New Zealand PM in hospital to give birth

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New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has given birth to a baby girl.

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters is now acting prime minister and would run the country for the next six weeks while Ardern takes maternity leave according to a previously published agreement, her office said in a statement.

Adern, 37, posted a photo online of the child, her first, with partner Clarke Gayford.

Benazir Bhutto had her second child in 1990 when she was prime minister of Pakistan.

The prime minister, who had been given a due date of June 17, only stopped flying to the capital on June 11.

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Ardern thanked everyone for their kindness and said they were all doing really well.

The former prime minister said attitudes had changed since she'd entered politics and that was a good thing.

"Only later did I learn that I was the only head of government in recorded history actually to give birth while in office".

Ms Ardern worked until late into her pregnancy, regularly encountering members of the public who touched her stomach and passed on gifts such as "onesies" and miniature rain boots, known as "gumboots".

"I am not the first woman to multitask".

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addresses Parliament in May in Wellington, New Zealand.

With the imminent birth of Jacinda and Clarke Gayford's child, it will be a given that Clarke is in the birthing room with Jacinda as she gives birth.

She has indicated her leave will not begin until the moment she arrives at hospital to give birth.That is likely to be Auckland Hospital. "These things may seem minor at the time, but to the labouring woman, he or she is her rock, her strength to succeed!" says Liz Pearce, Parent Education and Operations Manager at Parents Centres New Zealand.

New Zealand's first women prime minister, Helen Clark, wrote on Twitter: "What a proud day. gender quality in action".

Ardern, who refused to discuss plans for motherhood during the election campaign, waited until January to reveal on Facebook she had conceived and was going to be "prime minister and a mum".

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She announced her pregnancy a few months after she took office.

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