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. If you have questions or need to cancel your scheduled class, please call 515-241-6763.

Childbirth Preparation Classes

  • Understanding Birth: Series - This two-week course covers what to expect during the end of your pregnancy, signs of labor, what to expect during labor, pain relief topics, breathing/relaxation techniques, medical procedures and care following birth.
  • Understanding Birth: Express - This Saturday class is a condensed version of the Childbirth Preparation Course. Topics will be similar but will be discussed at a faster pace.
  • Understanding Birth: Twins or More - This four-week series covers topics specific to a multiple pregnancy, labor and delivery. Also included are tours of the Maternity Center and Blank Children's NICU.
  • 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 - This class for expectant parents, which is two and a half hours, is a more in depth study and practice in how to manage pain with less medical intervention.

Parenting Preparation Classes

  • Newborn Care - This two-hour interactive class is designed to help new parents learn the basics of caring for a baby. The focus of this class will be safety issues, newborn reflexes, bathing, feeding, diapering, cord and circumcision care during the first six weeks.
  • Baby Finance 101 - This two-hour class walks you through an example budget, explores the costs of parenting from infancy through college, and discusses insurance and legal issues to consider for your new family.
  • Breastfeeding Class - This two-hour class will discuss the art of breastfeeding, what to expect during the beginning days of breastfeeding and what support resources are available after you leave the hospital.
  • New Dad's Class - This two-hour class explores life changes for new fathers, both before and after the birth of your child. Our facilitator is a father who understands fatherhood first hand.
  • Car Seat Safety - This two-hour class discusses properly securing your baby in a car seat, properly securing the car seat in a vehicle, car seat law versus best practice, and more.
  • Baby Safety - Learn tips on keeping your little bundle of joy safe from the start - at home, in the nursery and on the go. Topics covered during the two-hour class include crib safety, car seat safety, baby proofing and more. Identify hidden safety hazards in your home and steps you can take to prevent unintentional injuries.
  • Childhood Vaccinations - A Blank Children's pediatrician discusses the importance of infant vaccinations, addresses myths and answers questions about immunizations in this one-hour class.
  • 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 two-hour class shows parents how to feed first-year babies in the most nutritious, safe and nurturing way, including when to start solids and the progression of textures. It also encourages parents to make improvements in their family's eating and physical activity habits.

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 Childbirth Preparation classes due to bed rest, scheduling conflicts or time constraints. It is also a good refresher course for repeat parents. The web-based eLearning program is $35 and includes animated illustrations, videos, voice-overs and games.