Whether you are pregnant with your first baby or you've been through it before, childbirth classes can help you and your support partner gain confidence and understanding to approach childbirth with less anxiety and more confidence. We offer several classes and resources to help you from the start of your pregnancy until after your baby is born.
Register for Pregnancy & Birth classes
Managing Your Labor: This class meets twice and will prepare you and your partner to be active participants in the birth of your baby. Topics covered include:
- The labor process
- Methods of delivery including Cesarean birth
- Labor coping techniques, such as breathing and relaxation, massage and position changes
- Pain management options
- When to come to the hospital
- What to expect when you arrive
This class meets twice; each class is 2.5 hours. Please wear comfortable clothes, bring two pillows, one blanket or yoga mat, and be prepared to move. Your support person is encouraged to attend.
Essentials of Breastfeeding: Our board-certified lactation consultants will discuss the benefits of breastfeeding and guide you through:
- How breastfeeding works
- Positioning and attachment
- When to feed your baby
- Breast care
If you are considering breastfeeding, this class will be helpful in making that decision. Partners are encouraged to attend. Registration includes six months free access to additional online breastfeeding education.
Caring for Your Newborn: Designed for expectant parents, this class goes beyond the basics of newborn care. This class is designed to help parents better understand and care for their newborns. Our specialized registered nurses review the following topics:
- Normal newborn characteristics and behavior
- When to call your healthcare provider if you think your baby is ill
- Feeding and comforting
- Baby safety
- Car seat safety (official car seat inspections will not be offered)
Labor, Breastfeeding and Newborn Care: Three in one! This daylong class combines Managing Your Labor, Essentials of Breastfeeding and Caring for Your Newborn into one session. It is ideal for moms, and their partners, who want all of the information in a single class—starting with when to come to the hospital, continuing through labor and birth, and finishing with feeding, bathing and comforting your newborn. Feel free to bring your own lunch and snacks. Please bring two pillows and a blanket, or yoga mat, for labor coping techniques. This class is offered at the Gundersen – Y Healthy Living Center in La Crosse and is taught by Gundersen staff.
Water Birth: Talk to your healthcare provider about water birth and whether it is an option for you. If you meet eligibility requirements, this class is required for water birth at our La Crosse hospital. It will highlight benefits and possible risks of laboring in water, and will help you decide whether water birth is the right choice for you. If you are considering water birth at a location other than La Crosse, talk to your healthcare provider; some, but not all, of the course content will apply.
Fee: No charge
Before Baby: Your Journey through Pregnancy and Birth: This six-week class takes childbirth education to the next level. Co-led by Gundersen Health System and YMCA experts, the class combines need-to-know information about childbirth (stages of labor, pain management, etc.) with sought-after topics, such as prenatal exercise, maintaining strong pelvic floor muscles, mental health and nutrition.
The first half of each 90-minute class is educational followed by time for pregnancy-safe exercises, such as:
- Labor preparation exercises
- Couples massage
- Belly dancing
- Strength training
This class is great for parents and partners who are seeking more than a traditional birth class. Expectant parents should be at least 20 weeks pregnant at the start of the class.
After Baby: Restore You & Your Core:
This class covers topics that your friends may not be talking about (e.g. pelvic prolapse, low back pain, incontinence, postpartum mood changes) but these topics are common after baby. This eight-week, low-intensity class will guide you in rebuilding your belly and pelvic muscles; six of those weeks also include education and discussion to assist in normalizing changes and asking for help, among other topics. In-class instruction and take-home exercises will be provided. Pre- and post-tests will evaluate abdominal muscle separation and pelvic strength. Classes are co-led by Gundersen Health System and Y staff. Babies are welcome to attend.
Wellness in Early Parenthood: Individuals 1 week – 1 year postpartum who are established in outpatient therapy for addictions and mental health treatment and are seeking additional support with their recovery efforts while adjusting to life with a new baby. An 8-week group program for those who have given birth and are adjusting to the transition into parenthood.
Fee: No charge
- Classes are informative and educational. This is a great opportunity to have your questions or concerns answered.
- Feel free to bring snacks and drinks to any of the classes.
All registration fees include both you and a partner for the classes. You are encouraged to register early to reserve your spot (classes fill quickly), but should not attend until at least 24 weeks. Individual circumstances can vary. Call the Perinatal Office at (608) 775-6878 with any questions. Financial assistance may be available upon request.