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What do you think about Kirstie Allsopp's view on NCT Classes?

(71 Posts)
LaurenCaddy Fri 04-Jan-13 19:11:04

So Kirstie Allsopp (Kirstie's Vintage Home ect) has slated NCT classes.

The NCT - despite being a rite of passage for middle-class parents to be - does not prepare women sufficiently for the possibility of birth complications, she has claimed after she had to have 2 cesareans not by choice. She said she was made to feel like a failure for them not being natural.

She described its classes as "politicised”, “dogmatic” and “scary”.

I have booked some NCT, and my first is on January 19th, and i too have been warned about the stereotyping to younger mums/couples.

Me and my partner are 21, and if someone was too look down upon me, and talk to me like a child, my mouth may get the better of me.

Your thoughts/opinions?

Full statement: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/mother-tongue/9780932/Were-to-blame-not-the-National-Childbirth-Trust.html

It's a big myth that C-sections are not covered in NCT classes. I think many women who are totally set on a v v natural birth don't actually pay attention in this class as they are convinced it won't be relevant to them. Then when they end up with an EMCS they bitch unreasonably about the NCT.

KenDoddsDadsDog Sat 05-Jan-13 11:22:33

Like everything some leaders are good and some aren't. There are a lot of good experiences and some terrible ones on her twitter feed. Same as pregnancy and childbirth!

lotsofcheese Sat 05-Jan-13 13:35:24

It seems such a shame that there seems to be such variation in people's experiences.

I would have thought that a national organisation would have some kind of standardisation of advice/teaching & perhaps some aspect of "quality control".

I'm swithering about NCT classes 2nd time round, as it's a high risk pregnancy for me & I've been told I'll be having a section by my consultant - so I'm not sure if I'll "fit in". But I've heard so many good stories of friendships & support.

Better make my mind up soon!!!

BlingLoving Sat 05-Jan-13 13:44:37

It definitely does depend on the teacher but our wasa good about explaining other things, while simultaneously implying that candles and soft music were all we really needed! One friend from the class took candles and music, including specific pushing music and nearly tore her stitches laughing at how ridiculous the idea was after. smile But it is a good way to force you (and even more so, dh) to think about stuff. There's no doubt dh would have gone with me to the hospital without having read a single thing so nct at least gave him a way to get info easily. And our teacher was also very good about emphasising how important the birth partner is not just for back rubs and water but also as the person interceding on your behalf.

I think you get a certain type of people who will do the NCTM course. I don't find they are preachy and against c-sections or bottle feeding. But all the mums there wanted vaginal birth and breastfeeding. But if you fail no one judges you as a failure. I don't know about the c-section but for bf, most mums who failed feels strongly they have failed and hope they could do better next time. (Half of us bf, half ff). I think the reason bottle feeding isn't really covered is that if you do decide to bf it's crucial to get the first few days right. And bf is much more information via word of mouth, while you can find out how to make a bottle from the box, iyswim.

lauraellajane Sat 05-Jan-13 14:14:32

Glad in a way to hear all this negative comment, don't feel like I'm missing out on much now by not being able to afford them! smile

LaurenCaddy Sat 05-Jan-13 14:24:55

I agree with lotsofcheese i'd also thought they'd have some form of routine, or lessons plans to follow of some form then to go off of it depending on the group of parents to be they are helping. There is so much variation. Will let you know how mine go!

reastie Sat 05-Jan-13 14:54:16

I didn't go to NCT classes but I did the NHS ones. I found them also to gloss over csections and go into alot of detail about bfing but nothing at all about bottle feeding.

Natty4 Sat 05-Jan-13 15:05:19

I agree with her. My classes were lead by a really nice lady but they scared the hell out of me during the c section class. It left me with an unrealistic view of child birth as she made out c sections were full of complications and so high risk. However 4 of the 7 couples attending needed c sections and those of us who had natural births were left with a lot more lasting complications than those who had emergency cs.

They also heavily pushed breast feeding. They laid out pictures of babies being breast fed in different positions or in different situations and we were supposed to say how we felt about each picture! I couldn't think of anything to say other than "they are just babies being breast fed" which didn't go down well. Our class leader also told us she was not allowed to give us any information on bottle feeding!

pistachio Sat 05-Jan-13 15:11:41

just to answer the point about standardisation- I am an NCT teacher and we are trained for 3 years as facilitators, which means we are qualified not only to deliver the classes but also to write the course content ourselves. This means we are flexible and ale to respond to the needs of each group. In reality that can be ripping up the session plan on the spot and teaching in a different way, if need be! For example today I am spending the afternoon rewriting the class i will deliver on Monday, in response to feedback from my last group.

And as for quality control, the training itself was intensive and excellent, and I speak as someone with a degree and a masters behind me already. I will be reviewed this year and then every three years subsequently, and must attend at least two full days of training every year as well to keep my registration.

Of course there will be teachers who are not of suitable quality who slip through the net, but the NCT do make it clear that they want to hear about complaints so they can sort it out.

It is somewhat dispiriting to read KA's endless twitter feed when I am passionate about the work, constantly strive to give clients a balanced, informative and fulfilling experience and spend hours of unpaid time making my course the best it can be.

snowmummy Sat 05-Jan-13 15:20:08

I think they're overrated and push an idealistic view of childbirth and feeding.

rainrainandmorerain Sat 05-Jan-13 21:29:53

I never wanted to do a nct course because, for reasons a bit long and complicated for here, I was always heading for a planned cs (which I was happy with and turned out fine). I wouldn't have minded the bf info, tbh, but couldn't just sign up for that one session.

Just 2 things - I'm sure nct groups are good for meeting other mums - but with a new baby, I found SO many ways to meet other new mums after birth. bf groups, library groups, new mum groups - just walking into baby friendly caffs - it was fine.

Second thing - I seem to know a LOT of women who did nct courses, were very pro them, were very upset and disappointed with their births but who continue to be very pro nct, even though most of them seemed to be attending in the hope they would get an intervention free vaginal birth, and certainly didn't get one.

One friend is what I would call typical - late 30s, wanted massage and nice music, ended up with a long labour, lots of pain, lots of intervention and an EMCS - she says now that she thinks until there are 'NCT hospitals' and 'NCT care' across the maternity care system, the nct are effectively preparing women for a birth that is really hard to achieve in the current system.

Does anyone else think that is true? And if so, is that a problem?

LoveYouForeverMyBaby Sat 05-Jan-13 22:28:51

Personally I wasn't keen. Felt no real information, advice or support was given, and by the time all the babies are around 5 months all the competitive parenting starts.

I know a lot of people have made lifelong friends but o me it was useful for about 7-8 months while I got out and about to more baby and toddler groups nd made friends that way.

slightlysoupstainedbabygrows Sun 06-Jan-13 02:04:20

I went to both NHS and NCT. I signed up for NCT so that my partner could attend, as I felt he needed the support of meeting other parents too. (Glad I did, as it was really helpful for him!)

I didn't find the NCT classes preachy at all. Our teacher was very keen to find out what we as a group needed most info about, and responded to that. I'd much rather pay for that than for a rigid, unchangeable curriculum that wouldn't answer what I needed to know.

We covered pain relief and various interventions (inc C sections) pretty well and I found that section informative and helpful. It definitely wasn't all "massage and whale music". I thought she was pretty realistic about stuff tbh.

BikeRunSki Sun 06-Jan-13 19:22:57

My experience was similar to slightly's. My NHS classes were a lot more hippy dippy - the mw who did them is very into hypno birthing.

pistachio Sun 06-Jan-13 21:27:03

rainrainandmorerain you make a really valid point which is about us possibly setting women up for something which is not possible given the current maternity system. And believe me that as NCT teachers we are constantly trying to walk that fine line. So for example, I will cover waterbirth, and the pros, cons, things to consider, impact on levels of pain. And my groups are usually very responsive and positive about wanting to try it. So then i open it up, point out that it is first come first served in hospital, that if you are high risk you will not be allowed in the pool at our local hospital, etc etc. And point out that the way to give yourself the best chance of a pool being free and being able to use it is to have a homebirth. I don;t tell anyone what to do, and i don't push one location over the other- just talk about how physiological birth works then always refer it back to the choices they make and how it all connects together.

It is also the reason I spend about 90 minutes or so covering CS in detail- both the procedure and practicalities, and also using the experiences of other mothers who have been through it and have written about the emotional aspects for me. No matter what is right or wrong, approx 25-30% of my clients will have one, so it is right that they are given as much preparation as possible, IMHO.

Kelbells Mon 07-Jan-13 07:41:57

I went thinking it would be very 'pro' natural labour and mainly hoped to make friends with all of the nitty gritty gained from the NHS. However at the NCT class the first type if labour we discussed was csection as 1:4 women in my pct have one. She was very balanced, realistic about the interventions that might be needed, prepared us to have a wish list but be flexible depending on what happens and not judgemental at all. Of nine mums, 3 if us had 'natural' births with the rest having some sort of intervention and we were all well prepared! As others have said I think it's really pot luck on who you get teaching you - a really, really positive experience here!

MissinBloom Tue 08-Jan-13 17:21:03

I didn't do NCT as my brother told me they were a bit preachy and heavily pushed breastfeeding and he knew I didn't like that kind of thing. Had one NHS antenatal class and it was all NCT literature and so heavy on pushing breastfeeding that at one point I had to say something...it got WAY too much, they tried to tell us that breastfeeding increased your childs IQ....so much bullshit, we asked for the evidence and it was so weak....some Irish study asking parents to rate their child and recall if it was breastfed or not. This, in my opinion, is not helpful. I really wanted to breastfeed, I just didn't want it shoved down my neck and I don't think it's helpful to make women feel bad if they don't want to or even worse can't. Unfortunately for me my Betsy was very poorly and in SCBU the first week of her life and consequently I couldn't anyway. Good for Kirstie, there definitely needs to be some change in the way that the NCT and the NHS are making new mums feel.

Mutley77 Tue 08-Jan-13 20:29:23

Re bottlefeeding - it is against current guidance (or possibly even illegal) to "promote" bottle feeding. Hence it is not discussed in NHS or NCT classes, which I think could be potentially slightly over exaggerating what is meant by promote.

Personally I wish I had been given some basic advice about bottle feeding as it is fairly straightforward but I had planned to exclusively breast feed and was not prepared for the fact I would be told to "top up" for medical reasons and therefore had no bottles, steriliser etc and it was hard to get my head around it all given recovery from a traumatic birth ending in EMCS and being a sleep deprived new mum. I think basic info about sterilising, expressing and preparing feeds is crucial really and something that was ignored in all the classes I went to as we were told "Don't give bottles or worry about expressing in the early days as it may cause nipple confusion and end up causing problems with breastfeeding" - hence I had no idea I might be told I needed to do that!!

LaurenCaddy Tue 08-Jan-13 20:42:51

Embarrassing Confession Time

I made my first bottle a few days ago for my 11 month nephew whom was staying with us.

Now when i'm at work, i'm always warming bottles up for people with hot water. So instantly in my head i assumed i make it with cold water and warm it up in the bottle warmer. I got very very angry when the clumps started forming and going over the amount my sister had told me.

My OH found it hilarious, and was laughing when i was trying to explain. He had to explain its with boiling water then its supposed to cool down, and you warm in up when people take it out with them on the go.

Seems extremely simple now. And i feel like a complete twat and an utter failure.

I also don't get, the different types of teat, slow flow, fast flow, anti colic ect and all the different companies and how the teats differ.

It should be brushed upon!

OhGood Wed 09-Jan-13 15:27:14

In my class, I hated that they did not cover bottlefeeding. I think that's just wrong. My class was also totally pro natural birth and sniffy about all pain relief other than gas and air. Made some totally gorgeous friends though.

Splinters Wed 09-Jan-13 17:56:21

Ours is very balanced, perhaps more accepting of interventions than I would actually like.. The teacher knows the hospital really well so can really help us with what to expect. There are three couples expecting twins in our group, at least one woman who knows she'll have a CS for medical reasons, and whenever we practice breathing exercises etc the teacher points out that they should also be useful for helping CS mums feel less stressed about what's happening.

Purplelooby Wed 09-Jan-13 22:27:58

If you're lucky enough to live in an area that still has Sure Start provision (generally areas with lower average incomes) then you don't really need NCT.

I attened guided birth session, prenatel breastfeeding groups, 'bump' groups and 2 antenatel sessions all for free, some on NHS and some on Sure Start. Many were run by midwives and all were great (not that I used the guided birth or successfully breastfed... but that's a different story!). Oh and a very cheap aquanatel class.

Now I attend lots of Sure Start sessions with my baby and because it's many of the same Mums I've met loads of lovely people. The guided birth was still loopy and unrealistic though grin. How I would love to laugh at my birth plan!

SophieLeGiraffe Wed 09-Jan-13 22:47:53

Our NCT teacher was awful. Flappy, didn't respond to in-class feedback, dogmatic, had a clear agenda and only covered Caesarian sections - with a lot of huffing - when I plucked up the courage in the last session to ask.

In our group two of us ended up with sections and mine was a cat1. I was very glad I asked for the info.

So I do agree with Kirsty as our lady had an agenda she wanted to push and didn't prep us for the reality. We spent one 1.5 hour session randomly massaging each other. The whole session!

I did make some fab friends though - I think we bonded over mutual dislike of the crazy teacher who clearly disliked our entire group because we asked a lot of awkward questions grin.

SophieLeGiraffe Wed 09-Jan-13 22:58:19

And whilst I'm on, it's about time someone told the truth about breast feeding rather than glossing over the harsh reality. It hurts like fuck and you have to give up everything over to being attached to your baby for a few months but then it will be fine. And yes, sensible advice on sterilising, pumping and yes, horror, bottle feeding. No one denies breast isn't the ideal but if you can't or don't want to you need somewhere to go for advice.

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