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Do you really need antenatal classes?

(32 Posts)
AlteredCarbon Fri 22-Aug-14 20:04:07

Hi everyone, I was just looking for some advice/experiences really as I'm currently 19+5 in my first pregnancy and was wondering if antenatal classes are essential?
I was looking at the NCT courses but they are miles away from home (I live in rural Lincolnshire) and quite expensive. Are they invaluable experiences or a waste of time?

ThursdayLast Fri 22-Aug-14 20:08:16

I just did the free NHS ones. Was enough for me, but lots of people enjoy meeting people through them.

I can't comment on the content I'm afraid

MulberryPeony Fri 22-Aug-14 20:09:31

I didn't and don't feel like I missed out.

AlpacaMyBags Fri 22-Aug-14 20:13:39

I didn't, I just did a breastfeeding workshop. How strongly do you feel you want to build a network of new mum friends? I think that's what they're most useful for.

EdithWeston Fri 22-Aug-14 20:13:51

Being well informed abouthe processes of labour and the options for delivery has been consistently shown to be positive (in terms of birth experience and outcome). But I don't think that needs to be via a particular (and for you inconvenient) class.

What's available on NHS where you are?

LadyLuck81 Fri 22-Aug-14 20:14:40

I did the NHS ones too as it didn't want to pay for the NCT. I felt I hot enough out of them. I'm not bothering 2nd time around.

I didn't. Don't think I missed out at all smile

micah Fri 22-Aug-14 20:20:29

I did the NHS ones too.

I think it depends what sort of person you are. I have a medical background and my nature is to look everything up and do my research. so I was very well informed by the time I got to the class, so it wasn't anything I didn't know already.

There were people there who were clueless though- didn't know what a perineum was for one. And a few who were a little knowledge is a dangerous thing- one couple weren't going to breastfeed because they'd read pollution in the city environment lead to harmful toxins in breast milk.

Online resources like Kellymom and parenting forums helped me more along the way...

minipie Fri 22-Aug-14 20:23:06

IMO the main/only reason to do NCT is to meet a group of local women having babies at the same time, to hand out with on maternity leave and swap tips/whinges. I did find it very helpful to have that group however I reckon that there must be cheaper ways to do it. also if your NCT classes are miles away then the group won't be that local anyway.

my GP surgery runs parenting classes for parents of newborns and I know local mums who've made friends that way - you could see if yours does the same? Or ask your hospital about the NHs courses they run?

Or post a message on mumsnet, or another Internet forum, asking if there are people due around the same time and place who fancy swapping email addresses?

Or go to bfing cafés or a baby massage course or something and ruthlessly approach people for chats.

or of course you may be much more self sufficient than me and not NEED that company!

sunnyrosegarden Fri 22-Aug-14 20:23:44

I did the NHS classes. Pretty pointless so far as content was concerned, but I did make some great friends.

Tangoandcreditcards Fri 22-Aug-14 20:24:14

I'm absolutely amazed that other people got free ante natal classes. Nothing at my hosp and the GP referred me to NCT. Wasn't prepared to pay ££s so I ended up doing a 3h "workshop" (at hosp, cost £20) but gave me nothing I hadn't already got from the NHS website.

Not necessary in my opinion.

Disclaimer: I had a v straightforward delivery and didn't breastfeed. I think if there are any underlying health conditions or you want to BF there is some merit to them.

HollyBen Fri 22-Aug-14 20:31:25

I did NCT and wasn't overly impressed. Perhaps it was my expectations but I'd rather have spend some time on what to do after birth rather than weeks and weeks of what to expect during labour. The one thing I wish I had know (the possibility of being violently sick) was not mentioned. Saying that I met some lovely people and it was great to have them on mat leave at the same time. I am pg with DC2 and have told midwife I want to do the nhs classes this time as I am unlikely to have any friends around during the days this time.

lisaloulou84 Fri 22-Aug-14 20:38:08

I went to the free NHS classes and the breastfeeding workshop and I can honestly say I didn't learn a thing! There was also no swapping of numbers so I don't know any other mothers from them either.
Everything I learnt was from a very simple book I read and tips from mothers at work. And I actually think I learned a fair bit from One Born Every Minute! smile

I felt pretty well prepared for the birth and was lucky it was straightforward with just G&A. But there's two things I wish I'd known - I felt I should have read about that I did was more about sleep. I didn't know how to spot an overtired baby or that you have to teach them to settle themselves. I also wish I'd know how quickly and regularly you have to feed the baby as soon as they are born - for me lack of info here and support from midwives on post natal ended up with my Ds in special care for 2 days as his heart rate, blood sugar etc all dropped because he was struggling to feed and hadn't had enough.

Basically I think ante natal classes teach you really basic things and if you do some reading you probably won't miss out.

Bluestocking Fri 22-Aug-14 20:40:13

I did the NHS ones at the hospital - I think there were three classes. The most useful bit was seeing the delivery rooms and the midwife- led birthing suite. I managed to come away from the course still not knowing that you had to actively push the baby out though - maybe I blacked out for that bit!

RetroHippy Fri 22-Aug-14 20:41:24

I am also a bit of a glutton for research so I'm pretty clued up. Can I ask how useful your Partners found the classes? I'd only bother with something DH could come too to help him feel part of it. He's not a reader and I can see him glazing over when I tell him stuff, he definitely needs visual stuff and a reason to for e.g. practice breathing techniques.

I'm going to start pregnancy yoga classes soon, I'm wondering if some sort of class linked to that might be more useful?

ColdTeaAgain Fri 22-Aug-14 20:44:07

Didn't do NHS or NCT classes, however I did a hypnobirthing course to prepare for homebirth. Obviously very focused on natural birth and we learnt a lot about the birthing process and how to avoid interventions by preparing in the weeks leading up to your due date and then through the whole birthing process.

kittyvet Fri 22-Aug-14 20:52:33

Can't make my NCT dates so have just done NHS. Not learnt anything I hadn't already read in books and in web. My husband got more out of it cos he hasn't read that much. Haven't met anyone through those classes but in touch with lovely set of mums to be at my pregnancy yoga class so that's the way to make friends IMO.

AlteredCarbon Fri 22-Aug-14 20:57:59

Thanks everyone, I thought they might not be worth it and this just confirms it. I'll see what the NHS offers in my area (although I can't seem to find anything) but otherwise I'll just rely on reading up.
As for meeting other people I'm usually a little anti-social but realise I will probably have to get over that if I'm not going to go insane on maternity leave so will look at opportunities to meet people in the local villages.

Thanks!

crazykat Fri 22-Aug-14 21:00:10

I've had four DCs and never been to an ante-natal class. I didn't know about free NHS ones and NCT ones were far too expensive for me.

Solasum Fri 22-Aug-14 21:03:32

I think it really depends on what groups are available postbirth. I did NHS antenatal which was very antisocial, but luckily there are multiple baby groups in my area, without which I would have gone a bit mad.

squizita Fri 22-Aug-14 21:06:38

Have done NHS 1 day workshop and the basic NCT course. The content was pretty much the same though the NCT course allowed a little more time. Both covered birth (including c section and pain relief, the biological nuts and bolts, what to bring, what to expect in terms of timings and sensations, potential complications and the pros and cons of various interventions) and post birth things like sleep safety, breast and bottle feeding, nappies, hygiene and the NHS one had a serious slot about PND and crying babies (how to stay calm).
I was quite surprised the NHS one was more stereotypically NCT (i.e. very pro natural, BFing only) than the NCT!

I have also done yoga with elements of hypno and relaxation. Interested by the PP who mentions being taught things to 'avoid' intervention: we were gently and firmly told this was not what alternative birth preparations could promise in any way shape or form. Having said that they've given an explanation and support in much more depth about positions and movements during labour which many women find helpful (as opposed to showing us a postcard for each!).

Apart from that I've used MN and the NHS/NCT website, also Lesley Regan's and Juju Sundan's books about birth and labour. I've basically spoken to people with babies re advice too.

I'm lucky because friends/colleagues have had babies this year so I don't feel i must meet new people or I will be the lone mum. But if that weren't the case I would have used many of the meet ups and clubs to find out where to meet other parents for sure.

Jessie5 Fri 22-Aug-14 21:07:43

I'm due to finish my nct classes next week, they were expensive but I have found them really useful. My husband has enjoyed them too and it's been nice to learn things together. It's been good to meet people who are due At the same time as me and the ongoing social side of things sounds good too.

mommathatwearspink Fri 22-Aug-14 21:09:33

I did the NCT antenatal course. It was really great to meet other couples in the same situation and we all meet up most weeks whilst we are on maternity leave. As for the content, it was too focused of the labour and not enough on after your baby has arrived. I didn't learn anything to be honest but I would definitely recommend it to meet others.

hollie84 Fri 22-Aug-14 21:09:51

I did one NHS one, but it didn't really teach me anything I hadn't read about.

I think the point of paying all the cash for NCT is to make naice middle class friends grin

MaryWestmacott Fri 22-Aug-14 21:25:51

If you live in an isolated place, you might benefit from knowing other mums due at the same time. Also the ones in my class were woman who I don't think I'd have met otherwise, 2 lived in villages near to me but we wouldn't have gone to the same toddler groups etc - nearly 5 years on, 4 of the orginal group meet up every couple of weeks, it's going to be harder after September when they are all at school, but we might just do meet ups with the younger ones as we've all had a DC2 now.

As for the actual information in the class, I don't think I needed the antenatal classes for me as I did just read up before hand, I think DH got far more out of it than I did. I'm a 'planner' and like to have information, so had been reading everything about pregnancy, birth, breast feeding, early days with a newborn etc since getting the 2 lines, so by the time I got to the classes, I sort of knew it all already, but DH hadn't and he really benefited.

NHS ones might be just as good for you,although they tend to be at silly middle of the day times, and yes, you can have time off work to go to them, if you live rurally, it could end up being a whole day out and just not practical. It might be worth seeing if there are any independent run classes near you or if the NCT do intensive weekend courses (which are cheaper and a lot less time commitment needed)

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