santa cruz pregnancy and birth

It’s not just newborns entering a brave new world—their parents are too. And they are faced with all kinds of questions as they take on their biggest adventure. Where can I get breastfeeding advice? What do I do about vaccines? Can I find a quality day care? What about kids’ teeth? What kind of classes can we take together? Does playing music in the womb really help? Is a two-month-old ready to start applying to Ivy League colleges? We can’t answer all of them, but our local providers sure can help. Our focus in the yearly Pregnancy & Birth Guide is to hook you up with professionals who can help guide you along the best path for your children’s and your future. Luckily, we have many great providers in Santa Cruz County who will help your kids grow up.


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 of our patients.

Birth Preparations & Resources

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. 

Breastfeeding and Lactation Support
La Leche League
Do you need help with a breastfeeding question? La Leche League has many sources of breastfeeding information. All women interested in breastfeeding are encouraged to attend group meetings and babies are always welcome. La Leche League Leaders are experienced mothers who have breastfed their own babies and who have been trained and accredited by La Leche League International to help mothers and mothers-to-be with all aspects of breastfeeding. If you would like breastfeeding help, please contact La Leche League.

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.

Financial Assistance
Medi-Cal Access Program (MCAP)
You have a baby on the way! The State of California wants to help you get good health care during your pregnancy. Going without prenatal care can cause many problems for you and your baby. Studies show that women who do not get prenatal care often have more complicated (and expensive) births. If you don’t have insurance to cover your pregnancy and you are not receiving no-cost Medi-Cal or Medicare Part A and Part B, the Medi-Cal Access Program (MCAP) may be the helping hand you and your baby need. MCAP can also help if you have other health insurance that doesn’t cover maternity services or with a maternity-only deductible or co-payment greater than $500. Check with your other health insurance plan to see if your deductible or co-payment is for maternity-only services.

New Parent Support & Services

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. First 5 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.

Monarch Services
24-Hour Bilingual Crisis Line
Offers immediate crisis response to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault through a 24-hour crisis line, including emergency response to law enforcement or medical facilities, and accompaniment to forensic rape examinations. Support services include emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence or sexual assault and their children, peer counseling, advocacy, information, referrals, drop-in support groups, and assistance with restraining order applications.

Sports, Play & Fun

adventure sports unlimitedAdventure Sports Unlimited
303 Potrero St, Suite 15
Santa Cruz, CA
Adventure Sports Swim Babies
Swim Babies at Adventure Sports is a parent/infant class for swimmers aged 4 months to 2.5 years. We use subtle and comfortable techniques to introduce your little one to the wonders of water. Classes run from January to December in our 90^ pool 4 times per week. Come play with us!

Jim Booth Swim School
Harvey West pool in Santa Cruz and Watsonville
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 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
831.464.BUGS (2847)
3910 Portola Dr., Stes. 2 & 3, Santa Cruz
Did you know? Activities for babies and toddlers that stimulate balance, movement, and core strength activate the brain for higher learning concepts and lead to later success in school. Join us at June Bug’s Gym for Inchworms — our baby development classes — for crawlers to wobbly walkers.

Music Together / MusicalMe, Inc.
Locations throughout Santa Cruz and Santa Clara County
Our online classes offer the best in early childhood music learning for ages Birth to 6 years. In the special Babies class, for parents with babies under nine months old, you’ll learn lots of fun, interactive music activities that will support your child’s growth in so many areas, including their physical, socio-emotional, language, and early brain development. Your expert teacher will also share ideas for how music can help you get through your day. And you’ll join a community of other parents who are just as sleep-deprived as you! The best part? There is no screen time for your little one, your teacher will guide you to position your infant so they are looking at YOU, not the screen. You follow the teacher while your baby watches you, and you leave each class inspired to make each day more musical.  Contact us today to try a free class and bring the joy of music into your family’s life.