Birth Center

UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's Hospital - Cedar Rapids
St. Luke's Center for Women's and Children's Health Building.jpg

Delivering Amazing Babies Every Day

Last year nearly 2,400 babies were born at St. Luke's Birth Care Center. St. Luke's is Cedar Rapids' Baby Hospital, which means three out of four babies born in Cedar Rapids celebrate their birthday at St. Luke's.

Our Center for Women's and Children's Health is exceptional in delivering the highest quality of care with a strong family-centered focus. You will find our facilities and staff deeply committed to serving you and your family. We are very proud of our maternity, NICU and pediatric services and we strive to make every experience as special and unique as each birth!

A Welcoming Place for Your Growing Family

Enjoy all the comforts of home and exceptional, family-centered care from St. Luke’s experienced staff. It all happens in the most advanced facilities to care for newborns in the region. It's easy to see why more families choose St. Luke's for this special occasion.

Contact Us

Department Contact
Birth Care Center (319) 369-7264
Birth Care Tours (319) 369-8129
Lactation Services (319) 369-8944
Women's & Children's Educational Services (319) 369-7166
Specially Designed Private Suites
When you choose St. Luke's, you'll stay in a beautifully appointed private, 100 percent NICU-ready birth suite. Each suite was designed with everything you need for a safe and comfortable labor and delivery.
Features to Help You Have a Happy Birth Day

We prioritize the safety and well-being of both newborns and their families. Our entire facility is equipped with cutting-edge infant security features to provide you with peace of mind during this special time.

  • Room service with complementary meals for moms and their support person
  • Snacks & Beverages available 24/7
  • In-suite refrigerator
  • Whirlpool tubs
  • Queen-sized bed available after delivery
  • TV, CD and DVD player in your suite
  • Wireless internet access
Visitor Guidelines

All visitors must check-in at the front desk.

Birth Center

  • Patients may have four visitors in the room at a time, not including support person

NICU & Pediatrics

  • Visiting hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., except for parents and guardians.
  • NICU and Pediatrics are open to visitors over the age of 12, and siblings of any age are welcome, as long as they are healthy with no cough, runny nose or fever.
  • There is a limit of 4 visitors per room.

Family-Centered Care

Having a baby involves your entire family, and St. Luke's makes it possible for them to be present. We make room for all the family members you want to involve, and we'll follow your lead throughout the birth process. Our family-centered approach also means you and your baby will share the same nurse and your baby will be in your room with you as much as you want.

Eastern Iowa's First Ronald McDonald Family Room®
The Ronald McDonald Family Room provides our families with a comfortable respite area. A place to recharge and rest. A place that allows families to be together, throughout one of the most difficult times of their lives. St. Luke's and Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Eastern Iowa & Western Illinois partnered to offer Eastern Iowa's first Ronald McDonald Family Room® at UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's Hospital. This Family Room is located on the second floor of the Helen G. Nassif Center for Women's and Children's Health.
Sibling-Attended Births
Your older children are welcome to attend your baby's birth. They'll simply need to be educated about the process beforehand. Please call (319) 369-7580 to schedule an interview and necessary classes.
Families in the NICU
We're proud that our NICU was chosen as Iowa's first and only site to house the March of Dimes NICU Family Support Program. Our private NICU suites and family accommodations keep parents close to their babies during their NICU stay.

Tour St. Luke's Birth Suites

We realize you have a choice where you deliver. As part of your decision-making process, we invite you to see firsthand the difference our family-centered care makes.

Our in-person tours, conducted in a group setting, are scheduled at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 4 p.m. on Sundays. The duration of the tour is 90 minutes to two hours. In consideration of all participants, we kindly request that no children attend.

During your visit, our nurses will help you plan for your birth, answer your questions and address your special requests. You'll learn about the safety measures we have in place, our private birth suites, Level III NICU and see why four out of five families choose to deliver with us.

To reserve your spot, please call (319) 369-8129 between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

If you need to cancel a scheduled visit, please call (319) 369-8129. For any additional questions, please contact our tour guides at (319) 369-7183.

Video Tour of UnityPoint Health – St. Luke's Birth Care Center

The St. Luke's Birth Care Center is exceptional in delivering the highest quality of care with a strong family-centered focus. We are very proud of our maternity, NICU and pediatric services and strive to make every experience as special and unique as each birth! It's easy to see why 3 out of 4 families in Cedar Rapids choose St. Luke's for this special occasion.

Next Steps

Pre-Register for Your Delivery

Please complete this form at 18-20 weeks in your pregnancy.

Birth Care Pre-Registration

Childbirth Education Classes

BabyCenter's online childbirth classes will help you learn the signs and stages of labor, explore ways to manage your pain, discover the keys to a positive birth and much more.

Online Class Registration

Why St. Luke's is the Better Choice

Birth Care Compare
  St. Luke's UIHC Mercy 
Care for extremely low birth weight babies (less than 2lbs 3oz) X X  
High quality, comparable outcomes for babies of all gestational ages X X  
Care for highest-risk mothers in Cedar Rapids X    
On-site Ronald McDonald Family Room (with sleeping accommodations) X    
Free onsite parking X    X
Spacious private rooms (with daybed, rocking chair, recliner) for baby and family X    X
National award winner in Family-Centered Care X    
Cooling blanket therapy  X  X  
High-Frequency Ventilation  X  X  
Inhaled nitric oxide (for pulmonary hypertension of a newborn)  X  X  
Skilled neonatal-pediatric transport team  X  X  
Surgical services for newborn cardiac conditions    X  
 C-Section vs. Vaginal Delivery Rates
  • 25-30% C-Section
  • 70-75% Vaginal
Birth Care Awards
U.S. News & World Report Names St. Luke's High Performing in Adult Maternity Care

St. Luke's Hospital has been recognized as High Performing in Adult Maternity Care (Uncomplicated Pregnancy) by U.S. News & World Report. This is the first time U.S. News has published a list of Best Hospitals for Maternity. To be recognized among the Best Hospitals for Maternity, hospitals had to excel on multiple quality metrics that matter to expectant families, including complication rates, C-sections, whether births were scheduled too early in pregnancy, and how successfully each hospital supported breastfeeding. Only one-third of the hospitals evaluated by U.S. News for maternity care earned a 'High Performing' rating.

Blue Distinction® Center+ for Maternity Care

This designation is awarded based on the evaluation several quality measures, including the percentage of newborns that fall into the category of early elective delivery, an ongoing concern in the medical community. Compared with babies born 39 weeks or later, early term infants face higher risks of infant death and respiratory ailments such as respiratory distress syndrome, pneumonia, and respiratory failure, among other conditions. In addition, hospitals that receive a Blue Distinction Center for Maternity Care designation agreed to meet requirements that align with principles that support evidence-based practices of care, as well as having initiated programs to promote successful breastfeeding, as described in the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative by Baby-Friendly USA or the Mother-Friendly Hospital program by the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) through its "Ten Steps of Mother-Friendly Care."

Family-Centered Care

St. Luke's Women's and Children's Center is the first birth care center in the nation to receive the national award for outstanding Family Centered Maternity Care. Family Centered Maternity Care is an approach to providing care for women and their families that integrates pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, and infant care into the continuum of the family life as normal, healthy life events.

First NICU Family Support Site in Iowa

The March of Dimes has selected St. Luke's NICU as Iowa's first and only site to house a new program called March of Dimes NICU Family Support. The project's purpose is to provide information and emotional support to families of critically ill newborns being cared for in a neonatal intensive care unit.

Preparing for Baby

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

Childbirth Classes

BabyCenter's online childbirth classes will help you learn the signs and stages of labor, explore ways to manage your pain, discover the keys to a positive birth and much more.

Choosing a Provider for Your Baby

First time mothers often do not realize that in choosing their own doctor for their pregnancy, they must also decide on a pediatrician or family physician for their new baby.

An OB provider will take care of you during your pregnancy, labor and delivery, whereas a pediatrician will take care of your new baby after birth.

Our pediatric clinics offer meet-and greet appointments to help you choose the right pediatrician for your baby!

Take Care of Yourself During Pregnancy

In order to have a healthy pregnancy for both you and your child, it's important to know what is OK during pregnancy and what to avoid. Talk to your OB provider for specific guidance on steps you should take to maintain a healthy lifestyle as you await the birth of your child.

Check our our pregnancy and prenatal care page for more resources.

Packing for the Hospital

In order to have all of the materials necessary before and after delivery, you may want to pack two bags: an overnight bag for all of the materials you'll need during labor, and a larger bag for your necessary belongings after labor. Pack what you would need as if you were going away for a weekend. Your partner or labor coach may also need a bag for his/her belongings and don't forget to pack a small bag for your newborn baby's belongings! Here is a list of recommended items to bring to the hospital.

For Labor

  • Your birth plan
  • Lip balm
  • Massage oil
  • Massage tools such as tennis balls (in a sock) or a foam noodle
  • Relaxing music – consider making a special playlist on your phone
  • You can bring your own birth ball if you like
  • Hair tie or barrette, if you think you may need them

After Labor

  • Personal items such as a bathrobe, nightgown, slippers
  • Healthy snacks such as granola bars, crackers, fruit, etc. It is likely that you will be hungry after labor, so make sure to stack up on healthy, plentiful snacks. The nourishment center also has many snacks available.
  • Toiletries
  • A nursing bra and breast pads
  • A going-home outfit. Keep in mind that you will probably need an elastic waistband; you may still prefer maternity clothing.

For Your Partner/Labor Coach

  • Basic toiletries
  • Reading materials
  • Change of clothes and clothes for sleeping. It’s a good idea to include a sweatshirt and other layers. During delivery, hormone changes can cause patients to become hot, so the rooms can be very cold.
  • A camera or phone for photos/video, as well as chargers
  • Feel free to bring a Firestick or Roku device to plug into the TV
  • Bluetooth speaker if you’d like to listen to music from your phone
  • Over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol or Tums
  • Checkbook for birth certificate fee

For Your Baby

  • A going-home outfit
  • A pair of socks or booties
  • A cap
  • An infant car seat (base needs to be secured properly in your car before baby is taken to car)
  • A blanket, depending on the weather
Labor Signs and Symptoms

Not all women have the same signs of labor. Learn what to expect during labor and delivery, including signs and symptoms, common complications and labor induction. If you have any questions or concerns about your symptoms, you should call your OB/GYN or midwife.

Coming to the Hospital

When it's time for your baby's delivery, you'll go directly to the Birth Care Center. Enjoy the 100 percent NICU-ready birth suites equipped just like a home, play areas for children and a coffee shop conveniently located on the first floor of the hospital.

Comprehensive breastfeeding services include lactation consultants and our Breastfeeding Supply Store.

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

For more information, email us or call (319) 369-7264.

Expert NICU Care in Cedar Rapids

St. Luke's is the only Level III Maternal and Neonatal Center as determined by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in the Cedar Rapids area. Other hospitals transfer newborns to St. Luke's when they need specialized care.

Our NICU Team

Neonatologists – 24 Hours a Day, 7 Days a Week

Our NICU team includes the area's most experienced neonatologists and staff. In addition, St. Luke's ranks among the best hospitals in the world in providing NICU care for babies who are 22-23 gestational weeks and up. We provide high frequency ventilation for the smallest babies, and provide inhaled nitric oxide for babies with pulmonary hypertension in addition to many other services.

Except in very rare occasions, such as surgical emergencies, your baby should NEVER have to be transferred out of Cedar Rapids. We do accept transfers from Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids.

Family-Centered, Supportive Care

We were the first hospital in the nation to win a NICU Family Centered Care award. What does this mean?

  • A developmental care specialist and team provides your baby with an individualized developmental care plan (NIDCAP) during the NICU stay
  • Our neonatologists provide outpatient consults for high-risk pregnancies
  • Private suites are individualized for each baby to promote faster healing and growth
  • As a parent, you are involved in your baby's care throughout the NICU stay
  • You can use our family lounge
  • Sleep rooms are available so families can remain close to their baby
  • You can also comfortably room in the NICU suite so you can remain close to your baby
  • The NICU Family Support program provides support and education for your family
Neonatal Transport

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

Our Level III Maternal and Neonatal Center status means babies are transferred to St. Luke's from other area hospitals – sometimes with our neonatal transport team, which uses a high-frequency portable ventilator aboard Lifeguard Air Ambulance.

  • 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.
  • Our 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 team is one of only a few transport teams in the entire country who provide this service.
NICU Follow-Up Clinic

To ease your concerns and guide you through the next several months after bringing your baby home from the NICU, St. Luke's monitors the development of high-risk infants that meet certain guidelines who have encountered difficulties during or after birth. Our comprehensive follow-up program is designed just for NICU babies. Each visit provides an opportunity to discuss your concerns.

  • Our expert follow-up team includes a pediatric nurse practitioner and a pediatric physical therapist/developmental specialist
  • Physical exams and screening tests evaluate your child's physical and developmental progress
  • Visits are typically scheduled when babies are 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 or Grant Wood Early Intervention Program. 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.

NICU Graduate Apparel

Purchase "NICU Graduate" clothing for our special NICU graduate babies and their loved ones.

Forty percent of all proceeds will benefit the NICU at St. Luke's.



Breastfeeding & Lactation Consultant Services

Breastfeeding provides numerous benefits for you and your baby.

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) 369-8944. Please leave a message and we will return your call as soon as possible.

Breastfeeding Supplies

Breast pumps, pump parts, nursing pillows and other breastfeeding aids are available from our UnityPoint at Home – Home Medical Equipment locations.

Lactation Consultant Services

Prenatal Assessment
Prenatal assessment for women with previous or anticipated breastfeeding problems.
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 consultant will visit you during your hospital stay. Our consultants are available for inpatient visits seven days a week.

Children’s Center Wish List

Thank you for supporting the Children's Center at UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's Hospital.  Please know that due to patient confidentiality and infection control, donors are unable to deliver the items to patients.

Donations may be dropped off at CWCH or mailed to:

St. Luke's Hospital
Attn: NICU/Peds
1026 A Ave. NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402

If you're looking for a quick way to purchase and donate items, you can place an order through our Amazon Wish List.

Donation Guidelines

You can help us support the health and safety of our patients by reviewing and following the guidelines below.

  • We prefer new toys in their original packaging.
  • Please do not gift wrap any donations, as they will need to be checked for safety reasons.
  • Gifts must be latex free and non-violent.
  • We cannot accept candy or food. Many patients have dietary restrictions or allergies.
  • Please know that donors are unable to deliver gifts directly to patients. We do this to respect the privacy and safety of patients and families. Our staff distributes the gifts with great care to ensure appropriateness for each patient.
  • Staff can provide a donation form for your taxes, if you are interested.
  • All checks or gift certificates should be made payable to: UnityPoint Health – St. Luke's Hospital (Attention: NICU/Pediatrics).
Gift Suggestions
Gifts We Can Always Use
  • Fleece blankets
  • Books for kids of all ages
  • Board games for all ages
  • Card games
  • New release or popular DVDs (Disney, Pixar, Dream Works rated G, PG, or PG-13 only)
  • Crayons, washable markers or colored pencils
  • Crayola Color Wonder markers, Color Wonder Paper or Color Wonder coloring books
  • Journals/notebooks
  • Activity books such as sudoku, word find, crosswords or mind teasers
  • Scratch art activities
  • Gift cards ($10 and $15 increments to Target, Walmart or Amazon)
  • Items for the Treasure Chest (examples: princess chap stick, princess, little kaleidoscope, fun flashlight, sunglasses, sticker book, magnetic drawing sheet) — the Treasure Chest is available for children to choose an item after a test or procedure
  • Sleepers with snaps (newborn)
  • Sleep sacks
Inpatient Bedside Item Suggestions
  • Crib mobiles/music boxes
  • Sound machines
  • Bouncy chairs
  • Swing seats
  • Exercise saucers
Distraction Item Suggestions
  • Fidget toys, such as pop-its
  • Pinwheels
  • Stress balls
  • Cosmic ray wands
  • Bubbles (small/mini bottles)
Arts & Crafts
  • Coloring books
  • Adult coloring books
  • Glue sticks or bottles
Play Items
  • Plastic infant toys and rattles
  • Light up/musical toys
  • Character toys (must be washable)
  • Pop-up or stacking toys
  • Shape sorters
  • Medical kits
  • Cash registers
  • Little People Lego sets for all ages
  • Magna-Tiles
  • Dinosaurs
  • Superhero action figures
  • Disney princess playsets
  • Baby dolls
  • Toy tractors or farm sets
  • Puzzles for various ages
Everyday Essentials for Patients & Families
  • Hair ties or hair clips
  • Brushes, hair detangling brushes and combs
  • Detangler spray
  • Youth and young adult underwear and socks
  • Boys and young men's mesh shorts or sweatpants
  • Girls and young women's shorts, sweatpants or leggings
  • Youth and young adult t-shirts and sweatshirts

Maternity News & Articles