Life's first hellos start here.
If you're having a baby, take a birth center tour to explore
our hospital, and say hello to our staff and nurses.
Dominican Hospital offers the most advanced 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 stay by your side throughout your stay.
Childbirth and Parenting Class
Dominican Hospital is proud to offer a number of classes to help women and their partners prepare for their newborn. Through our parenting classes and events, the labor and delivery teams at Dominican are helping new parents make the right decisions about their child’s health. Having a baby is an exciting yet overwhelming time. The right support can help you feel reassured and relaxed. From pregnancy classes to parenting classes, we are here to provide the guidance and care you need.
Birth Center Tour
Explore all the options and make an informed choice for your birth experience. Take a tour of the Dominican Hospital Family Birth Center, and discover the many ways we provide comfortable, safe, and secure care for mom and baby.
Visit our private birthing rooms and postpartum suites where mom, baby, and partner can stay together. Peek in to see the sweetest and smallest patients in our Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where newborns in need receive the most advanced emergency care available. Learn about the midwifery care and natural childbirth options Dominican offers. Discover our emphasis on breast feeding and skin-to-skin contact, as a certified Baby Friendly hospital.
Schedule a Birth Center TourOur Birth Center tours can accommodate larger families and children upon request. Tours are held twice per month (dates below) and begin at 6 p.m. in the main lobby of Dominican Hospital, 1555 Soquel Drive, Santa Cruz, CA 95065.
Pre-registration is required. For dates and times, and to schedule your free tour, please register through our Classes & Events or call 844.849.2099, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Please leave a message after business hours and we will get back to you the next business day.
Tour dates: 3/5, 3/12, 4/9, 4/30, 5/21, 5/28, 6/4, 6/18.
We also offer Spanish speaking tours by appointment - please call 831.465.7948 to make a reservation.
Level III NICU (neonatal intensive care unit)
Families can rest assured that if their newborn needs extra attention, Dominican Hospital offers the highest level of care available in the Monterey Bay area. Through a partnership with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, Dominican Hospital offers a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) staffed by Stanford neonatologists and NICU-certified nurses. Learn more
Midwives provide care for uncomplicated pregnancies and births. They consider pregnancy and childbirth normal, natural events that don't require routine medical intervention. Many women choose midwives because they prefer a highly personalized approach to pregnancy, birth, and women's health care.
Provided by Dignity Health Medical Group in Santa Cruz, our midwives are certified nurse midwives (CNM), registered nurses who have completed a midwifery program and passed a national certification exam.
We believe in providing our moms and families with a warm, safe, and homelike environment, but you are never alone. We are here 24/7, gently supporting you every step of the way, empowering you to have the type of birth you desire.
Natural Childbirth - Is it Right for You?
Most people use the phrase natural childbirth to refer to the process of going through labor and birth without the use of pain medication or other medical interventions. There are a variety of reasons why a woman would choose to pursue a natural childbirth.
Trusted Vaginal Practices
A vaginal birth is one in which the baby passes through the birth canal, or vagina. It is the usual, natural birth process, and babies are typically delivered vaginally unless your obstetric provider finds a medical reason for delivery by Cesarean section instead.
Learn more about vaginal birth here.
What You Can Expect From a Cesarean Birth
A cesarean birth is surgery to deliver a baby through incisions in the mother’s abdomen and womb. At Dominican Hospital, a cesarean birth is considered when your doctor feels it is the safest delivery option for you, your baby, or both.
Learn more about cesarean birth here.
Baby-Friendly® Designated Hospital
The Birth Center at Dominican Hospital has been recognized as a Baby-Friendly facility by Baby-Friendly USA. The designation is earned through the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), a global initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
As a Baby-Friendly Hospital, Dominican Hospital prioritizes breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact, and provides the support and education needed for a successful breastfeeding journey. Learn More
For more information on breastfeeding tips, please download our Breastfeeding FAQs here.
Follow up Lactation appointments available at Dignity Health Pediatrics located at 1820 41st Ave., Ste. D, Capitola. Call 831.373.9646 to schedule an appointment.
Birth Center Features
Dominican Hospital offers comfortable labor and delivery, recovery and postpartum rooms for you and your family. We know how important it is to have your loved ones around you, especially at this special time. For your comfort, we offer:
- Caring and experienced Birth Center staff of nurses, certified nurse-midwives, and OB/GYN physicians who are available around the clock
- 24/7 access for your support person, with comfortable overnight sleepers
- Showers in all Labor and Delivery rooms
- Access to a soothing Jacuzzi tub during labor
- Beautiful private outdoor patios in Labor and Delivery
- Access to labor support kits with ambiance lighting and LED candles as well as aromatherapy and sound machines to enhance your delivery environment
- Birthing balls and peanuts to promote movement and position changes
- Optional pain relief including nitrous oxide inhalation, IV medication, and epidural analgesia
- Private refrigerators in all Birth Center rooms
- A family kitchen stocked with snacks and beverages for you and your support person
- Skin to skin bonding immediately after birth
- Lactation and breastfeeding support services at all hours
- Safety and Security in our locked Birth Center where you, your support person, and your baby will receive matching armbands
- Postpartum rooms designed with a double bed, a table with chairs, and a couch to facilitate rooming in and bonding with your newborn
- A special celebration meal
- Free WiFi in the Birth Center and throughout the hospital
- Free car seat fittings provided by certified staff prior to your discharge
What to Pack
The most important thing to bring is an approved infant car seat. During your hospital stay, Dominican Hospital offers free car seat check and installation so you can go home safely.
You may also want to bring a going-home outfit for the baby and perhaps a receiving blanket for extra warmth. As a special gift, Dominican provides a newborn outfit.
Dominican will provide whatever is needed for the baby during your hospital stay, i.e. diapers, t-shirts, blankets.
Download and print our helpful guide.
Did you know that three out of four car seats are installed incorrectly? Dignity Health Dominican Hospital’s Car Seat Checks for the Community events are held twice a year or offered by appointment. Space is limited. To schedule an appointment, please call Jennifer Blanke at 831.462.7266.
Frequently asked questions about Dominican Hospital’s Birth Center for you and your family.
What Is Pre-Registration and When Should I Do It?
Complete the pre-admission form on the Admitting/Registration page within 48 hours prior to your hospital stay to save time and so we can be ready for your visit. For questions about pre-registration, call 831.462.7703.
Where Should We Go When We Arrive at the Hospital in Labor?
The main hospital entrance, off Soquel Drive, is open 6:30 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. Please follow the signs to the Emergency Department entrance when the main entrance is closed.
Complimentary valet parking is available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Does Dominican Encourage Skin-to-Skin?
Yes, we encourage skin-to-skin with your newborn. This provides a unique opportunity for initial bonding with your newborn baby within the first hour of birth. While skin-to skin is especially beneficial in facilitating breastfeeding, non-breastfeeding parents are also encouraged to participate in this special time.
For vaginal deliveries: This begins immediately after birth. Newborn birth medications, weight/length measurements, and first bath happens after baby’s first feeding/bonding effort.
For cesarean deliveries: At birth there will be a quick examination before the baby can lay on mom’s chest for skin-to-skin.
Does The Hospital Encourage Breastfeeding?
We are a Certified Baby-Friendly Hospital that encourages breastfeeding.
Yes. If you choose to breastfeed, our nursing staff is well trained to help you get started and maintain healthy breastfeeding.
International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) assist all patients during their hospital stay.
Details & Directions
Details & Directions: Dominican Hospital Birth Center