Birth and Baby Care Classes

Becoming a new parent is an exciting time and UnityPoint Health - Des Moines offers a number of birth and baby care classes to help you prepare for this new adventure. Learn about what to expect during delivery, tips on comfort measures during childbirth, prepare yourself for breastfeeding, learn how to bathe your baby and so much more! 

Register online and view upcoming class times and locations. We encourage you to have all of your childbirth classes completed by the end of your second trimester (13-28 weeks). These classes tend to fill up quickly, so plan to sign up for classes around the end of your first trimester/early in the second trimester.

Cancellation Policy: If class is cancelled due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances, you will be notified via email or phone (depending on contact information provided during registration). We also will post information on our website, social media and alert local TV and radio stations. Classes may be cancelled due to low enrollment. If this should happen you will be notified by email or phone no later than one week in advance and given the opportunity to register for the next available class. 

If you have any questions or have registered for a class and are unable to attend, please call (515) 241-6763


Childbirth Preparation Classes

  • Understanding Birth: Series is a consecutive two-week course that meets two hours each session. Session one covers essential information on pre-labor, stages of labor and delivery. During session one you will watch a birth story showing the progression of labor and delivery. In session two you will discuss medical procedures, medical pain relief options available to you and cesarean birth. Understanding Birth: Series does not cover Newborn care, Breastfeeding, Comfort Techniques or Tours.
  • Understanding Birth: Express is a four hour session held on Saturdays, this class is a condensed version of the Understanding Birth: Series. This class will cover essential information on pre-labor, stages of labor, delivery, medical procedures, medical pain relief options available to you and cesarean birth. (Maternity Tours NOT included) 
  • Understanding Birth: Twins or More - If you're expecting more than one baby we encourage you to attend this four week course. This class will discuss information specific to multiple pregnancy such as, delivery and cesarean birth. During class you will be given a tour of Iowa Methodist Maternity Center and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
  • Maternity Center Tours - We encourage parents to take a tour of our Maternity Centers during their first trimester (before the end of the first 12 weeks) to help prepare for the upcoming birth of their baby. 
  • Comfort Techniques During Childbirth - This class is a more in depth study and practice in how to manage pain with less medical interventions. Topics include breathing, relaxation, visualization, focal points, positions and movement during labor.

Parenting Preparation Classes

  • Newborn Care - This class helps expectant parents learn basic caring techniques for a new baby during the first six weeks. During class you will watch videos and discuss common care techniques for bathing, diapering and umbilical cord care. 
  • Baby Finance - This two hour class will walk you through a sample budget, explores costs of parenting from infancy through college and discusses insurance and legal issues to consider for your new family. 
  • Breastfeeding Class - This class covers essential information on how your body produces milk, what an effective latch looks like, how to know if your baby is feeding well, the basics of expressing your milk, what to expect during the beginning and what support resources are available after you've been discharged.
  • New Dad's Class - This class provides new dads with valuable insights and expectations regarding the important role of caring for their child. They'll learn about postpartum changes in mom and the incredible joys and day-to-day challenges of parenthood.
  • Car Seat Safety - The Car Seat Safety class is facilitated by a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, it focuses on three main objectives: Iowa's Child Passenger Safety law VS. Best Practice Guidelines. How to appropriately secure baby into the car seat and install demonstration. Installing car seats into individual participant's vehicles is not included.
  • Baby Safety - Topics covered in this two hour class include nursery safety, safe sleeping, home safety, baby-proofing your home and briefly discusses car seat safety. Safe! At Home and On the Go" PowerPoint will help you identify safety dangers and learn tips on how you can prevent unintentional injuries from these hazards.
  • Childhood Vaccinations - Get the Facts - In this one hour class, Blank Children's Hospital pediatrician, Dr. Boonstra discusses the importance of infant vaccinations, addresses myths and answer questions regarding immunizations.
  • Beyond Birth: The First YearThis weekly education and support group is for parents and babies from birth to one year.  You will have the opportunity to gain information, ask questions and share experiences with other parents. 
  • Breastfeeding Support Groups We offer weekly gatherings where our lactation consultants direct a group discussion and are available to answer questions. Talk to other moms who may be having the same issues as you. Groups meet at Iowa Lutheran Hospital, Methodist West Hospital and UnityPoint Clinic - Pediatrics - Ankeny.

Partnering with Parents

Our goal is to partner with parents to offer education and resources to support the social-emotional development of children as well as healthy lifestyles. 

  • Feeding Your Baby (Birth to 1 Year) - This class shows parents how to feed babies in a nutritious, safe and encouraging way. Topics discussed include when to start solids and progression of textures.

Online Childbirth Education Program

  • Online Childbirth Education Program - The Gift of Motherhood eLearning Childbirth Education Program is for those who are unable to attend our conventional Understanding Childbirth: Series. This program is also a good refresher course for repeat parents. This web-based eLearning program is $35 and includes animated illustrations, videos, voice-overs and games.