Prenatal classes

by Kaiser Permanente |
Pregnant person lying down in a birthing class.

As you prepare for labor, birth, and parenthood, we want you to feel completely supported. Education is a key component in reducing fear and increasing confidence.  And the support and assistance that surrounds you in the early days directly impacts your transition to parenthood.

While birth is healthy and normal for most, it is also challenging.  The process is unique for everyone, requiring individualized goals and medical care. The more you know about the process, your options, and the support you’ll get from your health care team, the greater your chances of having an empowering and rewarding experience.

It’s best to register for prenatal classes in your second trimester. Try to finish them 4 to 6 weeks before your baby is due. Check with your medical center about what types of classes are offered. Some options may include:

Early pregnancy

Topics include nutrition, comfort measures, exercise in pregnancy, avoiding preterm labor, and unhealthy substances.

Preparation for childbirth

An in-depth look at labor and birth, cesarean birth overview, medications and medical interventions, relaxation, breathing, pushing techniques, and postpartum care. It also covers how to be a labor partner.

Preparation for Cesarean birth

Designed for those who are planning a Cesarean birth. Topics include scheduling, preparation, surgery, recovery, pain management, and postpartum care. Also included are family-centered options and positive imagery.

Hospital tour

Tour the hospital’s labor and delivery and postpartum areas to see where your baby will be born. Learn when and where to come to the hospital and pre-register for hospital admission.

Breastfeeding with success

Breastfeeding is the best way to feed your baby. This class covers breastfeeding skills and positions, milk supply, and pain treatment. In addition, it covers pumping, milk storage, and working while breastfeeding.

Working and breastfeeding

Learn how to go back to work and maintain successful breastfeeding.

Baby care basics

Learn normal newborn appearance and development and how to diaper, bathe, and calm a fussy baby. You’ll get tips on how to help them sleep peacefully as you reduce the risk of SIDS.

Infant safety and CPR

Learn how to choose and correctly use a car seat, drowning prevention, household safety, infant CPR, and choking prevention and care. It’s a good class for expectant parents, grandparents, and babysitters.

Sibling class

Siblings aged 3 to 10 years old can learn about being the “big kid.” They can practice holding, diapering, and preparing to welcome their new sibling.

New moms support group

Join other new mothers for support with breastfeeding, postpartum, infant sleep, crying, and other topics.

New dads support group

New fathers discuss what it means to be a father, how to bond with your baby, maintain a good relationship with your spouse and adjust to parenthood.

Baby massage

Learn to connect with your baby through infant massage and calming techniques that enhance well-being and brain development.

Yoga for the expectant and new parent

Designed for pregnant women, birthing persons, and new parents to learn how to regain muscle tone, abdominal strength, and flexibility. You can stretch with your baby in front of you or involve your baby during class.

Postpartum support group

Postpartum mood and anxiety disorders are common in the first year of your baby’s life. This group, facilitated by a mental health professional, provides support for those experiencing depression and anxiety after giving birth.

This article has been created by a national group of Kaiser Permanente ob-gyns, certified nurse-midwives, pediatricians, lactation consultants and other specialists who came together to provide you with the best pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and newborn information.

Some of the content is used and adapted with permission of The Permanente Medical Group.