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 (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. When registering for a class, there's no need to register both parents; the expectant mom's registration will hold a spot for her support person as well.
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 and social media. 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 Childbirth: 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. You will also 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 Childbirth: 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 are not included.
- Understanding Childbirth: Multiples - If you're expecting more than one baby, we encourage you to attend this one-day course. This six-hour class is held on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and includes a break for lunch in the hospital cafeteria. The class will discuss information specific to multiple pregnancy and delivery, including both vaginal 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 before 35 weeks of pregnancy to help prepare for the upcoming birth of their baby.
- Comfort Techniques - This class is a more in-depth study and practice in how to manage labor pain with fewer 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 care techniques for a new baby during the first six weeks. During class you will watch videos and discuss all aspects of caring for a newborn, including understanding newborn health and safety concerns. You will also practice techniques for comforting, feeding, bathing and diapering and much more.
- Baby Finance - This two-hour class walks 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 - 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 of your breastfeeding journey, and what support resources are available after you've been discharged from the hospital.
- 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, the vital role they play in their growing family, 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; positioning the baby in the car seat and securing the harness; and how to secure the car seat in the vehicle via an 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 - In this one-hour class, Blank Children's Hospital pediatrician, Dr. Nathan Boonstra discusses the importance of infant vaccinations, addresses myths and answers participants' questions regarding immunizations.
- Beyond Birth: The First Year - This 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, as well as receive help from a lactation consultant, if needed.
Breastfeeding Support Groups - We offer weekly gatherings where our lactation consultants direct a group discussion and are available to answer questions. Participants have the opportunity to talk to other moms, share your breastfeeding experiences, discuss challenges you are facing, and encourage one another in your breastfeeding journey. 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 Child: The First Year - This class shows parents how to feed babies in a nutritious, safe and encouraging way from birth through one year. Topics discussed include breastmilk and formula, when to start solids, how to introduce baby food, the progression of textures, self-feeding, and much more.
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 or Express. This program is also a good refresher course for repeat parents. This web-based eLearning program is $40 and includes animated illustrations, videos, voice-overs and games.