testing in pregnancy, staying healthy, planning your baby’s birth, and what do I need for the baby?
Finding a midwife
Book a Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) such as a midwife or specialist (costs involved for a specialist) as soon as possible, there is a shortage and you may have difficulty finding a Midwife after 6-8 weeks
You can find a midwife by:
If you don’t have a midwife by 9 weeks, please see your Doctor to arrange urgent baby scans and maternity blood tests. Please also contact as soon as possible access to the primary teams at Wellington or Hutt Hospital who will help with your antenatal care and birth. Alternately book a private Obstetric Specialist in Wellington. https://www.wellingtonobstetrics.co.nz
Midwife / Specialist or hospital appointments are important to keeping baby and mama well.
During early pregnancy, the Midwife will want to see you every 4-6 weeks, then fortnightly, and then weekly during the last four weeks of pregnancy.
It is important to attend all check-ups for a safer pregnancy and birth. The Midwife will check the baby’s growth and make sure you are both well. If needed, she can refer you to a hospital team or specialist.
Your midwife is also “on-call” between visits for anything urgent or if you go into labour.
The hospitals also offer after-hours contact for urgent calls - you should have a number if you're booked in.
For more information about the role of a midwife, please visit.
Testing and Screening
First Antenatal Blood Test (6-8 weeks)
At your first midwifery visit, you will be given a form to get the first antenatal blood test done to check your blood group, your HB (haemoglobin), iron stores, antibodies screen, blood type, platelets and to check for rubella immunity and HIV status. Blood tests can be done at one of the Wellington SCL locations.
Nuchal Scan, MSS1 Screening and NIPT screening tests (10+ weeks) https://healthnavigator.org.nz/non-invasive-prenatal-testing(nipt)/
Your Midwife will discuss with you Screening tests that can be done to check for genetic conditions. These generally involve a Nuchal Scan and MSS1 Blood Tests - you must decide if you want these tests done. Please see here for a discussion of some of the benefits vs the costs. THERE ARE COSTS INVOLVED.
The screening tests provide a score with a high or low-risk factor for a baby to have aneuploidy, Down Syndrome, or another genetic condition. The results of these tests may lead to further screening tests that may be done by the National Screening Unit.
You will need to book the scan at pacific radiology, horizon radiology, or Wellington Ultrasound. Scans may have a cost-please ask when you book. Blood tests through SCL are free for NZ residents and generally, no appointment is needed.- apart from the 2 hour glucose challenge test for diabetes detection.
Alternatively, there are other Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening (NIPT) tests (10+ weeks) - A variety of screening tests with an accuracy of 75- 99% (cost involved $500-$700). These tests identify the most common chromosome conditions seen in newborns.
The tests are available by request at Wellington SCL or with Dr. Jay Marlow at https://www.wus.co.nz/nipt Dr Marlow also offers genetic counselling as part of the test cost. A negative test does not completely rule out all chromosomal abnormalities, but this is the most accurate form of non-invasive prenatal screening to date.
Any of the above tests may need to be followed up with more invasive procedures Amniocentesis or Chorionic Villus Sampling arranged by your midwife's with a free referral to Maternal-fetal Medicine at CCDHB or with a private specialist at Wellington Obstetrics - costs involved. read more:- https://www.fertilityassociates.co.nz/media/1067/fertility-facts-amniocentesis-and-cvs.pdf
Anatomy scan (18-20 weeks)
This scan checks that your baby is growing as expected, and looks at your baby’s heart, lungs, stomach, brain to check all is normal.
Second Antenatal Blood Tests (24-28 weeks) very important to do this as you head towards the 3rd trimester with your iron stores being used by the baby to grow.
This test re-checks your iron stores, HB and Platelets
The Glucose Challenge will check for gestational diabetes (GD). If you have GD, it is important to get treated as early as possible as it may have health implications for both you and your unborn baby.
Antibodies Blood Test (36 weeks - only if needed) Ask what blood group you are.
See here for information about this blood test. This blood test is generally only needed if you’re in a ONeg Bneg ABNeg blood groups.
Group B Strep Screening (35-37 weeks)
Screening for Group B Strep is done via a low vaginal swab. You can find out more about this screening here.
Additional post-date or growth scans/CTG (41 weeks)
At 41 weeks pregnant, you will be scanned to check the baby’s growth, placenta, and fluid volumes. You will also be offered a cardiotocograph (CTG) to check the baby’s heart rate and movements.
The flu vaccine is given in the flu season to protect both mother and baby. It is free during pregnancy.
The Whooping Cough vaccine is free to pregnant women and is repeated during each pregnancy. It is given between 28 and 36 weeks of pregnancy as offers protection to the pregnant person plus this vaccine helps the baby acquire some immunity against whooping cough until the baby has had both the follow-up vaccines at six weeks and 3-months of age.
New Zealand has a high number of cases of whooping cough in the community, and whooping cough is potentially fatal for young babies. Due to this, it is highly recommended for all pregnant women and their families. Though the vaccine is free for pregnant women, there is a cost involved for partners and whanau.
Your Midwife or Doctor or specialist can prescribe the following recommended pregnancy supplements for you:
It is recommended that you take folic acid before pregnancy, or as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. This helps baby’s brain and spine to develop properly. More information is available at health.govt.nz.
Iodine supplementation is recommended during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. More information is available at health.govt.nz.
Eating safely and well
Eat fresh, home-cooked meals with a variety of freshly washed vegetables and salads. Add in protein. Meat should be piping hot and balanced with carbohydrates such as potato, taro, or rice. Increase dairy products to keep calcium levels up.
Cut down on food that has no nutritional value. Choose water or trim milk to drink, and consider reducing sugar, fizzy drinks, fruit juice, tea, and coffee.
Food Smart website has tips on how to avoid listeria. Listeria can be caught from unwashed food, like lettuce and uncooked/raw shellfish, sushi, and soft cheeses.
Eat wisely to grow a healthy baby! Visit the health.govt.nz website for more information about eating well in pregnancy.
You may also be eligible to join a free programme, the Maternal Green Prescription, that will help encourage positive healthy lifestyle changes while you're pregnant. This includes practical food and cooking workshops, physical activity support, regular reviews, and more.
Your pregnancy weight gain will depend on your BMI, but it may be between 5 and 15kg.
Keep moving, and stay physically active. Continue walking and swimming with light-to-normal activities.
Things to avoid
When you’re pregnant, it’s recommended you avoid smoking, vaping, recreational drugs, and alcoholic beverages as these may harm your unborn baby.
Check if any herbal teas, prescribed medicines and over-the-counter pharmacy medications are safe.
for help to Stop Smoking/ vaping / alcohol/ drugs go to 0800 778 778 Quitline https://quit.org.nz/
Alcohol and Drug Helpline 0800 787 797 https://alcoholdrughelp.org.nz/helpline/
If you have morning sickness and you’re unable to keep food or fluids down at all, please seek urgent advice from your Midwife, Doctor or Hospital Emergency Department.
You can find general information about morning sickness here.
Miscarriage, Fetal abnormality, or the loss of a baby - information for bereaved families that is gentle and kind and full of good advice https://ww.wheturangitia.services.govt.nz
If you miscarry or think you might be miscarrying, contact your Midwife or go to the Emergency Department at the Hospital for help. for information on fetal abnormality, you will be referred to the MFM clinic at the hospital MFM= maternal-fetal medicine
You can learn more about miscarriage and find support on the Miscarriage Support website.
Mental Health text or call 1737 for free counselling at all times 24/7
If you are feeling mentally unwell, anxious, sad, depressed or suicidal, please get help immediately via your Midwife, your doctor or your emergency department.
For information and help relating to mental health for please visit the Mothers Matter website.
If you are prescribed antidepressants in pregnancy, or you are already taking antidepressants, you can visit this site to learn more.
Covid19 - for any cough, cold, flu symptoms - or if you have been in contact with someone who has covid19 please call your GP or NZ Min of Health Covid19 helpline immediately
Call NZ Ministry of Health covid line on 0800 358 5453 and please download the covid19 tracer App on google play or App Store
Planning your birth
Think about your choices of where and how you would like to give birth. Your Midwife can talk to you about your birthing options, and you can also visit https://www.maternity.org.nz/ for a range of excellent free pamphlets.
Some of the main choices you have to make include where to give birth (at home, at a primary birthing unit, or in hospital), options for pain relief, support person(s), birthing positions, cutting the cord, what to do with the placenta, and much more.
Huggies have a birth plan template that you may wish to use (even as a starting point).
Planning for a new baby: what baby needs?
- Safe sleep device for baby from birth to 1-3 years - baby Cot/ baby bassinet/ newborn Pepi-pod, Newborn Wahakura https://www.health.govt.nz/news-media/media-releases/new-safe-sleep-device-guidelines-reduce-sudi
- a baby capsule or car seat new (if possible) -Check the "USE BY" expiry dates of each car seat. Have the car seat fitted properly and checked by a car seat installer. Research shows that 50-75% are installed incorrectly which could put your baby in danger. The correct angle of the baby's airway is very important when they are in a car seat which means that baby should only be in the car seat for short spells when you are driving starting at 45 minutes at a time. https://www.nzta.govt.nz/safety/vehicle-safety/safety-belts-and-restraints/child-restraints/using-child-restraints-in-new-zealand/
- a wipe down or washable baby change mat - changing baby on the floor is safest
- Approximately 10-12 clean nappies per day
- Approximately 10-20 bottom wash clothes or 20+ wet wipes per day
- A baby bottom barrier cream or nappy rash cream is used at most nappy changes.
- Approximately 2-5 singlets each day (with or without sleeves depending on the season)
- Approximately 2-5 onesies each day ( or up to 6 separate outfits to wear ) (Wellington can have 4 seasons in 1 day)
- 1-2 pairs of socks or booties per day
- 1-2 cardigans per day if it's cooler weather
- A cotton or wool hat for the newborn baby after birth or if they are going out into the cool winter air or in summer a sunhat may be needed. ( Do not sleep baby with a hat on - it can lead to overheating and compromise babies breathing.
- Approximately 6-12 baby bibs and/or 6 spill clothes to wipe up small milky spills - do not use when baby is sleeping as it may get twisted and harm baby
- 2-4 baby towels and 2-4 baby facecloths
- 2-4 sets of sheets for the bassinet or cot
- a woollen/cotton/bamboo underlay or mattress protector ( NO plastic at all)
- 2-4 layers of wool/ cotton/ bamboo blankets that are tucked firmly in at the bottom and sides of the baby bassinet or cot. Please go to this website to check the best sleep position for baby https://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/pregnancy-and-kids/first-year/helpful-advice-during-first-year/safe-sleep
- A pram/ baby buggy or baby carrier once the baby is old enough to support its head well.These are not safe sleep devices so please do not leave baby to sleep in them
- a mat/ safe area for baby to have playtime on the floor once the baby is old enough ( 1-2 weeks for a full-term baby)
- 3-10 books to read to the baby from 1-2 weeks onwards. Consider joining baby up for free at your local library- and getting new books every week- The library is a good local resource and the baby rock and rhyme sessions for baby are fun. https://www.wcl.govt.nz/ https://porirualibrary.org.nz/
As a new parent to be/ it is a really good idea to get organised for a major earthquake or disaster before the baby comes. Feeding your baby in a disaster may become more difficult – you can find advice here.