The birth classes were great. Being a first-time mom, I was a little bit nervous about the whole birthing process. These classes put my mind at ease...

Home For Families Class Registration Great Starts™ Birth and Parenting Preparation Series

Great Starts™ Birth and Parenting Preparation Series

This comprehensive series combines all the essential content you need from Labor and Birth, Breastfeeding, and Newborn Care.  NOW also includes as a bonus add-on, Conscious Fathering, a popular class for new and expectant dads/father figures (registration code for Conscious Fathering will be sent with the Great Starts series registration confirmation email).

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Sponsored by:

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The Great Starts™ full series is our most recommended class for families expecting their first baby. It is appropriate for families planning to birth in hospitals, birth centers, or at home. The fee covers the pregnant parent, and one support person, and includes a copy of our book, Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn, and other helpful resources.

It is a comprehensive series that includes the essential information you need about pregnancy, birth, postpartum, breastfeeding, and newborn care, offered in multiple formats. Unlike the information you’ll find in books or online, the information in class is certain to be current, accurate, and reflective of local maternity care practices. It is also taught in ways that make it easy to understand, remember, and apply to your experience. The class includes lecture, videos, group discussion, interactive activities, and time for practicing skills for coping with labor. The series also allows you to meet other expectant parents so you can socialize, support each other, and find future playmates for your baby.

Class Formats

Great Starts full series are offered in the following formats:

The Great Starts series. Our most common offering, described below, has two formats: the 6-weeknight series (usually 6:30-9 p.m.), or our 3 weekends option (usually Saturdays, 9:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m., with a half hour lunch break). Cost: $235 for either 6 week or 3 week formats (plus Conscious Fathering as a bonus class. Details provided in registration confirmation email).
Register online now >>

Penny Simkin’s Birth & Parenting Preparation Series
Penny Simkin >> is a world-renowned expert in the field of childbirth education; author of numerous books on pregnancy, birth, and labor support; and one of the founding mothers of the doula movement. Penny’s series is 8 weeks long (Weds. from 7-9 pm). The same information is covered as in our 6 and 3 week Great Starts series. Cost: $300 for 8 weeks (plus Conscious Fathering as a bonus class. Details provided in registration confirmation email).
Register for Penny Simkin’s series >>


Class Topics

The Great Starts™ series includes the following:

Your own copy of the text, Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn>> (by Penny Simkin, PT, Janet Whalley, RN, IBCLC, Ann Keppler, RN, MN, Janelle Durham, MSW, ICCE, LCCE, and April Bolding, PT, DPT, CD, CCE), and other resources to take home.

Preparing for Labor & Birth (10 hours):

  • Help for common discomforts of pregnancy
  • Stages of Labor: What to Expect
    • How you will know labor is starting
    • How you will know when to go to birthplace (or call midwife to attend you at home)
    • What labor and birth is typically like
  • Soothing practices for labor
    • Breathing Techniques
    • Relaxation Skills
    • Positions , Movement, and Massage
    • Emotional Support
  • Pain Medication Options
  • Typical Hospital Routines and Procedures
  • Variations and Possible Interventions, including Cesarean

Preparing for Breastfeeding (2.5 hours):

  • How to breastfeed: Positioning and Latch
  • How often to feed, how to know baby is getting plenty
  • Predicting, preventing, and coping with common challenges
  • How partners can support breastfeeding
  • A brief overview of pumping, storing breast milk and returning to work

Preparing to Care for your Newborn (2.5 hours):

  • What newborn babies are like: appearance, senses, capabilities, and temperament
  • What babies need, and how they communicate it: reading infant cues; understanding crying; and techniques for soothing
  • Daily care: sleeping and sleep safety, bathing and diapering, feeding, and health
Reunion with Babies (2 hours):
  • Once the babies are born, reunite with the families from your class!
  • Share what is going well, ask questions, and get resources for common challenges.
  • Receive info and have the opportunity to sign up for free Developmental Screenings (ASQ-3) for your child with Parent Trust’s Child and Teen Services staff (
  • Enjoy reconnecting with the families and your instructor!


This Great Starts series meets over several weeks, typically either for six weeknights (from 6:30-9 pm) or for three Saturday mornings (9:00am-2:30pm with a half hour lunch break), or occasionally Sunday afternoons (12-5:00pm). Plan to take a class series that will end at least 3 – 6 weeks before your estimated due date.

This class is offered at several locations, including our classrooms on Rainier Ave S. in Seattle and in Mountlake Terrace; Northwest Hospital in North Seattle; UW Medicine clinics at Roosevelt and Northgate; Group Health facilities in Bellevue; Valley Medical Center in Renton. All classes are open to everyone, regardless of where they are receiving maternity care or giving birth.

Classes cost $235 for the standard Great Starts 6 or 3 week series, which includes the expectant parent and one support person, and benefits of the Parent Club enrollment (see details below). Payment by credit card is due at the time of registration. We accept ProviderOne/DSHS as payment for qualifying pregnant parents and their partners (limited to one series only), and we can offer fee reduction upon request for others through special scholarship funds. We cannot bill private insurance directly, but we can provide a receipt for you to submit for reimbursement. For more information, see our FAQ page >>.

Register online >> or call (206)789-0883 to speak to a registrar.

Parent Club:
Each family that registers for any birth & parenting prep series is also enrolled in our new Parent Club, which entitles you to a FREE Conscious Fathering class, plus 15% discounts on many of our non-series classes (discount applied at check out when you use the coupon codes provided in your registration confirmation). You will also receive Parent Trust newsletters that contain parenting tips and useful information for the various stages of parenting, plus direct access to on-going support for parenting challenges. ***Refer a friend and they, too, can register with our Parent Club program and enjoy the benefits of 15% off select classes.

Classes eligible for the Parent Club 15% discount include: Baby Care for Adopting Families, Babysafe, Better Birth Refresher, Conscious Fathering (FREE when registering for a birth series), Life with Baby, Sibling Prep for Parents, Preventing Preterm Birth, and Working with Labor Pain. Class descriptions can be found here>>

Additional Classes

We also offer specialty birth preparation series. Click on the name to learn more about each:

HypnoBirthing® >>
Lamaze® >>
Expecting Multiples >>

If you are in your first or second trimester consider taking:
Preventing Preterm Birth >>

If more class time is desired on preparing for parenthood beyond what is offered in the full series classes, we recommend additional parenting classes we offer, such as Life With Baby >>, Conscious Fathering>>, and Babysafe>>, in addition to free Developmental Screening>> appointments available once your baby has been born.

For a list of all Great Starts classes available, and links to their descriptions, click here>>

Our Instructors

Our Great Start series instructors team consists of more than 35 certified and experienced childbirth and lactation educators. They have diverse backgrounds including nursing, doula support, social work, physical therapy and more. They have supported families either during labor and birth and/or early postpartum, as well as being experienced parents themselves. Our Instructors >>