Full Great Starts Series

This comprehensive series combines all the essential content you need from Labor and Birth >>, Breastfeeding >>, and Newborn Care >>.

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.

Our comprehensive series includes essential information you need about pregnancy, birth, postpartum, breastfeeding, and newborn care, offered in multiple formats. We work to keep the Information in our classes current, accurate, and reflective of local maternity care practices. They are taught in ways that make it easy to understand, remember, and apply to your experience. The classes include 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).  Please see the registration page for price information.

Register online now >>

8 week Birth & Parenting Preparation series formerly taught by Penny Simkin
This course is currently taught by Penny Simkin’s long-time assistant, Katie Rohs, CD(DONA), LCCE. Utilizing Penny’s books, handouts and videos on pregnancy and postpartum support, you will find comprehensive and up-to-date information from Labor & Birth, Newborn Care, and Breastfeeding.

Please see the registration page for price information.
Register for the 8-week series >>


Class Topics

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 (www.parenttrust.org/asq)
  • 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 Roosevelt Clinic; Kaiser Permanente’s Bellevue Medical Center; Valley Medical Center in Renton. All classes are open to everyone, regardless of where they are receiving maternity care or giving birth.

Cost And Registration:  Please see the registration page for price information.
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.

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