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 your 34th week of pregnancy. If you have questions or need to cancel your scheduled class, please call 515-241-6728.

Childbirth Preparation Classes

  • 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.
  • Childbirth Preparation- Our free four-week course takes a more relaxed and interactive approach as you prepare for the birth of your baby. The course covers what to expect during the last few months of pregnancy, how to detect you are in labor, what to do when labor begins, how relaxation and breathing can help ease the pain of childbirth and what pain relief options are available. Medical procedures and your care following birth will be discussed. Baby care issues and breastfeeding are not covered so you are encouraged to attend these classes.
  • Childbirth Express- This one-day Saturday class is a condensed version of the Childbirth Preparation Course and is for those who are unable to attend our regular childbirth education series. Topics will be similar, but discussed at a faster pace. Baby care and breastfeeding issues are not covered so you are encouraged to attend those classes separately. This is a six-hour class (with a break for lunch).
  • Twins or More- Are you expecting more than one baby? Would valuable information on caring for multiple newborns interest you? Then you'll want to join this free four-week series with topics specific to a multiple pregnancy, labor and delivery. We suggest you register early and encourage attendance in the second trimester. Baby care issues will not be covered so you are encouraged to attend a Baby Care class. You will also get a tour of our maternity floor and the NICU at Blank Children's Hospital.

Parenting Preparation Classes

  • Baby Care- We care about helping new parents learn the basics of caring for a new baby. Through watching slides, a video and discussion you'll have an opportunity to learn many aspects of baby care.  Newborn reflexes and newborn procedures and care such as bathing, diapering, cord and circumcision care are some of the topics that will be covered. You'll also hear about newborn safety issues. This free two and ½ hour class provides you "practice time" and is interactive with an opportunity to have all your questions answered.
  • Baby Finance 101 - This free 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 free two-hour class is a must if you plan to breastfeed your baby. Information to make breastfeeding a positive experience will be shared. You will learn about the art of breastfeeding, what to expect during the beginning days of breastfeeding and what support resources are available after you leave the hospital.
  • Brothers and Sisters Class - A class to prepare big brother and sister for the arrival of the new baby.  Your child will learn what a new baby looks like, how to hold a new brother or sister, and what they can do to help with the new baby.  Parents learn tips and resources to help the older child adjust to the new baby.  We encourage your child to attend class toward the end of the pregnancy so that the new baby arrives soon after the child attends this class.
  • Fathers Class - This free two-hour class explores life changes fatherhood brings to new fathers, both before and after the birth of your child. Our facilitator is a father who understands fatherhood first hand.
  • Car Seat Safety for New Parents - While car seats are very effective when used correctly, approximately 90% of car seats in Iowa are used incorrectly. Learn how to keep your child safe with a properly installed car seat. Information covered includes properly securing your baby in a car seat, properly securing the car seat in a vehicle, car seat law versus best practice, and more. This free one-hour class is facilitated by a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician.
  • 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 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.

New Parent Group Sessions

  • Beyond Birth: The First Year - You are invited to a weekly discussion group after your baby is born. You'll have an opportunity to gain information, ask questions and share experiences. Educational topics, requested by parents, will be presented by guest speakers or by the nurse who leads the group. Call 515-241-6728 for more information.
  • Breastfeeding Support Group - This group meets weekly with one of the hospital lactation consultants. It's a wonderful opportunity to ask questions and be reassured by other breastfeeding mothers or by the lactation consultant leading the discussion.  Call 515-241-6728 for more information.
  • Feeding Your Baby (Birth to 1 Year) - This two hour session 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 encourages parents to make improvements in their family's eating and physical activity habits. It will provide the most current nutrition information available while modeling and acknowledging parents' natural ability to nurture their children.
  • Young Children Eating Right (Ages 1 to 5) - This two hour session helps parents deal with common feeding issues, and encourages more play and less TV. It encourages parents to make improvements in their family's eating and physical activity habits. It will provide the most current nutrition information available while modeling and acknowledging parents' natural ability to nurture their children.

Community Classes

  • Learning CPR, rescue breathing and choking infant/child procedures is very important for anyone who cares for young children. While we don't offer these classes at UnityPoint Health - Des Moines but there are many ways you can learn these lifesaving skills. Contact your local Red Cross to sign up for CPR and first aid courses. Visit the Central Iowa Chapter online.
  • Purchase Infant CPR Anytime from the American Heart Association (AHA). This program allows family, friends, grandparents, siblings and others caring for your infant to learn how to perform lifesaving CPR and relieve choking in an infant - in only 22 minutes - in the comfort of your home.