santa cruz pregnancy and birth

These are the questions we are asked most: What are the best places for families to do sports, arts, music, theater and take care of their health with the best doctors, dentists and clinics ? Well, we have the answers right here in our annual Family Guide. This is a great place to start your quest for the best of Santa Cruz. You can cut out the guide and post it on your refrigerator or, realizing we are in a new century, turn to it on our website,, where all of our guides are posted year round.


Beth Lilienthal
Postpartum doula care for the whole family. Being able to bridge the time of pregnancy with parenthood is key to developing love in the home; this love spreads both into the family and the greater community. Trained as an infant care specialist, I help families transition comfortably into parenthood, during the first few days, weeks and months.I am also committed to continuing education. This allows me to offer a variety of resources to you and your family. I am certified through Doulas of North America (DONA) in postpartum care.

Birth Network of Santa Cruz County
Santa Cruz
We provide parents and professionals with information, education, and advocacy for safe, empowering, joyful birth. Visit for an extensive listing of pregnancy, birth and postpartum related service providers. Learn about the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative and become a more informed healthcare consumer. Find registration information on our Upcoming Events webpage for Meet the Doulas and other virtual events. Due to COVID19 recommendations, events such as Bellies, Birth & Babies will be delayed until in-person events are safe. Keep in touch with our local birth and parenting community with Birth Network Santa Cruz on Facebook and Instagram. 


Distant Learners LLC
[email protected]
We are an in-person, socially distanced, distance learning facilitation, and classwork support program that also includes daily social group activities. Leaders are assisting students in the completion of their classwork and homework, as well as preparing for their day with their virtual classroom. This program allows for the social factor of school with acknowledging social distancing. It’s easy to get lost in the craziness of it all and we are here to help students succeed while having fun! Space is limited. Call or email to schedule a time to check us out!

Gateway School, K-8
255 Swift Street, Santa Cruz
831.423.0341 ext 302
The Learning Continues – 2020 marks an important milestone in Gateway’s history – 50 years of providing families with an exceptional educational experience. Students and alumni proudly embody the school’s values and inspire future generations as Gateway embarks on its next 50 years. Gateway School is a co-ed day school in Santa Cruz, CA for students in grades Kindergarten through 8th. We are a community dedicated to nurturing academic excellence and intellectual curiosity, high character and personal compassion, and individual agency and engagement. We invite all families interested in Gateway School to visit, ask questions, and get to know our community! For more information and to schedule a tour, please call or visit our website.

Kirby School
425 Encinal St., Santa Cruz
Grades 6 through 12 
Kirby School empowers students to shape their futures with confidence. Our independent, coeducational middle and high school has been preparing students for college and beyond for over 25 years. In classes averaging 12 students, teachers are responsive to each learner’s strengths and interests. Our rigorous academic and arts curriculum, intensive study paths, and inspiring faculty challenge each student based on their interests and readiness, rather than grade level. Kirby graduates go on to attend excellent four-year colleges and universities.

Mount Madonna School
Pre/K-12th grade
491 Summit Road, Mount Madonna
With its emphasis on health and COVID safety protocols, MMS offers small class sizes and outdoor classrooms, with in-person, on-campus and remote learning options for students in grades preschool through twelfth grade. At the heart of Mount Madonna’s educational commitment is a focus on forming meaningful relationships and creating transformative growth for our students. MMS strives to prepare well-rounded human beings who get into and succeed in college, learn to value collaboration, and engage with their local communities, nation and the world. The CAIS and WASC-accredited program features a Montessori-influenced preschool-kindergarten, a 375-acre campus, science and technology labs, life skills, marine biology, oceanography, athletics, and visual and performing arts. Bridging tradition with innovation since 1979, at Mount Madonna School each person is supported in becoming a caring, self-aware and articulate critical thinker, who is prepared to meet challenges with perseverance, creativity and integrity.    

Orchard School K-6
2288 Trout Gulch Road, Aptos
Orchard School, established over 30 years ago, provides a unique, yet comprehensive K-6 education. At Orchard, we weave together the magic of an extraordinary faculty, a 14-acre campus, and a down to earth philosophy that nourishes and honors the natural growth and development of children. Small class sizes, an organic garden, and an animal farm create enriching “whole child” learning experiences that are hands-on and individualized. We provide Strong Core Academics, Excellent Science Curriculum, Art, Music, Physical Theater/Circus Arts, Electives, Ceramics, Archery, Swimming, Leadership, Field Trips, Drama Productions, and more.

Rocking Horse Ranch Preschool
Lic #444400117
4134 Fairway Dr, Soquel
Rocking Horse Ranch is a play-based preschool located on 3 beautiful acres in sunny Soquel. We are open from 9-5:30 and offer morning, afternoon, and full day sessions. Our outdoor space offers lots of room to explore, including our gardens and many different kinds of animals. Come visit us!

Santa Cruz Waldorf School, Parent-Child Classes and Preschool-8th 
2190 Empire Grade, Santa Cruz
[email protected]
Waldorf Education nourishes the whole human being in every phase of development. In Preschool and Kindergarten, children learn through supervised free play, protected from inappropriate intellectual demands. Elementary school is filled with rich and deep study of the whole of human experience, engaging head, heart, and hands – math, science, and reading, fully integrated with artistic development and bodily engagement through crafts and movement. Waldorf graduates love to learn and are prepared for whatever is to come next. They thrive on solving problems. Colleges and universities are now seeking them out for their promise, for the whole human beings that they are. Visit our campus, which borders UCSC and is touched by redwoods.


The Bookakery
Are you looking for at-home activities for your kids? Check out Bookakery Boxes! Our monthly subscription boxes are filled with picture books, recipes, baking tools, and activities, curated to foster a love of reading and baking in kids, and encourages parent-child activities. Bookakery Boxes facilitate activity-based learning of reading, following instructions, counting, and more. Bookakery Boxes are the perfect gift for preschoolers and early elementary age children! Use the code GUISC10 at checkout for 10% off any length subscription (renews at standard price).


Alison K. Jackson, DDS
Children’s Dentistry
7545 Soquel Dr, Aptos
We provide comprehensive dentistry in a caring environment for children of all ages. We are preventive-dentistry oriented and very thorough in our evaluations and consultations. We have a pediatric anesthesiologist on our premises and are able to treat special, challenging children safely and comfortably under a general anesthesia. We have a 24-hour emergency service available for all our patients.

Dignity Health Dominican Hospital    
1555 Soquel Drive, Santa Cruz, CA 95065
Dominican Hospital offers the most advanced maternity care available in the Monterey Bay area, combined with the comforts of home. Our Birth Center provides a welcoming environment for families, advanced technology for new moms and babies, and a commitment to a positive birth experience for you. We are a certified Baby-Friendly® hospital, which means we offer comprehensive lactation support, and your baby will remain by your side throughout your stay. And through our partnership with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, Dominican offers a Level III NICU, so families can rest assured they have access to the highest level of care available in the area.

Ultraderm | California Skin Institute
3311 Mission Dr., Santa Cruz 95065
(831) 272-0936
As the days get longer, sunnier and filled with outdoor activities you need to protect your family’s skin from UVA/UVB rays. Remember to apply/reapply a sunscreen with SPF 30 or more. If you have any concerns about the health of your child’s skin, California Skin Institute is a premier dermatology practice in Santa Cruz, Freedom, & Monterey with board-certified dermatologists and specialists helping families with their skin health. Visit our website or call to make an appointment and ask us about our teledermatology options.  

Parental Support

First 5 Santa Cruz County
First 5 Santa Cruz County promotes the healthy development of children from birth to age 5. Parents and caregivers of newborns can contact First 5 to receive a free “Kit for New Parents” with parenting videos, children’s books, information on caring for babies and local resources. First5 also offers parenting support through the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program, a world-renowned program that strengthens families by building positive relationships. To find Triple P classes or quick tips, visit or

Mothers’ Milk Bank
Valley Medical Center, San Jose
Mothers’ Milk Bank helps fragile babies thrive by making donated breastmilk safe in cases when a mother’s own milk is not available. Contact us, if you are a parent or legal guardian in need of breastmilk, a new mother needing an electric breast-pump or a lactating mother with extra breastmilk.


Kianti’s Pizza & Pasta Bar
1100 Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Offering Curbside and Take Out for our ENTIRE menu and drinks. NEW! Kianti’s delivery and online ordering for pickup and delivery, including alcohol. Dine on all three of our outdoor patios with touchless menu options. Our great specials include: Kianti’s Kids Pizza Kits, $3 Per Day Home School Lunch, Family Dinner Special, Happy Hour Monday – Friday 2-5 pm for curbside and dine-in, Bottles of Kianti’s Wine and Kianti’s Vodka, Gin, Whiskey or Rum, gift cards and apparel. Delivery services include Kianti’s delivery, UberEATS and DoorDash. Visit for Kids Pizza Making Videos, Kianti’s dance tutorials and more!


Adventure Sports Unlimited
303 Potrero Street, #15, Santa Cruz
Adventure Sports Unlimited (ASU) is Santa Cruz’s premier swim school. We teach infants through adults the joys of water and adventure. Our Ocean programs introduce families to our magnificent marine environments through the Big Sur Camping Trip and Kelp Pickling Class. We explore the world-renown underwater landscape of Monterey Bay through our Open Water Scuba courses. It all starts in our custom-built aquatics facility with our tropically heated pool. We want to make your entry into the water world truly enjoyable. ASU – Come Play With Us!  

Jim Booth Swim School
Santa Cruz at Harvey West Pool and Watsonville at Duncan Holbert Pool 
Be a water wonder! From our Little Otters swim class for parents and their babies to Aquaphobics, our adult beginner class, the whole family splashes together at Jim Booth Swim School. Little Otters beginning at age 4 months is a gentle introduction to our 94-degree pools that will make you confident that you are guiding your infant to a happy water experience. Our lessons emphasize quality swimming in an exciting class taught by our caring, well-qualified teachers. The whole family can swim at Jim Booth Swim School.

Junebug’s Gym
3910 Portola Drive, Suite 2, Santa Cruz
831.464.BUGS (2847)
JuneBug’s Gym is a place where your child can experience a fun-filled adventure in movement. We have a caring, respectful, and supportive staff that encourages every child in their growth of large motor skills and gymnastics along with social, emotional and cognitive development. Our goals for our students are to help them feel control and empowerment in their bodies, to build self-esteem through success, to open up imaginations, and to feel confidence and joy in their exploration of movement.

Santa Cruz Gymnastics Center, Inc.
2750 B Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz
We at Santa Cruz Gymnastics Center understand how important physical movement is in developing a healthy brain in children. Healthy brain development leads to proficiency in learning and overall confidence to lead a successful life. Our gymnastics instructors take pride in offering gymnastics training packed with a lot of fun in every class! Each lesson offers a wide range of sensory integration activities through the usage of our gymnastics equipment on the floor, bars, balance beam, vault and trampolines. We offer a range of classes from preschool to competitive teams. Check our website to see what is available for your child today.