From quality healthcare to nutritious food and fun (non-alcoholic) things to do, these cities take excellent care of their pregnant residents.
Ah, the joys of pregnancy: morning sickness, soreness, moodiness, having to drink virgin cocktails … the list goes on and on. Of course, it’s not all bad, especially if you live in a place that takes great care of its pregnant residents. After examining locations of top birthing centers, access to healthy food choices, midwife communities, state-level parental leave policies and options for fun things to do (that don’t involve alcohol), we found seven cities that truly have it all for a momma-to-be.
1. Burlington, VT
According to a recent survey by WalletHub, Vermont is recognized as the best state in the whole nation to have a baby. Its winning factor? Healthcare. In Burlington, top healthcare is available for moms and babies, while also offering moms a wide array of birthing options. North of Burlington, in Morrisville is Copley Hospital’s birthing center, which provides personalized, family-oriented birthing plans, and moms can choose between traditional vaginal birth, water birth, and vaginal after Cesarean. Plus, the mom and her partner get to enjoy a fine-dining meal during their stay. For moms looking to stay closer to home, UVM Medical Center offers spectacular views of Lake Champlain, a Mother-Baby Unit, lactation consulting and is the region’s only academic medical center. Born Homebirth is also a huge draw for Burlington mommas, as they offer the ability to give birth in the comfort of your own home.
For those pregnant moms who are constantly hungry (you are eating for two, after all!), a huge variety of healthy and delicious restaurants pepper downtown Burlington. You can grab a snack before you shop for organic, local produce at Healthy Living Market & Cafe or choose from dozens of other options.
On top of all of its great healthcare, Burlington is unique in that it has two yoga studios specifically dedicated to serving pregnant women. Prenatal Method Studio and Evolution Yoga not only offer yoga for pregnant women, but also serves the community with child birthing classes, kids’ yoga, and even postnatal rehab classes.
And more good news for moms and dads: according to Vermont’s Parental Family Leave Guide, both new moms and dads are allowed up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off to care for a newborn child.
2. Jackson, TN
Award-winning Memphis-based Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital has opened up a brand new, freestanding hospital in Jackson, so you know your baby will have the best care once it is born. For the birthing process and everything that comes before, the West Tennessee Women’s Center is internationally-recognized as a Designated Baby-Friendly birth facility and offers birthing classes, lactation services and more.
At the heart of Jackson is the local Jackson Farmer’s Market, open from Tuesday to Saturday. It’s been dubbed the best farmers’ market in West Tennessee (out of many amazing farmers markets in the state) and it’s easy to see why. Stock up on all the folic acid-rich broccoli and spinach you need, but be sure to grab some fan-favorite sticky donuts on the way out!
You don’t need alcohol to have fun here, as this West Tennessee city always has something going on. A local favorite is the Jackson International Food and Arts Festival every September, where future moms can taste lots of different cuisines and immerse themselves in new cultures.
On top of all that, the Tennessee Human Rights Commission allows up to 4 months of leave for adoption, pregnancy, childbirth and nursing an infant.
3. Castle Rock, CO
Located just south of Denver, Castle Rock, CO scores a spot on our list because of its all-around healthy environment. Castle Rock is known for its small-town vibe and its extensive parks and trails system. In fact, the city was selected as a finalist for The National Recreation and Park Association’s National Gold Medal Award recognizing its innovative parks.
Colorado residents have long been praised for their health, and the state is well known for its culture that encourages physical activity and lots of time spent outside. It makes sense that healthy food reigns supreme here, and pregnant moms can indulge in tasty, nutritious food at dozens of restaurants, or shop for their own organic foods at the Castle Rock Farmer’s Market.
Like Burlington, Castle Rock is also home to some superior birthing centers and hospitals. Castle Rock Adventist Hospital offers services like designing your own birth plan, where you sit down with a Birth Concierge who walks you through the whole process. During labor, moms are soothed with stunning views of the Rocky Mountains, aromatherapy and guided imagery. South Denver OB/GYN & Midwives also serves the pregnant community with six highly-trained midwives. Plus, the state’s caesarean section rate is a whopping 18% lower than average.
Colorado also offers 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave, while Colorado’s Pregnant Workers Fairness Act allows pregnant women the right to job accommodations to make them more comfortable.
4. Charlotte, NC
This North Carolina city also landed on the list for its excellence in healthcare, but this time, it got points for its superior breastfeeding support system. Pregnant moms who wish to breastfeed can join the membership-based La Leche League, a group dedicated to providing information and encouragement to new moms. Novant Health’s Nursing Mother’s Place supplies new moms or moms-to-be with classes, consultations, certified bra-fitters and even equipment rentals. The city’s resources don’t stop there, as it’s also home to The Milky Way, a store dedicated to bringing everything a mom could need under one roof.
For restless moms, Charlotte’s 37 miles of greenway trails are ideal for pre-baby walks, and there is always something going on in the city’s arts and culture scene. The bottom line? It’s hard to get bored in Charlotte.
5. Omaha, NE
You may think of Nebraska as being in the middle of nowhere, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have some incredible hospitals. Plus, this growing city is far from the hustle and bustle of the East and West Coasts, where waiting lists for top midwives are incredibly long. Omaha is home to the Methodist Women’s Hospital, where a service list of everything from gynecology to midwifery make it the only one of its kind in the region. Another plus? Nebraska ranked number 4 in the nation for lowest hospital birth charges.
Meanwhile, the Omaha Birth Connection takes a more naturalistic approach to childbirth, and provides the community with doulas for both prenatal and postpartum, as well as placenta encapsulation and belly binding.
It’s hard to be bored here. Being a top agriculture state, of course the Omaha Farmers Market is a huge draw, and hosts more than 115 vendors every Sunday. Well Mama, a yoga and barre studio created for moms, offers childcare for expecting moms who already have a little one. Residents love strolling around the Old Market, the city’s coolest neighborhood adorned with charming shops, restaurants and cobblestone streets.
In 2015, The Nebraska Fair Employment Practice Act was amended to require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant women in the workplace, including up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off.
6. Madison, WI
Updated to include birthing suites, new ultrasound rooms and more last year, Madison’s Meriter Hospital is the largest baby delivering hospital in the whole state. The hospital offers water births, each nurse is trained in lactation issues, and it even has a lounge fully stocked with snacks (including ice cream)! For those with less traditional birthing plans, Madison has a robust network of labor support and midwife programs. Open Arms Midwifery provides five star care to mommas who want a more relaxed home birth, and half a dozen doula service companies can be chosen from.
A wide variety of holistic prenatal health solutions are also offered in Wisconsin’s capital city and include prenatal massage therapy, chiropractic care, and even CranioSacral Therapy, a type of healing bodywork that can help moms relieve pain during pregnancy and postpartum depression.
Madison is known for its countless indoor and outdoor family-friendly activities – perfect alcohol-free alternatives for pregnant moms. Enjoy the award-winning Olbrich Botanical Gardens (which offers free guided garden strolls from May through October), or stroll along one of the city’s five lakes or eight beaches.
What’s more, several bars and restaurants in the area have become known for their crafted non-alcoholic drinks, so pregnant moms no longer have to feel left out. A favorite is “The Catfishâ€ at the Weary Traveler Freehouse, a delicious mix of seltzer and fresh lime juice served in an icy pint glass.
7. St. Paul, MN
Minnesota may be known for its 16,000 lakes, but the state is also home to 17 of the country’s top places to have a baby, according to the Women’s Choice Awards. Regions Hospital in St. Paul made the list for its innovative pain management options and world-class facilities. If a birthing center is more your cup of tea, St. Paul is home to two of the state’s best: Health Foundations Birth Center and the Minnesota Birth Center.
Health is super important in this state. A recent Gallup study found that Minnesota is fourth in the nation for the overall wellbeing of its residents. Residents can shop for in-season fruits and veggies at the St. Paul Farmers Market six days a week, a city tradition since 1854.
There’s also no shortage of festivals and outdoor activities here. St. Paul has an impressive lineup of free, open-air summer music programs and is in close proximity to several beautiful and regional state parks, including Fort Snelling State Park where the Mississippi River meets the Minnesota River.
The state of Minnesota requires employers to give six weeks of unpaid leave to both new moms and dads according to the Parental Leave Law. It’s easy to see why Minnesota was ranked number three in WalletHub’s survey of Best States to Have a Baby.