• To Birth & Beyond

    A round-up of pre- and post-natal education, exercise, and support classes around the city.

    By New York Family
    A childbirth education class with Birth Day Presence; photo by Bellamy Blue

    A childbirth education class with Birth Day Presence; photo by Bellamy Blue

    If you are pregnant in the city, this much is for sure: you will not have to go on the journey alone. In addition to your OB-GYN, there are many wonderful education, exercise, and support classes and groups. Here are some of our favorites!

    92Y: At 92Y, parents and parents-to-be can be part of a vibrant community, make lasting friendships, and build important support networks. Prenatal offerings include: Baby Toddler/CPR and Safety; Becoming Parents: A Primer for Parents-To-Be; Breastfeeding Workshop; Caring for a Newborn; Lamaze Complete Childbirth Preparation; Dad’s Boot Camp; Prenatal Yoga; Prenatal/Postpartum Nutrition Counseling; and Miscarriage Support Group (new). Post-natal offerings include: New Parent Get-Togethers (newborn to 12 months); Breastfeeding Support Group; New Mother, New Baby (newborn to 5 months); Yoga for Mommy and Baby; Rock ‘n’ Roll with Baby (5-9 months); Shape Up With Baby (6 weeks to 9 months); and Baby Massage (2-5 months). 92y.org

    Babies “R” Us: Babies “R” Us in Union Square is best known for selling baby and nursery goods, of course, but they’ve also introduced an extensive menu of classes for new parents. Under “Baby Basics,” they offer a review of the characteristics of a newborn, feeding, bathing, diapering, cord care, and equipment needs. Beyond teaching essentials like those, they offer separate classes in baby wearing, baby yoga, infant massage, and infant CPR, among others. There’s usually at least one class a day, and on some days, especially during the weekend, there are more. Classes are taught by local experts and neighborhood vendors like Karma Kids Yoga and Yogi Beans. You must go to their main website to get the classes listings for specific stores like the one in Union Square. toyrus.com  

    Baby In The Family: Baby in the Family specializes in prenatal education and postpartum support. Founded by Andrea Syms-Brown in 2006, workshops are hosted at various locations in the city. Their Caring for a Newborn Baby workshop concentrates on practical care routines such as diapering or bathing. The How to Breastfeed workshop focuses on breastfeeding techniques and routines for newborns through their first 30 days. Syms-Brown, who also provides individual postpartum support in NYC and the tri-state area, currently serves as president of the New York Lactation Consultant Association. babyinthefamily.com

    Birth Day Presence: Founded in 2002, Birth Day Presence is a premier provider of childbirth classes and birth and postpartum doula care for expectant families in New York City. Led by Jada Shapiro and Anna Merrill, BDP combines the best of modern childbirth techniques and old world practices to reduce the fear and anxiety around childbirth, while increasing the joy and pleasure of confidently becoming parents. BDP has assisted thousands of families in a nurturing, safe, and joyful way. Classes include Childbirth Preparation, Breastfeeding, Newborn Care and Infant CPR, plus new additions like sibling, pet, Cesarean, and twins prep (Birth Day Presence also has a partner program with the Seleni Institute, listed below). birthdaypresence.net

    Chic City Mom: Inspired by her own challenges as a busy mother of two, Chic City Mom founder Erica Stamey-Hong designed an organization that would help city-dwelling mothers connect through support groups. Chic City Mom provides educational mommy & me playgroups for new mothers and their babies ages 0-18 months. Licensed experts, such as reproductive psychiatrist Carly Snyder and naturopathic doctor Laurie Brodsky, speak about issues that range from infant health to post-baby relationship changes. Chic City Mom’s six week semester of classes is offered at locations in SoHo, Chelsea, the Upper East Side, and the Upper West Side. chiccitymom.com

    City Births
    City Births offers classes in Childbirth Preparation, Newborn Care & Breastfeeding, Infant CPR & Safety, New Moms Groups, and Breastfeeding Support. From the start of pregnancy through delivery, they encourage parents to be well-prepared for childbirth as well as for the care of their infant. Classes offer the most up-to-date information on the reality of giving birth and raising a family in NYC. All of City Births’ instructors bring hands-on experience, having attended births in the city, and can provide accurate information as to what to expect during labor and birth. The organization empowers parents to be fully informed of their choices in birth and provides them with necessary tools to be happy and confident parents. citybirths.com

    Hospitals: It’s not surprising that the most common places where women give birth would have pre- and post-natal education and support classes, but many expectant parents don’t realize that hospitals generally have very good classes at affordable prices—and often they’re open to attendees intending to give birth elsewhere. Most of the city’s major hospitals and their class listings can be easily found online—or you can visit newyorkfamily.com for lists of our hospital and physician recommendations. 

    The JCC in Manhattan: The JCC in Manhattan is the Upper West Side’s premier location for pre- and post-natal support, education, and services. In addition to classes and seminars such as How to Care for Your Newborn Baby and support groups like the Breast-Feeding Support Group, they offer socializing experiences through Tummy Time and Coo & Crawl: A Mother and Baby Play Space. For the mother who is looking to stay fit during pregnancy or get back in shape after, The JCC’s Marti Ann Meyerson Center for Health and Wellness offers weekly classes such as Aqua Get Fit! Pre+Post-natal Exercise Class, Movin’ Mamas, and Pre+Post-natal MELT. jccmanhattan.org

    Karma Kids Yoga: Karma Kids Yoga believes that having a good support system is as important as being in good physical and mental shape during this time, striving to make your transition into motherhood as smooth as possible. Offerings cover a range of tools that include: prenatal yoga, pre- and post-natal pilates, pre- and post-natal yoga tune ups, childbirth workshops, and Lamaze childbirth courses, as well as doula speed dating events, baby-wearing clinics, and other support group services. Once the baby is born, they offer mom & baby yoga, dad & baby yoga, My Baby Fingers’ baby sign language, and free yoga story time classes. karmakidsyoga.com

    Mommybites: When Mommybites co-founder Laura Deutsch was a new mom living in NYC, she was astonished at how lonely she felt in such a huge, happening city. Laura started Mommybites because she wanted to create an easy way for moms to meet other moms, feel supported, and learn from top parenting experts. Founded in 2006, Mommybites (originally Babybites) has become one of the largest social and educational communities in the New York City area, while expanding to other key cities and within its online community. Through their signature mom support groups, free online parenting classes, and parenting tips and articles, Mommybites connects moms to other moms, experts, and all the latest parenting education, products, resources, and support to help make their lives a bit easier. mommybites.com

    MomPrep: Rosie Pope’s MomPrep offers a core curriculum of prenatal and postpartum education at the Rosie Pope Maternity retail locations, through classes, personalized concierge services, and digital education, including online tips. From baby CPR through childbirth education, the core curriculum offers MomPrep attendees the foundation of education to take with them into their journey of becoming parents. Within MomPrep, Rosie’s panel of experts, from renowned OB-GYNs to celebrity fitness trainers, serves customers with unprecedented access to expert information both in person and online. rosiepope.com 

    Mom Support: The founder of Mom Support, Jessica Shapely, has helped hundreds of parents care for their children and themselves through support groups, sleep consultations, and individual and couple’s counseling. Her weekly support groups (including groups for new moms, seasoned moms, and moms of multiples) allow moms to share the joys and address the challenges by establishing support, combating isolation, and normalizing the experience of being a new parent. Rather than trying a one-size-fits-all approach to sleep, her sleep consultations are customized to each family based on personal needs. Her individual counseling sessions include a lot of work with prenatal women as well as postpartum moms and couples facing a variety of emotional and physical struggles. momsupport.org

    Northeast Doulas: Led by a trio of certified doulas with a combined history of helping over 1,800 mothers on the path to parenthood, Northeast Doulas provides families in Greenwich and Fairfield, CT, and Westchester and New York City, NY with highly trained and experienced doulas to assist them from pregnancy to postpartum. Beginning with a complimentary pregnancy consultation, their experts are all about connecting families with the appropriate doula for them—and their staff of diverse doulas virtually insures a good match. The agency also focuses on providing high quality post-partum doulas who are available for shifts of 4-24 hours, as needed, providing new mothers with everything from housekeeping help to hands-on baby education. Other services include prenatal discussion groups, placenta encapsulation, pregnancy consultation, and sleep consultation. northeastdoulas.com

    New Dad Bootcamp with the NYC Dads' Group

    New Dad Bootcamp with the NYC Dads’ Group

    NYC Dads Group: Started in 2008 by Lance Somerfeld and Matt Schneider, the NYC Dads Group is a community of active and caring dads who are leading the way as what it means to be a good father in the 21st Century is redefined. Prenatal offerings include weekly New Dad Boot Camps at top parent education providers around the city. These workshops for dads by dads give new and expecting fathers the opportunity to discuss parenting with veteran dads, who bring their babies along to give the rookies some hands-on experience holding, feeding, and calming real babies. The group also organizes weekly meetups for postnatal dads and their kids at parks, museums, parent-and-me classes, and living rooms, as well as parenting workshops and dads’ nights out. nycdadsgroup.com

    Pregnant New Yorker: The Pregnant New Yorker provides fun, alternative health events in NYC educating the pregnant community on how to have an easy, healthy pregnancy. Janet Markovits, also the owner of Maternal Massage and More, founded the health-minded group in 2008 when her clients kept asking for advice and referrals and had questions related to everything pregnancy and baby. The Pregnant New Yorker brings the best guest speakers together to teach pregnant and postpartum moms, while providing an opportunity to learn something new about different services and products, and a chance to meet other pregnant women. thepregnantnewyorker.com

    Prenatal Yoga Center: The Prenatal Yoga Center is the first and only yoga center in New York City to focus solely on expectant and new moms. Their classes have a three-pronged approach, focusing on community, physical comfort, and childbirth education. Community means starting each class with the women introducing themselves, saying how far along they are and how they are feeling physically; physical comfort means identifying the aches the students are feeling that day in order to cater the class to ease their discomfort; and childbirth education means interweaving informative themes through the class. The center believes that this is a very digestible way to take in new and sometimes overwhelming information, with the hope that the new mother will feel more confident in making conscious decisions during pregnancy, labor and delivery, and motherhood. prenatalyogacenter.com

    Seleni Institute: The Seleni Institute is a non-profit organization founded in 2011 by George and Nitzia Logothesis to attend to the mental health care needs of women. In addition to supporting research and providing women with online resources, the institute offers assessment, consultation, and treatment for women experiencing reproductive or mental health issues. Their areas of coverage include lactation support, acupuncture, massage, therapy, support groups for post-partum depression and anxiety, and infant bonding and attachment with a focus on individualized treatment throughout. Additionally, the team of experts at Seleni lead monthly workshops on topics like breastfeeding, preparing for motherhood, and more (Seleni also has a partner program with Birth Day Presence, listed above). seleni.org

    Stork And Cradle: Stork and Cradle gives mothers the real deal about labor and breastfeeding. Their services mentor families through pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding empowering them to make choices that keep themselves and their babies safe and healthy. They’ve created a non-judgment zone where parents can discover what they need and want to have their ideal safe birth, eliminate regrets, and have a rewarding experience. In addition to free monthly healthy pregnancy classes and weekly breastfeeding support calls, offerings include: Comprehensive Childbirth, Breastfeeding, Baby Care and Safety, Infant CPR, Expectant Multiples, and an online childbirth class. storkandcradle.com

    Tribeca Parenting: Tribeca Parenting provides childbirth preparation, babycare, and breastfeeding classes for expectant couples. It is an affiliate of Tribeca Pediatrics but is open to all expecting New York City parents. The parent education organization was born from Dr. Michel Cohen’s desire to help families have healthy births and new baby experiences, and he brought on Erica Lyon, author of The Big Book of Birth, to run the program. Support and education don’t stop with the arrival of the baby: New moms groups, breastfeeding support, and the very popular Toddler Talks let parents find sanity with resources that age up with their kids. There are convenient locations on the Upper East Side, and in Tribeca, Chelsea, Long Island City, Fort Greene, Gowanus, and Jersey City. tribecapediatrics.com/TPeds

    Twiniversity: Got twins? If you are expecting twins or are a new parent of twins, don’t miss a Twiniversity Class. Natalie Diaz, founder of the global support network Twiniversity teaches classes locally to her fellow New Yorkers. She’ll answer questions like: Should you breastfeed two at a time? How? One crib or two? Should you co-swaddle? What stroller is best for the city? How much help do you need and where do you find it? Should your twins be on a schedule and how to get them on one? All this and more is taught in both the Twins 101 class (for expectant families) and Twins 201 class (for new families). twiniversity.com

    Urban Wellness Acupuncture: Urban Wellness Acupuncture offers treatment sessions that focus on overall women’s health, fertility and more uniquely new mom’s well-being. Carla Gervasio, L.Ac and Rae Ritke, L.Ac. are licensed and board certified acupuncturists committed to creating an office that functions as an oasis from the business of life, so clients can focus on harmonizing their bodies and minds. In addition to sessions that center on positive energy for fertility benefits, Urban Wellness Acupuncture offers support for recent mothers to rebuild their resources after birth. Gervasio and Ritke use acupuncture to help with postpartum symptoms like abdominal pain, sleep issues, and emotional imbalance by moving the body’s bio-energy to enhance the natural healing process and recovery. urbanwellnessnyc.com

    For OB/GYN, midwife, doula, and lactation specialist resources, click here.

    For baby boutiques that also offer new parent classes, click here.

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