'I didn't want to struggle': Jacinda Ardern on her recovery from childbirth

Jacinda Ardern has revealed her struggle to recover from childbirth after delivering her daughter, Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford, in June.

Speaking to former Prime Minister Helen Clark for the UN Women National Committee for Aotearoa, Ms Ardern admitted that she got a little bit ahead of herself.

"I was so determined I needed to show signs that I was recovering quickly, because I didn't want to struggle on the return - I wanted to come back fully recovered and ready to go," she said.

"After week one, I went for a walk around the block and I remember about halfway around the block thinking, 'This was a very bad idea, it'll take me a very long time to get home.'" she laughed.

Childbirth can lead to devastating health problems. Around 30 to 50 percent of women will suffer pelvic organ prolapses afterwards, while up to 50 percent will be affected by incontinence.

Between 10 and 20 percent of women will need surgery for prolapse in their lifetime and one in four women will suffer from urine leakage.

The Prime Minister said that the experience made her think deeply about other women's experiences and why parental leave is so important.

Ms Ardern only took six weeks off, leaving Winston Peters in charge of the country - during which time he got mixed reviews after insulting Australia and criticising multiculturalism.

But Ms Ardern said she "couldn't and wouldn't" take more time off than she did.