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NCT AnteNatal Classes
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# 1
mutleythegooner
Old 03-05-2012, 9:42 PM
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Default NCT AnteNatal Classes

Hi All!

My wife is 21 weeks pregnant and we've been looking into the NCT antenatal classes and they are coming back quite expensive in my area (£270). This is quite a lot of money for us and we just miss out on the discount. Do you think the classes are worth that much money?

If the classes content are basically what we could learn from a book I'm not sure we could justify the outlay. Has anyone been on the course? If so, was it beneficial and in what way?

Any information gratefully received!
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# 2
Blue Monkey
Old 03-05-2012, 9:59 PM
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I'd highly recommend them! The content isn't really anything you couldn't google but we've found the social side invaluable!

There were 8 couples in our sessions and we've all stayed in touch and see each other regularly. I have several friends with kids/babies but having other people go through it at more or less exactly the same time is such a support. Probably more for your mrs than you overall but you might make pals too.

Also, it's a good arena to ask "silly" questions or hear others ask things you'd not thought about. We had a good giggle during our classes and did learn some good bits too.

I say go for it. It's the best pre-baby preparation money I think we spent!
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# 3
bigmomma051204
Old 03-05-2012, 10:24 PM
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Depends on what you want. They will heavily promote natural birth and breastfeeding to the hilt and ignore or at least move swiftly on from any topic that goes against what they believe everyone should do IMHO. In fact, not opinion. I have sat in on many of these sessions in a few areas and they all seem to be the same!

Saying that, the NHS classes vary and obviously go into far more medical detail about pain relief and what to expect at the hospital etc. More practical i guess if you like than the NCT classes which i find to be VERY idealistic.

Lots of strong friendships are formed at the nct classes BUT that is not to say that you cannot also form friendships at NHS classes (see it often!) and after baby arrives at baby groups etc.

If you DO decided that u want to go for it, ASK your local NCT lady re the price - i have known them to reduce it a bit if people are just below the threshold worth asking definitely!
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# 4
AMC1979
Old 03-05-2012, 10:29 PM
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I joined the NCT at £40 for the year, but balked at the cost of classes – £260 for about 22 hours. I just could not justify the cost. In the end I found that there were free local NHS antenatal classes – 4 sessions of 2 hours each which I start later in May.

I would recommend that you and your wife check out all the options available to you and see if there are free NHS classes or cheaper ones elsewhere, because I really don't think that what you will learn during the classes justifies the extortionate cost. I know that the NCT are a charity and it costs to run the classes but it feels like exploitation to me. There must be cheaper or free options out there for you and your wife. I'm just glad I found an alternative before I parted with so much money.

There is a lot of information on the NCT website too – I recommend reading up a lot on this. Also find out what local groups there are in your area –!you can always join the NCT and go to the meetups (which I plan to do) – a lot cheaper to become a member than to pay for expensive classes.
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# 5
bigmomma051204
Old 03-05-2012, 10:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AMC1979 View Post
I joined the NCT at £40 for the year, but balked at the cost of classes – £260 for about 22 hours. I just could not justify the cost. In the end I found that there were free local NHS antenatal classes – 4 sessions of 2 hours each which I start later in May.

I would recommend that you and your wife check out all the options available to you and see if there are free NHS classes or cheaper ones elsewhere, because I really don't think that what you will learn during the classes justifies the extortionate cost. I know that the NCT are a charity and it costs to run the classes but it feels like exploitation to me. There must be cheaper or free options out there for you and your wife. I'm just glad I found an alternative before I parted with so much money.

There is a lot of information on the NCT website too – I recommend reading up a lot on this. Also find out what local groups there are in your area –!you can always join the NCT and go to the meetups (which I plan to do) – a lot cheaper to become a member than to pay for expensive classes.
Can i just point out though, that you dont HAVE to join the NCT to go to ANY of their groups (breastfeeding support, etc) or to their sales... i know they are a charity BUT you CAN just pay on the door as it were... about a quid or two per group.
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# 6
Winky, The House Elf
Old 03-05-2012, 10:49 PM
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I have mixed feelings about the classes.

As everyone says they are great for making friends (I'm still in touch 18 months later with a few people from ours, and it really helps when others are at the exact same stage/problems) and fab for asking silly questions. It was nice to feel that we were doing something positive together as a couple to help prepare for the baby once a week, and our group was good fun.

The expectations around birth plans can be a little bit tree hugger/hippyish and how to "Manage" the interfering medical staff, who by implication want to treat you as a inconvienice was a bit OT but having said that it did make me question stuff, and I did find the breast feeding advice very good.

I personally think its a nice to have, rather than essential, but it gave me a different point of view to take on board when making my mind up.

Knowing what I do now, (if it was my first baby) would I do it? Actually yes, as we did get a lot out of it, but not what I thought we would.

Confused much??
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# 7
Mrs.W
Old 04-05-2012, 12:05 AM
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Have you asked your wife's midwife if there are any NHS pre-natal courses running in your area?
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# 8
mildred1978
Old 04-05-2012, 12:35 AM
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Lots of threads about this previously.

Probably the best money we spent pre-baby.

I didn't get to do the NHS ones (bloody inept midwives) but in the end I was glad of that.
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# 9
tyllwyd
Old 04-05-2012, 10:25 AM
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Someone I knew said that when they went to an NCT class, there was one guy who kept asking questions and correcting the teacher - when they were chatting afterwards it turned out he was a local gp (my gp actually - excellent doctor but doesn't suffer fools gladly so I would have been terrified if I was the teacher).

We started going to NCT classes but I could feel my OH sitting there giving off 'I don't want to be here' vibes, and the teacher didn't impress us, so we gave up. We had decent NHS pre-natal classes, so I went to those and to be honest, I preferred them to the NCT ones. Afterwards, I did get quite involved with the local NCT, which was great from a social point of view.

I think so much depends on what is offered in your local area by the NHS, and how good the actual teacher of the NCT classes is. If money is tight and the NHS offer a few classes, to be honest that's what I'd go for.
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# 10
pinkclouds
Old 04-05-2012, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mutleythegooner View Post
If the classes content are basically what we could learn from a book I'm not sure we could justify the outlay.
Personally, I don't think any antenatal classes are worth it. I would recommend the Dr Sears Birth Book instead: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Birth-Book-S...dp/0316779075/

When you feel the need for new "parent" friends, then you can meet them at your local toddler group (the NCT run some too, if you must), your local breastfeeding group, the parents at your child's nursery or school, a slingmeet, etc. However, statistically, at least some of your existing friends will have kids too - at some point in time. Btw, as you're a bloke, I also assure you that you are welcome to attend *any* parenting type group - so long as you bring the baby with you.
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# 11
gien
Old 04-05-2012, 11:38 AM
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I did both - they were excellent for the social side, and to get my husband used to the idea of the whole birth thing (he'd been a bit squeamish). In fact I'm still in touch with some of my class and my eldest is almost 16!
Our NCT teacher was vert factual, very informative and didn't push a strong 'natural birth' agenda. She was excellent at breastfeeding advice too, and it was worth it just to tap into the NCT network and all the experience of people
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# 12
Mrs Imp
Old 04-05-2012, 1:03 PM
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My midwife never told me about NHS ante natal classes, so I just booked an NCT one. The first lesson made it all worthwhile. She went into detail about how your body goes through the process of giving birth. I went from 'how on earth can my baby get out!' to 'ahhh, I see, so it is possible'

The classes did focus a lot on natural birthing methods, but we had a whole class on pain relief etc. I thought that it was a good balance, as it reassured us that we didn't need pain relief if we didn't want it, and we were more able to make an informed choice. That helped a lot with my needle phobia, as I felt able to refuse needles at the hospital.
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# 13
clearingout
Old 04-05-2012, 1:07 PM
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it is worth it for the social side, most certainly.

I personally don't think the classes 'push' natural birth or breastfeeding but what they do do is promote the benefits of both. There's a difference, I think!
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# 14
SqueekyMouse
Old 04-05-2012, 1:33 PM
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Don't just assume you only have the option of NHS classes or NCT ones. We went to an independent group run by 2 midwives (one retired one still practicing) which we found to be excellent and cost much less than the NCT course

They were able to speak from experience which I found reassuring and was important to me. (I understand that while the NCT teachers do complete a significant course in order to deliver the lessons, they do not necessarily have a background in midwifery).

Also, since they worked in the local hospitals they were able to give us hospital specific practical information - eg The General has a drop of point here and you'll need to get a permit from here when you go into hospital, or the birthing center only has 1 pool, so ask for it when you ring in etc.

I felt that the information was presented in a balanced way. There was lots of information on pain medication and no pressure not to have it, and while we learnt about breastfeeding, they did not push it. It didn't feel like they had an "earth mother" agenda to push which I know some people feel is the case with the NCT (I don't speak from any experience at all here, just what people have said to me)

I do think antenatal classes are useful even though you can read a lot in books, it's sometimes easier to remember information when its presented to you. Also as other people have said they are excellent from a social point of view, there was 5 other couple in our group and the mums and babies still meet up every couple of weeks.
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# 15
SmlSave
Old 04-05-2012, 1:54 PM
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We found them worth the money My husband after not wanting to go initially thought they were brilliant and really helpful.

My DH thought the course let him know what to expect, how he could be helpful and meant that we talked about what we both wanted before and after the birth.

I can honestly say that if I hadn't done the NCT course I wouldn't have been able to feed my baby myself. Being able to call the local bfeeding counsellor was a life saver for me.

They do focus on a natural birth being the best but our teacher had gone through a c-section so was very informative about all the options.

I still meet up with the girls and babies 10 months on.
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# 16
fluffnutter
Old 04-05-2012, 3:08 PM
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Depends what you want out of them. I've signed up to the two free NHS ones plus I've paid £40 for pilates classes run by a midwife. Together with the invaluable threads on here and a decent baby book I feel clued up and relaxed about my pregnancy, labour, birth and beyond.

I wouldn't spent £270 on antenatal classes but then I'm not hugely interested in meeting people. Even if I were there are plenty of bumps and babies classes at the swimming pool, church hall, surestart centre, local gym etc. etc. that are a lot cheaper than the NCT. Plus I've got a sneaking suspicion that the NCT attracts mafia mums and they're not my cup of tea *

*Apologies to all those lovely NCT mums out there - I'm sure there are a few of you
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# 17
pinkclouds
Old 04-05-2012, 7:17 PM
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Originally Posted by SmlSave View Post
I can honestly say that if I hadn't done the NCT course I wouldn't have been able to feed my baby myself. Being able to call the local bfeeding counsellor was a life saver for me.
You can engage a professional lactation consultant for several hours for £270 though. And there are usually free local breastfeeding drop-in groups. I used to attend one in my town that is held every Friday lunchtime. The occasional new dad would stumble in but I do admit it was mostly moms every week. Also, if you have a hospital birth, you should be able to see the on-site lactation consultant before you go home.

Tbh, I reckon that nearly 300 quid would hire you a trainee doula (or possibly even a qualified doula), which would probably be more helpful than a few hours of "antenatal classes". Bear in mind that such a class would not be 1-to-1 and would cover a range of topics that might be surplus to your needs, without actually addressing your personal concerns. I remember attending one NHS antenatal class and noted, for example, that they did not discuss c-sections or bottle-feeding. Perhaps a NCT class would be different.

Alternatively, you could spend the money on a private hospital room, which might be more helpful with stress-relief. Or a short course of relaxation therapy to help prepare for the birthing pains. Or a home birthing pool, if that floats your boat. Or any number of things.
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# 18
girl-in-a-hat
Old 05-05-2012, 2:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkclouds View Post
Bear in mind that such a class would not be 1-to-1 and would cover a range of topics that might be surplus to your needs, without actually addressing your personal concerns. I remember attending one NHS antenatal class and noted, for example, that they did not discuss c-sections or bottle-feeding. Perhaps a NCT class would be different.
It really depends on what you want from the class. If you want facts, stick with the NHS. I don't know whether all NCT classes at the same but bottle feeding was a taboo subject at ours. One dad-to-be asked about bottle feeding if breast feeding wasn't working out - the tutor looked at his as though he had 2 heads. We very briefly covered complications but most of the time was spent practising visualisations and breathing, neither of which were at all helpful to me when I ended up in theatre having an emergency forceps delivery.

If I'm perfectly honest, I felt an absolute failure because I didn't have the 'gold standard' gas and air fuelled water birth the NCT bang on about. I also had to quit breast feeding after a couple of weeks due to severe anaemia and other complications - our classes never accounted for this so another 'fail' for me... and some of the other Mum's.

I suppose the only reason we registered for classes was to meet people, and I did, but boy what an expensive way to be introduced.
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# 19
mildred1978
Old 05-05-2012, 2:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by girl-in-a-hat View Post
It really depends on what you want from the class. If you want facts, stick with the NHS. I don't know whether all NCT classes at the same but bottle feeding was a taboo subject at ours. One dad-to-be asked about bottle feeding if breast feeding wasn't working out - the tutor looked at his as though he had 2 heads. We very briefly covered complications but most of the time was spent practising visualisations and breathing, neither of which were at all helpful to me when I ended up in theatre having an emergency forceps delivery.

If I'm perfectly honest, I felt an absolute failure because I didn't have the 'gold standard' gas and air fuelled water birth the NCT bang on about. I also had to quit breast feeding after a couple of weeks due to severe anaemia and other complications - our classes never accounted for this so another 'fail' for me... and some of the other Mum's.

I suppose the only reason we registered for classes was to meet people, and I did, but boy what an expensive way to be introduced.
I had planned a water birth, but couldn't due to being induced. I didn't need anything other than gas and air and breathing/hypnobirthing techniques to get through most of my labour, but physiological issues meant I ended up with an emergency forceps delivery. My new NCt chums (and our tutor) were nothing but positive regardless of birth experience/choices, and similarly with feeding choices.
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# 20
jackyann
Old 05-05-2012, 2:38 PM
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I've been a midwife & health visitor, NCT member for 40+ years, now grandmother.

It isn't just the NHS who do free ante-natal classes. You local Children's Centre or Sure-Start (names vary!) may do some (ditto breast feeding support). They, like the NHS ones, vary from excellent to poor to non-existent.
NCT are normally high quality.
It is definitely worth attending ante-natal classes for all the reasons given above. Google your local area; there are independent midwives & teachers who do private ante-natal classes - mostly you won't get the friendship circle that comes from local community / NCT classes (I am still in touch with mine as we become grannies!) but you may not feel the need for that.
So - research what is available, but do make sure you attend something. I offered NCT classes as a gift to the new parents when my first grandchild was expected - I felt so strongly that classes were a necessity. However, they had an excellent course at the local Children's Centre, and a satisfactory single class from the local midwife, so it wasn't necessary.
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