Group & Private Childbirth Classes, Breastfeeding Education & Clinics Massage Services and New Parent Groups

Birthways is a leading Chicago area organization for educating woman and families about pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and newborn care.

We provide group classes as well as private education and consultation. Taught by experienced educators and practitioners, who are also experienced midwives or doulas, we will help you to be informed, confident and excited about what lies ahead.

Our expert team of educators brings a wealth of knowledge for all families. If you’re wondering if we’re the right support for you, the answer is yes! We are specialists for low or high risk moms, same-sex families, single mothers, intended or surrogate parents and those women or partners who may have fear or trauma around childbirth. Call us to learn about availability and options for your needs.

Celebrate Birth! Group Classes in Childbirth Preparation

Instructor: Mary Sommers CPM, MPH

Celebrate Birth! offers a way to prepare for birth that brings together new and traditional wisdom, your own life experiences, and your inner strength and abilities.

You will learn practical gems of wisdom that will see you through the days of your pregnancy and early parenting. And, you will discover the patterns and rhythms of childbirth that will nurture confidence and your ability to think, speak, and act purposefully during this important time.


8 Week Series


Weekend Intensive

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Everyone has experienced doubt, insecurity, and uncertainty during pregnancy, labor, birth and breastfeeding—that’s normal. In this class, we will help you recognize normal patterns in pregnancy and labor and the common pitfalls that can steer you off course. Celebrate Birth will help you tap into your inner strengths and wisdom so you can make decisions in a conscious, grounded way for you and your baby.

Birth partners are highly encouraged to participate in this class. You will learn the patterns and rhythms of birth, which will help you follow cues from the laboring mother and support her during labor.

What to expect in the Celebrate Birth! class

Class size is intentionally small—about 10 families—so that there is plenty of time for questions and community building with parents-to-be.

Both our eight-week and weekend intensive series cover:

  • Understanding Prenatal Care
  • Stages of Labor
  • Recognizing Labor Patterns
  • Pushing: The Second Stage
  • Comfort Measures for the Stages of Labor
  • Understanding ‘Normal’ and Complications
  • Working with Your Doctor or Midwife: Advocacy Issues and Birth Plans
  • Breastfeeding and Newborn Care*

*Our weekend intensive class covers newborn care and breastfeeding in less detail than in the eight-week class, and fewer videos are screened. We recommend participating in our Breastfeeding 101 class, which offers more in-depth instruction on breastfeeding.

Pricing is per couple (mom and birthing partner).

Mindfulness-Based Childbirth & Parenting Class

Instructor: Claire Zawa, CD(DONA), MBCP Level One Educator

Welcoming a baby is a time of transition and transformation that is likely to be filled with joy and challenge. It is also a time of decision-making for yourself and your baby, in a sea of opinions and advice from friends, family, and experts. Mindfulness-Based Childbirth & Parenting (MBCP) is a comprehensive childbirth preparation and mindfulness class that gives you the opportunity to be more fully engaged with your birth and parenting journey.


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Through an experiential approach, you will broaden your ability to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Mindfulness—the awareness that comes from paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally—brings benefits to this unique time. These skills will help you manage stress; work with discomfort, pain, and fear; and open up clearer lines of communication. MBCP also builds confidence in inner resources, shifts perceptions, and increases relaxation and calm. All of these benefits carry over into parenting and life in general.

“I think this is an important tool for life. Not just for labor and parenting.”   Expectant Mother

“I would say that I was anxious, and that my anxiety level is lower now that I have a toolkit of ways to deal with that stress or anxiety.”   Expectant Mother

Mindfulness Based Childbirth & Parenting (MBCP) was founded by midwife and mindfulness teacher Nancy Bardacke in 1998 and is an evidence-based adaptation of the well-researched Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program (MBSR) created by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. in 1979 at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. For more information about the history of MBCP, the current research, and Nancy Bardacke, visit

During the nine-week MBCP class, you will learn to:

  • Access deep physical and mental relaxation
  • Engage the mind to work with pain during labor
  • Increase confidence and courage for the experience of labor and delivery
  • Practice prenatal yoga for strength and flexibility
  • Develop skills for managing stress in pregnancy, parenting and daily life
  • Enhance partner communication skills
  • Become more aware of your own approach to parenting

The nine-week group class will be offered:

Spring/Summer Session 2019: June – August 2019, will be appropriate for EDDs in August or later. Please call to learn more.

Cost for the nine-week class is $400 for expectant mom and support person/partner, and includes guided audio tracks and a copy of Mindful Birthing.

Private Sessions tailored to individuals or couples, whether pregnant or planning to parent via adoption or surrogacy, can be arranged.

Birthways Breastfeeding 101

Recommended to expecting parents. Evidence shows that preparing for breastfeeding, together with follow up with a lactation expert, and encouragement from partners and family members greatly minimizes early cessation of breastfeeding.


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Gain the knowledge and skills for breastfeeding to get off to a good start and to meet your long-term breastfeeding goals with the Breastfeeding 101 Class from Birthways.

This 2-hour class, led by a Board Certified Lactation Consultant or a Certified Lactation Educator, is designed to teach you about you and your baby’s anatomy, reflexes, and hard wiring, so that you can best support baby’s natural instincts to nurse.

Learn about the newborn’s first feeding, strategies for common challenges, and resources for extra help if you need it.

Registration closes at 12noon on the day of class. Price is per couple (mother and partner).

Birthways Breastfeeding Clinic

Our Breastfeeding Clinic is an affordable way to connect with our lactation consultants, obtain evidence-based information and reassurance, get a weight check for your baby, and meet other breastfeeding moms.


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During your time at the clinic:

  • Your pressing breastfeeding questions will be addressed
  • You will have hands-on support with positioning and latch
  • Your baby will be weighed with an accurate medical-grade scale
  • You will receive reassurance that you and your baby are on track
  • We will help with strategies for your return-to-work plan

Current Schedule: Every Friday, 10am – noon Please note: Registration closes on Thursday at 4:30p, preceding Clinic days. Call if you need support before the next Clinic date – 888.506.0607 x704.

Please note: You may be referred to an IBCLC for a full consultation if appropriate. Not sure if the clinic will meet your needs? Contact us and we’ll complete a quick assessment to see if the clinic or a full visit is more appropriate for you and your baby.


Private Education and Consultation

Private Education is always available as an option for childbirth and parenting preparation. We customize the curriculum with you and can cover topics such as :

  • Stages of Labor
  • Comfort Measures
  • Expecting Twins / Multiples
  • Breastfeeding Preparation
  • Newborn Care
  • Childbirth Refresher for those expecting Baby #2 or beyond
  • VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean)
  • Grandparent Preparation

Private Education sessions start at $75/hr and have a 2 hour minimum.

Early Pregnancy or Pre-Conception Consultation

Pregnancy brings with it many decisions:

  • Who will I choose for my prenatal and delivery care?
  • Can I make lifestyle changes that will reduce my risk of complications?
  • Will I choose a doctor or midwife, hospital or home birth?
  • Which prenatal tests should I get?
  • What books are the best for me to read now?
  • There seems to be so many opinions! What information is reliable?

The experts don’t agree!
An overwhelming amount of information is available on these topics, online, in hundreds of advice books, and in the form of advice from friends and family. Your doctor or midwife can help with some of these questions, but frequently, there just isn’t enough time in the appointment. Then things really get confusing when you learn that the ‘experts’ don’t agree! It is certainly overwhelming to find your way through it all to make the best choices for you and your baby.

Evidence-based, experienced providers
Our instructors are not only evidence-based perinatal educators but also experienced providers with hands-on experience in all of the major area hospitals and insight into the birth options available to you. Our educators and consultants include Certified Professional Midwives, Mindful Birthing Educators, Doulas, Integrative Health Coaches and other perinatal experts.

Private Consultation begins at $100/hour.

Get the Support, Comfort and Confidence You Deserve! Let's Explore How We Can Help.

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For over 20 years, Birthways has provided expert support for Chicago-area families during the childbearing year with compassionate, knowledgeable, and affirming care. Founded by renowned postpartum expert Karen Laing, our doulas are carefully screened, trained, supported and experienced to meet your unique needs. With expertise ranging from education to lactation to sleep, Birthways is committed to providing compassionate, affirming support for expectant and new families.

3717 N. Ravenswood Ave. Suite 140 Chicago, IL 60613 888.506.0607