Barack Obama's advice to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

Jacinda Ardern talked parenting with Barack Obama.
Jacinda Ardern talked parenting with Barack Obama. Photo credit: Supplied

As well as having led countries, there's something both Barack Obama and Jacinda Ardern will soon have in common - parenthood.

Former US President Obama has two daughters, while New Zealand Prime Minister Ms Ardern is expecting her first child in June.

When the two met for the first time at Government House on Thursday, they spoke together in a one-on-one conversation - during which time the former President gave Ms Ardern some parenting advice.

"He gave me tips that I think I will probably long remember," she told media.

She declined to specify exactly what the father-of-two told her, but did give an insight into what's on her mind ahead of becoming a mother.

"The question that I asked was simply, 'How do you deal with guilt?'" Ms Ardern explained.

"I have no doubt I'm going to experience some of that in the future as I juggle the roles I have."

The Prime Minister said President Obama reassured her with some simple advice.

"His insights were the same as I'm sure any parent would probably give me: that you do your best."

Before their private conversation, President Obama could be heard telling Ms Ardern that her pregnancy was "so exciting" while the two walked together outside Old Government House.

Ms Ardern told media that the former President is "exactly as you see on-screen".

"He's incredibly warm, laidback, approachable and quick to make you feel at ease."

While President Obama enjoyed a relatively scandal-free two terms compared to his successor, he and wife Michelle did face some criticism over their parenting while in office.

At a Thanksgiving ceremony in 2014, their daughters Sasha and Malia, who were then aged 13 and 16 respectively, were criticised for wearing short skirts and looking "bored" by some right-wing commentators.

In 2016, footage emerged showing Malia smoking what appeared to be a joint at a music festival.