Birth Center

UnityPoint Health - Allen Hospital

Moms Are Amazing

You're going to be a BFF, a personal chef, tutor, healer, cheerleader... and so much more. You're going to be amazing. Choosing an amazing team to have your back in the doctor's office and at the hospital will help get you started.

At Allen Hospital, we have a team of expert nurses, doctors and health educators who will work with you during your pregnancy and post pregnancy to ensure a safe and healthy delivery for both you and your child.

Where You Deliver Your Baby Matters

Newly renovated private suites, comforting amenities and patient experience scores that rank in the top 10% nationwide will provide a stress-free environment to welcome your new addition.

Why choose Allen Hospital's birthing center?
  Allen Hospital MercyOne
24/7 Neonatal Coverage X X
Affiliation with Iowa Milk Bank X X
Birth Announcement Website X X
C-section Operating Room Located in Birthing Center X X
Care for Babies 30+ Weeks Gestation X X
DVD in Room X X
Evidence-based Developmental Care Services X X
Family-Centered Care X X
First Hospital in the Cedar Valley to Have Midwives (since 1994) X X
Free Community-based Breastfeeding Support X  
Free Wi-Fi X X
Giraffe Isolettes for Every Patient X X
High-Risk Delivery Services X X
Keeping Babies Close to Home — patients 30 weeks and under transferred within UnityPoint Health system as appropriate X X
Lactation Consultant X X
Leading-edge Medical Treatments & Therapies (probiotics, Bubble CPAP, volume guarantee mode of ventilation) X  
Level II NICU Center X X
NICU Transport Team X X
Patient Satisfaction in 99th Percentile (Press Ganey) X  
Private NICU Rooms for Baby & Family X X
Room Service X X
Security Measures (advanced alarm infant security system) X X
Total Cesarean Section Rate 21.1% — our c-section rate is well below the national average of 32.7% (CDC data) X  
VBAC Success Rate 94.7% X  
Whirlpool Tubs X X

Take a Tour

This is where you will hold your baby for the first time. Whoa.

Come check out where it's all going to happen, so you know what to expect. Personal tours take 15-20 minutes, and one of our nurses will show you around, answer questions and even have a gift bag for you. Call (319) 235-3620 to let us know you're coming, or you can watch our video tour.

Allen Hospital Birthing Center Tour

From OB/GYN doctors and midwives to our neonatologist and nurses, Allen Hospital is here to help you welcome your new baby into the world.

Expert NICU Care in Waterloo

Welcoming your new baby into the world is an exciting time, but sometimes unexpected circumstances occur, and extra care is necessary. Allen's Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is for babies who need special medical attention after they are born, and sometimes, may have to stay a few days longer after mom goes home.

We serve the Cedar Valley region and other surrounding hospitals transfer moms and their babies to Allen Hospital when they need specialized care.

Our specially trained team will explain the intensive care routine and procedures to you, keep you informed of your baby's condition and answer the many questions you may have. In addition to our neonatal doctors and nurse practitioners, our team includes NICU nurses, respiratory therapists, social workers, lactation consultants, dietitians, pharmacists and support staff.

Family-Centered, Supportive Care

We believe the best way to care for your baby is to make the family part of the health care team.

  • A developmental care team provides your baby developmentally appropriate care which significantly improves neonatal outcomes
  • Our neonatologists provide outpatient consults for high-risk pregnancies
  • Three private suites are individualized for each baby to promote faster healing and growth
  • As a parent, you are encouraged to be involved in your baby's care throughout the NICU stay
  • You are encouraged to stay in the NICU room so you can remain close to your baby
  • Weekly family rounds with the NICU team, which includes the physician, registered nurse, lactation consultant and social worker
Specially Designed NICU Suites

We designed our NICU suites at Allen to help premature babies grow and develop. The quiet, low-light environment accelerates growth and development at a physiological rate. This revolutionary NICU design has gained attention from healthcare institutions around the world.

Our carpeted NICU suites and bathrooms are located in a separate area to reduce noise which in turn benefits growth and development of our patients. It is this attention to detail that makes a difference for premature babies at Allen.

  • We tailor temperature, sound and light individually to each NICU baby's needs and adjust these elements as the baby progresses
  • High-tech equipment meets premature babies needs while allowing privacy to family members
  • Private bathrooms and showers
  • Family accommodations promote bonding
NICU Follow-Up Care

Our High-Risk Infant Follow-up Program is designed just for NICU babies. Each visit provides an opportunity to discuss your concerns.

  • Our follow-up team includes the neonatologist and pediatric nurse
  • Physical exams and developmental screening tests evaluate your child's physical and developmental progress
  • Visits are typically scheduled when babies are two, four, nine, 18 and 30 months of age

In the event of a delay in growth or development, early intervention and referrals are made to area services such as physical therapy, occupational therapy as needed. Since children grow and develop at different rates, it is important to note that an isolated delay does not always mean a child has a long-term problem.

Your baby's wellbeing is our highest priority. We know while your baby is in our NICU it is a stressful time for you and your family. Please share your questions and concerns with us. We will do whatever we can to assist you.

Collaboration with St. Luke's NICU in Cedar Rapids

We strive toward family-centered care and our relationship with UnityPoint Health – St. Luke's NICU keeps families together and closer to home.

As part of UnityPoint Health, Allen's NICU has a strong working relationship with St. Luke's NICU, the only Level III NICU in the Cedar Rapids area. Infants born less than 30 weeks of gestation and patients needing higher level of care are safely transferred to the NICU at St. Luke's, only 60 miles from Waterloo, and sent back to Allen Hospital once the clinical condition of the baby improves.

Neonatal Transport

When critical care is needed, nothing replaces speed of care, expertise and experience.

  • Our affiliation with St. Luke's NICU in Cedar Rapids means babies are sometimes transferred to St. Luke's from Allen with our neonatal transport team, which uses a high-frequency portable ventilator aboard Lifeguard air ambulance.
  • The St. Luke's Neonatal Transport Team consists of registered nurses and respiratory therapists who are specially trained in the management and transport of critically ill or premature newborns. St. Luke's high-frequency ventilation uses very rapid rates of breathing, very often at four to five hundred times a minute, to allow infants to breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide when other more conventional forms of ventilation are inadequate. The ventilator vastly improves the outcomes of critically ill infants.
  • First in the Midwest to provide both air and ground transport using the high-frequency ventilator, St. Luke's transport teams is one of only a few transport teams in the entire country who provide this service.
Volunteer Cuddlers
The Power of Touch

Backed by research, we know that human touch helps babies' brains develop, helps them to gain weight faster and go home sooner.

We know that a parent's touch is the best, but sometimes a baby's NICU stay is long. Sometimes parents need to be away from their baby. During this time, they can take comfort knowing that their baby will still receive loving touch from our NICU cuddlers.

These volunteers have been hand chosen and have gone through hospital, classroom and bedside training to become a cuddler. Our cuddlers follow the same infection control and confidentiality policies as the rest of the NICU team, and partner with our nurses to provide the best care to our smallest patients.

To become an Allen Hospital volunteer, visit our volunteer page or call (319) 235-3692.

Preparing for Baby

Whether you're just starting to plan or getting ready to meet your new baby, Allen Hospital is here with the classes, resources and support you need to feel prepared.

Next Steps

Choose a Provider for Your Pregnancy

Take into consideration the experience of all staff, your birthing center and the level of care provided at the NICU (we're here just in case).

Certified Nurse Midwives

More women are choosing to see nurse midwives for their healthcare needs because of their emphasis on personal care. They combine physical care, emotional support and personal preferences to best meet your needs. Our nurse midwives encourage you to be actively involved in healthcare decisions.

A certified nurse midwife is a primary care provider who is educated in the disciplines of nursing and midwifery. A certified nurse midwife is a board-certified registered nurse and has completed an accredited graduate level program in midwifery.

Nurse midwives provide holistic healthcare for women throughout their lives with an emphasis on normal pregnancy, labor and birth, well-woman gynecology, family planning care, health promotion, and disease prevention.

What services do nurse midwives provide?

  • Breastfeeding support and counseling
  • Co-management of low-risk pregnancies with obstetricians
  • Delivery, including emotional and physical support during labor
  • Gynecological and family planning exams
  • Pap smears
  • Perimenopausal/menopausal care
  • Postpartum care
  • Pre-conceptual care
  • Pregnancy education and individualized birth plans
  • Sexually transmitted infection screenings
  • Treatment for urinary tract and vaginal infections
Pre-Register for Your Baby Delivery

Not everyone gets to plan their hospital stay, but you do.

Take care of your registration beforehand by letting us know your contact and insurance information and a few more details about your upcoming delivery. Then plan on skipping that step (and stress) when you check in.

Go to Your First Pre-Natal Appointment
Your first visit is typically at about the 8- to 10-week mark. That gives you some time to sort out other items on this list, but don't worry if you don't – we're here to help.
Choose a Pediatrician

To save time and avoid stress during the busy days after delivery, you can make some decisions ahead of time, like choosing a pediatrician now to help keep your newborn healthy in the future.

Attend a Childbirth Education Class

Allen Hospital is happy to provide classes to expectant mothers and their families. Our goal is to help reduce your stress and make your experience an enjoyable one. We provide up-to-date information in a fun and relaxing atmosphere so your focus can be on your new life ahead.

Classes should be taken in late pregnancy (seven to nine months). Classes may be canceled or shortened due to low registration. To ensure class registration, payment must be received one week before class begins.

Please call us with any questions before you enroll to ensure you are taking the perfect class for you and your family.

Option 1: Saturday Labor & Birth Class

This class is offered on the second Saturday morning of every other month. Comfort techniques will be taught with the understanding that each participant will be responsible for practicing at home once the class has ended.

Option 2: Monday Labor & Birth Class

Can't make it to a Saturday morning class? No problem. This Monday evening class will provide you with the same great information as our Saturday Labor & Birth Class, with the convenience of an evening option.

Option 3: Individual Prenatal / Childbirth Classes

If you are enrolled or plan to enroll in the Maternal Health program / enhanced services at Allen Women's Health, you can receive individual classes by calling the nurse at (319) 235-5090 at the beginning of your second trimester.

Option 4: Injoy – Understanding Birth eClass

Can't attend a childbirth class? We'll bring the class to you! Through this interactive online course, you can learn essential birthing information from the comfort of your home. You'll get a sense of what labor is like as you watch birth stories and have the opportunity to create your own birth plan. Allow 4-6 hours to complete this course.

Breastfeeding Class

This class is free if you have attended or plan to attend one of our childbirth classes! Support and helpful suggestions are included in the class. Your support person / coach is encouraged to attend as well!

Breastfeeding Support Groups

Allen Hospital typically offers free weekly support groups for breastfeeding moms. Please contact one of our Lactation Consultants at (319) 226-2229, ext 2 for any concerns, questions or guidance you may need after you have delivered your baby. Our Lactation Consultants are available for one-on-one appointments to help you through your breastfeeding journey.

  • Tuesdays, 10-11 a.m.
    • Allen Hospital: UnityPoint Clinic Conference Room (1st floor – enter at Entrance 2 off Dale Street, take first hallway to the left, then take first left after that and the conference room is on your right)
  • Thursdays, 4-5 p.m.
    • UnityPoint Health – Prairie Parkway: Meeting Room 1 (1st floor – conference room is just inside main entrance)


A better way for patient-centered prenatal care.

CenteringPregnancy is group prenatal care that brings 8-10 women with similar due dates out of the exam room and into a comforting group setting. Each group gathering lasts 90 minutes to two hours, giving each woman more time with providers and nurses within the recommended 10 prenatal visits.

Once health assessments are complete, UnityPoint Clinic providers and staff "circle up" with moms and support people for discussion and interactive activities designed to address important and timely health topics. Everything from nutrition, common discomforts, stress management, labor and delivery, breastfeeding and infant care are covered in group.

Providing care in this way allows moms and providers to get to know each other on a much deeper and meaningful level. Members of the group form lasting friendships and are connected in ways not possible through traditional care.

Centering groups that include women of different ages, races and socioeconomic backgrounds see those differences diminish in importance as they share the common experience of pregnancy, birth and family care.

Studies show CenteringPregnancy group prenatal care has resulted in significant beneficial effects on very low birth weight and fetal demise outcomes compared to traditional, individually delivered prenatal care.

Call (319) 235-5050 if you're interested in being part of the next CenteringPregnancy group!

CenteringPregnancy at UnityPoint Health

See why growing families love CenteringPregnancy.

Breastfeeding & Lactation Consultant Services

Breastfeeding provides numerous benefits for you and your baby.

Breastfeeding babies may have...

  • Less risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), illness and infections
  • Less gas, diarrhea and constipation
  • Less asthma and allergies
  • Less childhood cancers
  • Less diabetes and obesity
  • Better oral development, brain development and motor skills
  • Better response to immunizations
  • Better protection against diseases that last into adulthood

Our Lactation Consultants are board-certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners and are committed to helping you have a positive breastfeeding experience. If you have any questions, please contact one of our Lactation Consultants by calling (319) 226-BABY (2229), ext. 2. Please leave a message and we will return your call as soon as possible.

Lactation Consultant Services

Prenatal Breastfeeding Class
We recommend this class to all pregnant women who wish to learn more about breastfeeding. You will learn the basics of breastfeeding, what to expect during the beginning days and what support resources are available after you learn the hospital.
Inpatient Visits
Following the birth of your baby, our lactation consultants will answer any questions you may have and will help educate you on how to best meet your breastfeeding goals. A lactation specialist will visit you during your hospital stay.
Outpatient Visits

If breastfeeding questions or concerns arise after you return home, our specialist can help with any breastfeeding challenges you may face, including latch on difficulties, engorgement and low supply.

Our mission is to provide you with the help you need to reach your breastfeeding goals.

Breastfeeding Support Group

One of our lactation specialists does a weekly weigh in and answers any breastfeeding questions. You'll be able to talk to other moms who are breastfeeding and discuss similar experiences. Our breastfeeding support groups meet weekly:

  • Tuesdays, 10-11 a.m.
    • Allen Hospital: UnityPoint Clinic Conference Room (1st floor – enter at Entrance 2 off Dale Street, take first hallway to the left, then take first left after that and the conference room is on your right)
  • Thursdays, 4-5 p.m.
    • UnityPoint Health – Prairie Parkway: Meeting Room 1 (1st floor – conference room is just inside main entrance)

Got questions? Contact us or leave a message at (319) 226-2229, ext. 2, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Mother's Milk Bank

What happens when the mother of a baby can't breastfeed, or can't produce as much milk as her baby needs?

Because decades of research have established that human milk is the perfect food for infants, the Mother's Milk Bank of Iowa collects, stores and distributes human milk to those who need it.

Through the milk bank, breastfeeding women have the opportunity to become human milk donors to help babies throughout Iowa, including our own NICU babies.

Allen Hospital gratefully accepts human milk donations in cooperation with the University of Iowa's Mother's Milk Bank of Iowa.

All the donated milk collected and stored by Mother's Milk Bank of Iowa is pasteurized. After pasteurization, it is tested for bacteria. Most immunologic and nutritional components of human milk remain intact after pasteurization.

For more information about becoming a donor, go to

Baby ABCs

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