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COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a type of coronavirus. The guidance is based on what is currently known about COVID-19. The Ministry of Health will update this interim guidance as additional information becomes available. The symptoms of COVID-19 are:

  • a cough
  • a high temperature 
  • shortness of breath.

If you have these symptoms and have recently been overseas, or have been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19, please telephone Healthline (for free) on 0800 358 5453 or your doctor immediately.

More information about COVID-19:

COVID-19 website 

COVID-19: information for visitors to CCDHB

COVID- 19: MOH Information for pregnant women, and those who have recently given birth 

COVID-19: MOH information on breastfeeding and those who have recently given birth

New Zealand College of Midwives (NZCOM) information about COVID-19 for pregnant women and mothers

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) information for pregnant women

World Health Organisation (WHO) advice on pregnancy and breastfeeding

Pregnancy in a Pandemic information sheet from PADA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Aotearoa) PADA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Aotearoa) 

Manage My Health website

Some GPs use an online service called ManageMyHealth which is a secure website which can receive your health information. Ask your GPs practice if they use this system. Find out more on the ManageMyHealth website.

ManageMyHealth offers you the ability to have an online Personal Health Record which you can arrange prescriptions and online GP consultations through. You need an Internet connection, ideally broadband.

Pregnancy information from the Ministry of Health

The Ministry of Education's HealthEd website has extensive information and resources related to pregnancy.

Visit the HealthEd website here.

Services and support during pregnancy.

Find out about the services and support available to you while you are pregnant.

Your pregnancy booklet 

This provides information on being pregnant, giving birth, the first few weeks after the birth, and the roles and responsibilities of LMCs (Lead Maternity Carers). You can access the free booklet online here or ask for a copy from your GP, midwife/LMC or by contacting us.

Pregnancy video weeks 0 to 14 weeks of pregnancy

Find out about keeping healthy and well during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

Find out more on the Ministry of Health website.

Alert signs – when to call your midwife (or specialist doctor)

Contact your midwife (or specialist doctor) straight away if you have concerns about your or your babies health. See the list of danger signs during pregnancy here.

Pregnancy checklist

Find a lead maternity carer (LMC)

Your LMC will support you during your pregnancy, labour and the first few weeks after your baby is born.

See our downloadable list of midwives in Wellington, Porirua and Kapiti or you can contact us for more information.

You can also read more about how to find a midwife here.

Folic acid and iodine

Start taking folic acid and iodine. These are essential nutrients for you and your baby.

Folic acid

Folic acid helps the body to make new cells. Folic acid is important because it can help to prevent birth defects of a baby’s brain and spine, such as spina bifida. Spina bifida can cause walking, bladder and bowel problems.

Take a folic acid tablet (0.8 milligram [mg]) every day for 4 weeks (1 month) before you might become pregnant through to 12 weeks after becoming pregnant.

If you find out that you are pregnant and you haven’t been taking a folic acid tablet, start taking tablets straight away. Keep taking them until the 12th week of your pregnancy.

You can buy folic acid tablets from pharmacies (or at a lower cost when prescribed by your midwife, medical practitioner or nurse practitioner - talk to them to find out more.)


Iodine helps the body to grow and develop, especially the brain. Because babies get iodine from their mothers, pregnant and breastfeeding women need more iodine.

During pregnancy and while breastfeeding, choose foods that are high in iodine and take an iodine tablet every day. Foods that are high in iodine are well cooked seafood, milk, eggs, some cereals and bread.

Take one 0.150 milligram (mg)/150 micrograms (mcg or μg) iodine-only tablet every day when pregnant and breastfeeding. You can buy iodine tablets at pharmacies (or at a lower cost when prescribed by your midwife, medical practitioner or nurse practitioner - talk to them to find out more.)

Read more about folic acid and iodine here.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is needed for strong bones and joints as well as healthy muscle and nerve activity. If you don’t have enough vitamin D during pregnancy, your baby may be born with low vitamin D levels. This can affect how your baby develops.

The sun is the main source of vitamin D. Small amounts of vitamin D can also be found in foods such as oily fish (tuna, sardines and salmon), eggs and some margarines, milks and yoghurts.

Some time in the sun is recommended so that your body can make vitamin D. Try to get outside before 10 am or after 4 pm between September and April, and around the middle of the day between May and August. The lighter your skin, the less time you need to be in the sun to make enough vitamin D. Don’t get sunburnt!

Some people have low levels of vitamin D – called vitamin D deficiency. If you have darker skin, spend most of your time inside, have liver or kidney disease or are taking certain medicines (eg, anticonvulsants), you are at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency. If you live south of Nelson-Marlborough in winter, you’re also more likely to have low vitamin D levels in late winter and early spring.

If you are worried that you don’t get enough vitamin D, or you have a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency, talk to your midwife, medical practitioner or nurse practitioner.

Make a decision about screening tests

A number of screening tests are offered for women and their babies. It is your choice whether to have these done or not. The first tests should happen in the first 10 to 14 weeks of your pregnancy.

Antenatal blood tests

Seven different tests are currently offered. These are usually carried out at the same time so you only have one set of blood taken. These tests are:

  • blood group and rhesus factor
  • full blood count
  • Rubella
  • Syphilis
  • Hepatitis B
  • HIV
  • Diabetes - HbA1c

For further information about any of your antenatal blood tests please talk to your Lead Maternity Carer (LMC).

Download a flyer about antenatal blood tests from the National Screening Unit. (PDF)

HIV testing in pregnancy

Pregnant women should be offered an HIV test along with their first antenatal blood tests.  Women have the option to decline the test.Most pregnant women with HIV are unaware they have the infection; an HIV test is the only way to tell. HIV virus can be passed onto others, including your unborn baby. Treatment in pregnancy reduces the risk of the HIV virus being passed to the baby from 30 percent to less than 1 percent.

Download leaflets about HIV testing in pregnancy from the HealthEd website.

Diabetes testing

Diabetes testing is offered twice in pregnancy: as part of the first antenatal blood test and again when you are 24 to 28 weeks pregnant. Read more about diabetes testing during pregnancy on the Ministry of Health

Screening for Down syndrome and other conditions

Antenatal screening for Down syndrome and other conditions can be done either before 14 weeks or between 14 and 20 weeks of pregnancy. Read more about this on the National Screening Unit website.

Give your baby the best possible start

Avoid smoking, alcohol and recreational drugs.

You may find the following resources useful:

More information about alcohol, drugs and support to quit smoking:

Find out more about quitting smoking

Find out more about why you shouldn't drink alcohol while you're pregnant

Read more about the risks of smoking, drugs and alcohol if you're pregnant

Eat well and stay active

Eating well and doing moderate physical activity during pregnancy are important for you and your baby. Nutritional needs are higher when you are pregnant. Meeting these needs helps protect the long-term health of both you and your baby.

Immunisations for pregnant women - whooping cough and influenza.

Immunisation against influenza and whooping cough during pregnancy is recommended by the Ministry of Health, and free. Talk to your doctor or practice nurse, or your midwife to find out how to protect you and your child.

Mothers pass some of their immunity along to their babies during pregnancy. This provides some protection to newborn babies during the first few weeks of life until they are able to be immunised.

Find out more about immunisations during pregnancy.

Zika virus

Zika virus is mainly transmitted by mosquitoes and may be present in any country that has the mosquitoes able to spread it. To date, the virus has been found in parts of Africa, southern Asia, the Pacific Islands, and the Americas.
Rare instances of sexual transmission (mainly male to sex partner) have also been documented.
Pregnant women who become infected with Zika can transmit the disease to their unborn babies, with potentially serious consequences. Reports from several countries, including Brazil, indicate an increase in severe birth defects (microcephaly in particular) in babies whose mothers were infected while pregnant.

Dental health, healthy eating and exercise

Dental health

Looking after your dental health is particularly important during pregnancy. Read 5 tips to keep your smile healthy on the Bee Healthy Regional Dental Service website.

Healthy eatingHealthy eating for pregnant women brochure cover

Eating well and doing moderate physical activity during pregnancy are important for you and your baby. Nutritional needs are higher when you are pregnant. Meeting these needs helps protect the long-term health of both you and your baby

The same site also has a resource about avoiding listeria for vulnerable people, including pregnant women.

Eating safely in pregnancy

Links to information about food safety

Find out more about eating well during pregnancy from Ministry of Health

Find out more about eating safely from Ministry of Primary Industries

Maternal Green Prescription (MGRx)

Provides a free programme managed by Sport Wellington to promote the health and well-being of pregnant women through improved nutrition and increased levels of physical activity. Sport Wellington Healthy Lifestyle Co-Ordinators work with women to encourage positive healthy lifestyle changes that will benefit their growing baby and whole whānau.

Find out more about the Maternal Green Prescription programme.

If you are pregnant and would like to make a positive change for you and your whānau, speak to your lead maternity carer, CCDHB community midwife or General Practitioner to see if a Maternal Green Prescription is right for you. Please use the following links to access referral information regarding green prescriptions.

Fill out a self referral form here.

See here for referral criteria

Being active during pregnancy

Find out more about how to stay active during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Sleep on side when baby's inside from 28 weeks of pregnancy

It is recommended that women who are pregnant sleep on their side from 28 weeks of pregnancy this aims to reduce the risk of late stillbirth.

Visit the website for further information and downloadable PDFs.

Newborn screening programmes

Newborn Metabolic Screening Programme

This screens for rare but potentially serious disorders such as phenylketonuria (PKU), cystic fibrosis and congenital hypothyroidism. A blood sample is taken from your baby's heel at 48 hours of age (the 'heel prick' or 'Guthrie' test). If a disorder is found, early treatment can prevent permanent damage or death.

Find out more about newborn metabolic screening.

Newborn Hearing Screening Programme

This screens for hearing loss, referring to audiology for diagnosis and treatment.

Find out more about newborn hearing screening.

SmartStart - access government services

SmartStart logoThe Department of Internal Affairs, along with several other government agencies including the Ministry of Health, have created an online service called SmartStart.

SmartStart is an online tool for parents that makes it easy for them to access government services and support during pregnancy, and the first years of their new baby.

SmartStart provides users with integrated information about services provided by a range of agencies to help parents check that they’re not missing out on financial help and provides tips on keeping parents and baby healthy and safe.

Neonatal Trust

Neonatal Trust logoThe Neonatal Trust provides support to families of premature or sick full-term babies as they make their journey through neonatal care, the transition home, and onwards.

Find out more about the Neonatal Trust here

In Wellington the Neonatal Trust Office and Shop is located just inside the entrance to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Level 4, Wellington Regional Hospital.

Parenting help, information and courses


Plunket provides support services for the development, health and wellbeing of children under 5 years old. For more information visit Plunket's website

Or phone PlunketLine - available 24/7 on 0800 933 922.

SKIP: strategies with kids, information for parents

Whakatipu is a kaupapa that encourages strong whānau connections which nurture and develop tamariki. Tikanga and pakiwaitara are interwoven with child development information, ideas and activities for whānau.

Find out more on SKIP's website.

Parent help Wellington

The only designated free national parenting helpline in New Zealand that is available from 9am to 11pm, 7 days a week. Find out more on the Parent Help website or phone 0800 568 856.

The Parenting Place

Early Years Toolbox Parenting courses for 0 to 6 years. This course that runs over 6 weeks and covers everything from behaviour management techniques to ways of creating great family memories.

Find out more on the Parenting Place website.


A programme for first time parents and babies with weekly sessions covering a variety of topics such as sleeping, teething, temperament, childhood illnesses with play sessions with age-appropriate equipment to support infants' learning and development. It's also an opportunity to meet other new parents. Centres are throughout Wellington.

Find out more about the Space programme.

Tapuaki: Pacific pregnancy and parenting information

Here you will find information about pregnancy and parenting to help you stay safe and healthy during your pregnancy and to care for your baby when he or she arrives. Learn about what you, your partner and/or family can do to ensure the mother and baby are healthy, find links to different services and resources such as videos, and read stories written by other parents about their experiences in Tala (story) Tapuaki. The information is available in several different Pacific languages by clicking on the flags at the top right of the website.

There is also a Tapuaki app available on Google Play and iTunes.


Download the Tapuaki app to find a midwife or to see what baby looks like week by week.


Support for parents of twins, triplets or more

Wellington Multiple Birth Club provides support, information and resources.

Support for parents of children with special needs

Parent to Parent is a nationwide not-for-profit organisation that was formed in 1983 to support the families of babies, children, teens and adults with any type of disability or health impairment.

Find out more on the Parent to Parent website.

Postnatal and Antenatal Distress support

Support groups and a range of other services are available.

Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Aotearoa (PADA) website. It has information for pregnant women, new mothers, new fathers and families affected by depression or anxiety around pregnancy and a new baby. It also has a comprehensive list of support helplines and services.

Please see 

Little Shadow offers counselling, support and information for those experiencing perinatal distress. We walk beside you in your journey, working collaboratively with health professionals and other organisations to help you on your journey to wellness.

PO Box 9362 Marion Square, Wellington 6141

p. 04 472 3135

Mothers Helpers

Provide support to mothers experiencing ante-natal and postnatal anxiety and depression, also offer PND Recovery courses and follow-up counselling in 12 areas across the North Island as well as online.  These are delivered by qualified counsellors, social workers, life coaches or mental health nurses.

Phone:  0800 002 717  or  022 093 1822

Wellington Women's Refuge

Women's Refuge is an organisation for women and their children to help prevent and stop family violence in New Zealand.

Visit the Women's Refuge website.

Crisisline: toll free from anywhere in New Zealand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843.

Power to Protect

When your baby keeps on crying

One of the hardest times can be when your baby keeps on crying and you can’t work out why. If you find yourself getting upset, it’s OK to put your baby down gently in a safe place, walk away and take a break.

Do not pick up your baby until you have calmed down. Your baby is more likely to calm down when you are feeling calm and in control.

Look after yourself. Make a cup of tea or coffee, or phone a friend or someone in your whānau.

You could also phone PlunketLine on 0800 933 922 or Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice or support.

Never shake a baby

Never, ever shake a baby. Never leave a baby alone with anyone who may lose control. A single moment of losing control may damage a baby forever. Babies can die if they are shaken.

If you ever think your baby has been hurt, call 111. Don’t let fear or pride stand in your way. It could save your baby’s life.

The Kidshealth website has a video called Power to Protect about how to cope with the stress of a baby’s crying and what can happen if a baby is shaken.

Related websites

Crying: what to do – Kidshealth
Why babies cry and what you can do about it.

Shaken baby syndrome – Kidshealth
Why you should never shake a baby. Also includes the Power to Protect video.

Last updated 22 September 2020.