St. Joseph Medical Center offers a variety of educational and health-related opportunities.

Birthing, Centering Pregnancy and Parenting

Whether you’re a new or returning parent, we encourage you to participate in our classes to prepare for your new baby. Remember to start your childbirth classes no later than 34 weeks. The better prepared you are, the less overwhelmed you will feel.

2024 Birthing Center Class Schedule

Breidegam Family Birthing Center

Penn State Health St. Joseph Breidegam Family Birthing Center offers state-of-the-art care in 15 private maternity suites. You stay in the same room during labor, delivery and recovery. The spacious rooms provide enough capacity for your support person to stay with you during your entire visit. Each room has a whirlpool tub that can be used during labor or after delivery. 

Our Breidegam Family Birthing Center offers room service meals prepared and delivered at your request, open visiting hours, quiet time for mom and baby, and lactation services so you can start breastfeeding with help and support from our staff. We also have a six-bed, Level II neonatal intensive care nursery nearby for infants who have special health needs following birth.

Preparing for Your Baby

Every new mom wants their birthing experience to be special. Our team is dedicated to providing a personalized experience for you, your baby and your new family. As you begin to plan for the arrival of your new baby, we suggest you schedule a virtual tour of the Breidegam Family Birthing Center. You can Zoom with your personal navigator, virtually meet the nurses and support staff, virtually explore the birthing center in real time and ask any questions you may have about your birthing plan. Contact Stacey Border, clinical nurse manager at 610-378-2078 or email [email protected] to arrange the date and time.

Learn more about Breidegam Family Birthing Center

Childbirth Preparation

This series of classes, taken during the sixth or seventh month, are designed to educate parents about the physical and emotional aspects of the birthing process. Support person(s) are encouraged to attend and will learn their role as coach during labor. Classes are taught by nursing educators of Penn State Health St. Joseph Breidegam Birthing Center. A tour of the Birthing Center is included. Class fee is $75 and may be covered by insurance.

Contact our Clinical Nurse Manager, Stacey Border, at 610-378-2078 or email [email protected] to learn more.

Breastfeeding your Newborn

The benefits of breastfeeding for babies, mothers and the family are numerous. This class is designed to help get breastfeeding off to a great start by dispelling myths, teaching evidence-based current information and providing practical tips for welcoming a newborn baby into the family. Total class duration is two hours and support persons are welcome. Class fee is $20 and may be covered by insurance.

Contact Lactation Services to learn more or schedule a customized prenatal breastfeeding session. 

Tara Schmid, lactation consultant
[email protected]

Ashley Lessman, lactation consultant
[email protected]

Breastfeeding Support Resources

Baby Bistro

Join area moms to talk about the joys and challenges of breastfeeding. Meet with a member of our lactation team to get support with breastfeeding, pumping and returning to work. We’re here for you on your breastfeeding journey!

Class schedule

  • First Wednesday of each month: 9-11 a.m.
    St. Joseph Medical Center
    2500 Bernville Road, 2nd Floor, Franciscan Room A
    Reading, PA 19605
  • Second Thursday of each month: Noon-2 p.m.
    Downtown Campus
    145 N. 6th St., Ground Floor, Centering Pregnancy Room #217
    Reading, PA 19601
  • Third Thursday of each month: 4-6 p.m.
    St. Joseph Medical Center or other locations*
    *Please see Facebook page or call/text for meeting location.

Spanish interpreter services are available upon request. Please contact Tara Schmid, 484-955-5524 or Ashley Lessman, 610-217-1728.

Please RSVP either on the Facebook page or by calling or texting Tara Schmid, 484-955-5524 or Ashley Lessman, 610-217-1728. Due to COVID restrictions, only mom and baby are allowed.

Masks are required. Light refreshments and snacks provided. 

Join our Facebook group

Centering Pregnancy Prenatal Care

Centering Pregnancy is an innovative model in a group setting that includes self-monitoring and extended time with the provider. It integrates three major components of care: health assessment, education and support.

Benefits of Centering Pregnancy

Centering Pregnancy promotes self-care and has been linked to overall health management. The combination of the continuity of prenatal care, as well as the educational, emotional and social support the women in Centering Pregnancy receive has also been linked to better pregnancy health outcomes such as lower rates of preterm delivery and low birth weight babies and higher exclusive breastfeeding rates.

Expecting moms are placed in a group of eight to twelve women due within the same month, and they attend group sessions until it is time to deliver. They are seen by a prenatal provider as they would be in a traditional appointment, and their exams take place in a private section of the Centering room during their group sessions. After all the women have been examined, they gather in a circle for group discussions about pregnancy related topics led by expert facilitators. Educational sessions cover topics such as: prenatal nutrition, dental health, healthy relationships, labor preparation, pain management during labor, breastfeeding, post-partum depression, bonding with your baby, preventing SIDS and Shaken Baby Syndrome, and newborn care. This is not just for first-time moms. Experienced moms enjoy sharing their pregnancy and parenting knowledge to add to the relaxed group discussion.

How to Join

Groups are offered in English and Spanish at our Downtown Reading and Bern Campuses. Please contact Alexandra Torres at 610-378-2440 or [email protected] for more information about the Centering Programs.

Mothers who complete the Centering Pregnancy program will be offered the opportunity to continue group care with their babies through the Centering Parenting program.

Centering Parenting

Centering Parenting is offered at Downtown Campus Pediatrics for well-baby check-ups for the first two years of a child’s life. Building on our accredited Centering Pregnancy program, Centering Parenting brings six to eight moms, partners and their same-age infants together with their healthcare providers and other parents who are experiencing similar things at the same time.

Benefits of Centering Parenting

Centering Parenting fosters a safe and supportive environment to ask questions and create lifelong bonds between families. The primary goals are to increase compliance with well-child visits and immunization schedules, as well as increase exclusive breastfeeding rates at six-months. Each session provides two hours of time with the pediatric provider, a community health worker, and other parents receiving enhanced discussion surrounding developmental milestones and age-specific education. The program provides lasting benefits for the baby, parents and family such as: better health outcomes from higher attendance to well-child visits, education on self-care, increased self-confidence in parenting skills, more time with the provider compared to regular visits and fosters community support and friendship in a relaxed and fun group environment.

How to Join

Mothers who complete the Centering Pregnancy program will be offered the opportunity to continue group care with their babies through the Centering Parenting program. Any new mother who plans to receive care for their baby at the Downtown Pediatrics clinic could also have this option. Centering Parenting will be discussed at the first or second newborn visit and babies will be enrolled into a group with other babies born around the same time. All of the Downtown Pediatrics providers will be facilitating this model of care, so many times a baby can see the same provider from the very first newborn visit all the way until his or her second birthday.

Groups are offered in both English and Spanish at our Downtown Reading and Bern Campuses. Please contact Alexandra Torres at 610-378-2440 or [email protected] for more information about the Centering Programs.

Diabetes Management

The health care professionals of the Diabetes Management department at Penn State Health St. Joseph believe that education is the key to empowering people to take charge of their lives and manage their diabetes for optimum health and wellness.

Our Diabetes Self-Management Education Program is recognized by the American Diabetes Association for meeting the National Standards for Diabetes Self-Management Training.

The Penn State St. Joseph team of diabetes care and education specialists are trusted experts of the integrated care team that provide collaborative, comprehensive and person-centered care and education to people with diabetes.

Services Offered

Individual Outpatient Consultations

Consultations include a needs assessment, establishment of specific diabetes treatment goals, instruction in the disease process, self-management training and follow-up to help individuals and their families cope with the lifestyle adjustments required to achieve diabetes control. These sessions are available at Penn State Health St. Joseph Downtown Campus in the Walnut Medical Pavilion, Bern Township’s Medical Office Building Suite 103, Wyomissing’s Broadcasting Road office, Exeter Ridge Health Complex, and our Muhlenberg practice.

Insulin Start-Up Program

Outpatient instruction for the administration of insulin and all other types of diabetes-related injectable medications is available.

Managing Diabetes Course

This 10 hour course which provides comprehensive diabetes self-management training is recognized by the ADA.* Classes are offered weekdays and evenings at St. Joseph Medical Center and Exeter Ridge.
Click here for more information.

Gestational Diabetes Program

This program provides nutrition counseling support and self-glucose monitoring training necessary for motivation to achieve the treatment goals for positive outcomes for mother and baby.

Specialized Services

Specialized Services are available for children and adolescents, the visually impaired, the learning disabled and those speaking little or no English.

Scheduling an Appointment

Medicare and other third-party payers frequently cover the costs associated with diabetes self-management training. Physician referral and/or prescription is required. Please call your insurance company to verify your benefits under diabetes management training.

Limited free parking is available in the lot at the corner of 6th and Walnut Streets and at the Walnut Medical Pavilion. Additional parking is available at the Reading Parking Authority garage at Poplar and Walnut Streets. Parking passes are validated.

Free parking is available at the Bern Campus, Spring Ridge, Muhlenberg, and Exeter Ridge sites.

Individuals with diabetes and health care providers may contact the Diabetes Educators directly by calling 610-378-2030.

Interested individuals with a doctor’s order may schedule appointments by calling Central Scheduling at 610-378-2100.

Services are available at the following locations:

Penn State Health St. Joseph Exeter Ridge Health Complex
3970 Perkiomen Avenue Exeter Township Exeter, PA 19606
Directions / Map

Diabetes Management at Downtown Campus
640 Walnut St. Reading, PA 19601
Directions / Map

Penn State Health St. Joseph Spring Ridge Health Corridor
2607 Keiser Blvd. Wyomissing, PA 19610
Directions / Map

Penn State Health St. Joseph Muhlenberg
4301 N. 5th Street Highway Muhlenberg, PA 19605
Directions / Map

Diabetes Education at Medical Office Building
2494 Bernville Road Suite 103 Bern Township, PA 19605
Directions / Map

Stop the Bleed

Emergencies come with no warning. In an emergency, would you know how to help someone who is bleeding? The minutes before trained emergency personnel arrive are critical in preventing blood loss. Stop the Bleed training can save a life.

Program Overview

Penn State Health St. Joseph Emergency Department and the Berks County Scholastic Athletic Trainers Association partner to teach easy-to-learn techniques that control severe bleeding. This multi-year program gives teachers and staff of Berks County Schools the tools and training to beat the clock, Stop the Bleed and save lives.

Penn State Health St. Joseph Emergency Department professionals lead this 90-minute course for up to 50 educational and support staff per school building. A lifelike device is used to simulate a severe bleeding injury, and participants respond hands-on. Stop the Bleed techniques can then be directly applied to real-life victims who suffer deep wounds from a traumatic injury. 

View Stop the Bleed Infographic

Schedule training today

Contact William Hafer, EMS Outreach Coordinator at Penn State Health St. Joseph Medical Center to schedule training for your organization or learn more about bleeding control kits.

Phone: 610-378-2464
Email: [email protected]