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Antenatal NCT courses -to do or not to do?

(46 Posts)
marushka82 Fri 22-Feb-13 10:17:36

Hi everyone! I'm currently 18 weeks pregnant with our DC1 and I was wondering whether NCT classes are worth attending.
As far as I know I only have one antenatal Birth Preparation class on NHS (around week 30-36) and I'm worried it's not going to be enough.
I read a few threads here and I think the general consensus is that NCT classes are not only very informative, but also a great way to meet new parents in the area.
I've got two questions:
1. we're going to be moving (not very far from where we are now, but still) - should I wait to book the class after we move (might not be until June, a month or so before my due date) or will it be way too late?
2. I can't seem to find a lot of information out there about the pricing - I think most courses in my area are around 16-18.5 hrs and are priced according to bands which depend on the area - is there any way to find out which band my area (Ealing) is in, or should I just email the course organiser and ask?
Sorry for so many questions, I'm new to this! I'm also a bit of a control freak so I want to do my homework before the baby is here!

TwitchyTail Fri 22-Feb-13 10:26:09

You can get a rough idea of price by multiplying the number of hours by the price band in your area, but definitely email the course coordinator, as our local ones were significantly more expensive than I had calculated...

I gave it a lot of thought but in the end decided not to do it. The NHS classes locally have been great and everything I need, but I appreciate that they can be pot luck (but then so can NCT).

In the end, it came down to not wanting to spend £240 in the hope of making friends, and to learn stuff I could easily access from books, the internet, mumsnet and talking to people who've had children. Although we could "afford" it in that we have the money, it's still a huge amount to spend IMO. And knowing some of the people who have done NCT in our area, lovely as they are, I don't think we would have fitted in socially. I may be technically middle class but find I blend in much better with the NHS demographic grin

But I know plenty of people who swear by it. Maybe ask around people who have been to the local classes and see what they are like? If you are definitely going to move, you could always attend classes in the new area - you don't have to be living there already.

ChunkyPickle Fri 22-Feb-13 10:29:17

I think it depends how confident you are about these things, and how much reading you're doing independantly.

I didn't bother with any classes, and I have a 2.5 year-old who seems to be doing OK.

I know that if you want the classes, you normally have to book as soon as you can as they fill up very quickly.

ChairmanWow Fri 22-Feb-13 10:43:52

I did them for the sake of DH really as I'd been avidly reading up. Also I must admit meeting others was a motivation. I made some good friends there. Two years on most of us are still in touch and it's been great sharing the journey with them. As PP said you can choose to go in a different area.

Re the actual classes, there some useful info but on our course there was a big slant towards natural birth which was a bit unrealistic in terms of not acknowledging that intervention is needed sometimes so take some of it with a pinch of salt. DH did find it helpful though.

If you don't go there are loads of other ways of meeting people. One of the friends I met whilst off was a brilliant networker. She didn't do any classes, just wasn't afraid to go to baby groups, get phone numbers and arrange meets. She made loads of friends. Of course not everyone has her confidence.

Guntie Fri 22-Feb-13 10:48:59

Interesting. I was just thinking the same thing. Not sure I want to pay for the classes just to make friends. I have not heard anyone saying they teach you anything you wouldn't know anyway through reading/research learning on the job!

JambalayaCodfishPie Fri 22-Feb-13 10:52:29

We did them. And loved them.

Check you don't qualify for a discount though - we paid £30 for our course. Bargain. grin

Beatrixpotty Fri 22-Feb-13 10:55:43

I did NCT and the main advantage was social as I had moved to a new area hours away from old friends.It was great to have a group of girls around going through the whole thing with babies exactly the same age,and we really bonded when mat leave started and babies started to be born.Out of 8 in the group I am good friends with 3,3 years on,but have also made other good friends through baby activities,toddler groups etc so although nice was not essential to do NCT.All the birth stuff was a bit irrelevant as DH & I are medical & I had an ELCS anyway but I think if you are a 1st time mum it can be useful.

rabbitfrommars Fri 22-Feb-13 10:55:57

I was actually looking in the Ealing area for a NCT class and once I saw the price decided that there were other things I needed more, I think if you are worried about the birth or have major questions then it's worth looking into. I just felt that the hospital class would be enough for me (though I do worry about not knowing any other new mothers). marushka82 if you're going to be in the ealing area and want to chat, feel free to give me a shout.

ThePavlovianCat Fri 22-Feb-13 11:02:54

We did them and found them useful. DC1 is now 4 months and I still regularly meet up with the other mums I met which is really useful for sharing knowledge on the post-birth stuff about both me and the baby (and comparing what the dads are doing/feeling!) I definitely found there was a slant towards natural birth so push the co-ordinator to discuss epidurals, inductions and caesareans as it's likely a few people in your group will go through them.

If you look on the website it will recommend courses based on your due-date. Don't leave it too close to your due date or you may miss part (or all) of the course if you have your baby early.

There are also loads of other ways to meet new mums before and after the birth. Check out any bump and baby groups happening near you, swimming classes, sensory classes, baby massage, breast-feeding drop-ins, local libraries do stories for babies - really there is a lot of support etc out there!

DachsandPup Fri 22-Feb-13 11:07:32

NCT is fab for meeting people. I'd recommend if you know where you want to be moving to, do the class in the new area not the old area. Our babies are 10 months old now and we still see each other at least once a week and sometimes go out for girls' nights out leaving the babies with their daddies...

There are other places to meet mums, but the NCT group is our core social group.

mrsmellow Fri 22-Feb-13 11:12:19

I'm just trying to decide this too -the classes where I am are £340 - which is a hell of a lot to pay just to make friends....which is the motivation for doing them for me as we've just moved here. I can't decide what to do!

marushka82 Fri 22-Feb-13 13:36:40

Wow, thanks for all your opinions everyone!
I will wait for a reply from the coordinator in my area re: prices and maybe email a coordinator from our new/desired neighbourhood and then discuss it with DH (although he might need a bit of convincing as he thinks it will all just work out and we'll be fine grin)
I have to say I'm a bit overwhelmed with everything that seems to be happening out there for mums and babies, especially everything that ThePavlovianCat mentioned! I hope I'll slowly get my head around all of it! :D

rabbitfrommars I don't know anyone in Ealing who's got kids (actually none of my London based friends do!) so I might just take you up on your offer! thanks! thanks We're planning to move around Hanwell/West Ealing/Northfields around May/June as we need a bigger place and rents there seem a bit cheaper than around Ealing Broadway!

OneLittleToddleTerror Fri 22-Feb-13 13:39:42

To you question 1, you could just enrol in the classes in the area you will move to. In my NCT class, one of the mums were trying to move to our area, but it's fairly close in distance. In the end, they didn't manage to sell and move until well after the little ones are born!

OneLittleToddleTerror Fri 22-Feb-13 13:41:25

Oh and my main motivation is to get my DH to the classes grin. The NHS ones in my area doesn't really cater for the dads.

We chose not to spend the money on something you can get for free, our nhs class had about 8-10 couples so all the dads went too and met a very close friend there, ill admit I was abit worried what would the type of couples be ill be honest it is a chavey area but wasn't the case at all and I'm glad I didn't let that put me off, I don't see why it's necessary to pay over £200 to meet friends when you will meet the same amount of couples at the nhs one, if its for extra knowledge or they do more specific talks on things that's different but if its a case if learning the basics and meeting people at the same stage of pregnancy then you will get that for free, if you don't meet anyone there or feel you'd like more I think nct so after birth ones aswell but agree you will also meet alot through groups etc once you little one arrives

Quilty Fri 22-Feb-13 15:10:04

I've read a bit about NCT classes on these forums and I get the impression that some of the instructors are a bit too preachy and the groups can often become very cliquey so I'm not prepared to spend all that money for something that potentially annoy the hell out of me!
I plan to go to some baby and toddler groups once baby is a few months old which seems as good a way as any to meet other mums and have a chat and would be a lot cheaper or even free!

kalidasa Fri 22-Feb-13 15:23:16

We coughed up for the NCT. To be honest it was a bit of a waste of time in terms of info - if you've read a couple of books and a few threads on here you'll know everything they tell you and more - but I think it was just about worth it for the coffee meetings, especially in the first few weeks/months after the baby is born when you're sleepless and overwhelmed, and the baby is probably a bit too small for most groups and activities.

I also found the actual classes really depressing because I had a truly awful pregnancy and seeing other women looking so much healthier and happier was hard to take. I felt like a bit of a freak! We were also a bit younger than most of the other couples, a bit different demographically (the others were all doing similar sorts of jobs) and all the others were married. In London I think there are so many groups that they end up drawing from a v. small so probably quite homogenous area, though the plus side of that is that we all live really close to each other which is great in the early days when you are nervous about long trips/tackling the bus or whatever.

Thundercatz Fri 22-Feb-13 15:37:36

Hi marushka I'm in Ealing and due in July too with first baby. We've gone for NCT classes in June, largely because we feel a bit clueless and also don't know others locally! I believe the cost was £365 for ours though you can pay by DD - I understand they get booked up quite early but may be wrong. I'm in west Ealing but am doing classes near Ealing common/acton as those dates suited us best. smile

marushka82 Fri 22-Feb-13 17:49:20

Thundercatz Congratulations! Which hospital are you going to be in? I chose Queen Charlotte (mainly based on reviews on the NHS website).
Wow, £365 is very expensive, definitely something we'd need to think about, unless we manage to find something cheaper!
We're thinking of moving to West Ealing in a few months, it seems really nice there (though most of Ealing is pretty awesome as an area I think).
Good luck with everything; give me a shout if you wanted to meet up for a coffee one weekend - would be cool to meet someone who's not only in the same area but also the same stage of pregnancy smile

Ipp3 Fri 22-Feb-13 17:58:06

You get more chance to talk about issues at nct, but is hit and miss and depends on facilitator as to the quality. Our nhs antenatal breast feeding midwife was much better than the nct one, for example. We went to the nct class as my husband could not make nhs classes as they were when he was at work.

GreatSoprendo Fri 22-Feb-13 18:21:16

I would really recommend them but think its probably really dependent on the quality and attitude of the individual teacher. We have our final class next week. It's cost about £150 for 16 hours spread over 4 sessions (in the Midlands). I've picked up plenty of things I didn't get from reading loads of books and definitely wouldn't have got to have a go at practical stuff from a book - such as holding, bathing, nappy changing, dressing etc ( ok all fine with a doll at NCT but its been very helpful). Nice small group with just 5 couples too. I agree lots of people have had less good experiences so it can be a bit of a lottery, but we've been very pleased and feel a lot more confident as we hit our 6 week countdown!

Thundercatz Fri 22-Feb-13 18:30:34

Thanks and congrats to you too! We love it here too and west Ealing post code gets you more for your money but we are still only a ten min walk to Ealing broadway! I'm also at queen Charlotte - so far so good!
Absolutely coffee would be great and happy to chat bumps and houses! If you were born in 1982 then we have even more in common!

chickydoo Fri 22-Feb-13 18:49:02

I met my best friend doing NCT classes...that was 17 years ago smile

marushka82 Fri 22-Feb-13 22:29:30

Thundercatz haha, yes, born in 1982! :D I'll PM you soon ok?

Thundercatz Fri 22-Feb-13 23:04:45

Sure! smile

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