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to think NCT antenatal courses are pretty much a load of crap???!

(661 Posts)
Gateau Wed 30-Jul-08 09:12:48

What a waste of money. Yes, you meet some good friends from it, but IMO that's one of the only positives.
They draw over about six weeks what could be said in one or two classes. All the members of our course said that.
The course is almost all about the woman's 'birth experience' which I found just makes women obsess about the birth itself. So many women I knew were "disappointed" with the birth, when surely it's not all about teh birth, but more about the wonderful reward you get at the end?And they barely touch on having a C-section - which is what I had.
And there's all this rubbish about "challenging" the medical staff when they suggest you have a C-section- with what energy, after 14 hours in labour? And when they say either have a c-section or risk endangering you and the baby, what choice is there?
our NCT teacher asked me to do a talk to her new group post-baby - or rather I was the only one who said I would. She very much disliked that fact that I was telling them I bottle-fed (because we are breaking the breastfeeding law, of course)and that I DIDN'T advocate sitting around the house in pjs after the baby was born - it doesn't suit everyone's state of mind. The NCT IMO is dogmatic.
I think the NCT course would be much more productive if it focused a little more on the early parenting side of things - that's where me and most of my NCT friends could have done with the advice!!

Thisismynewname Wed 30-Jul-08 09:16:57

This will kick off, but I have to say, I agree with you.

Complete waste of money - I didn't pay the extra £40 to join the NCT because I thought the £140 sum was fairly princely in itself.

I ended up with a breech then a c-section and had to email the teacher to find out about sections and b/feeding after a section because we hadn't covered them but at all.

DH said the same thing - that he felt he got nothing out of it and that the early parenting bit was all he wanted to do and we covered nothing.

Disclaimer - I appreciate that the NCT as a charity has done a lot of vital campaigning, and I'm not knocking the NCT as a whole - just the antenatal courses.

lulumama Wed 30-Jul-08 09:17:16

YABU as i know some marvellous teachers!

BUT you are well within your rights to judge your particular teacher and course, and if you feel it was not good value, then feed that back to the teacher... i have heard the issue about not touching on c.section quite frequently, and perhaps that is something that could be addressed...

NCT do seperate post natal classes so early parenting not touched on in the birth classes

am sorry you found it so poor

mumblechum Wed 30-Jul-08 09:19:15

Agree about the classes. They pretty much tell you that you should have a natural, drug free birth and it's all going to be wine and roses. The reality for me was an undiagnosed breech, section, ds1 severely brain damaged.

The good side though was that I made lots of friends and we all stuck together for a couple of years, having coffee at each others houses, going for meals etc

Gateau Wed 30-Jul-08 09:20:00

Yes, I need to make it clear that I am NOT critising the NCT a a whole, just the antenatal courses.
And yes, lulu, I did air my views to my teacher - but never heard anything back.

cthea Wed 30-Jul-08 09:20:10

There's the NCT postnatal courses too (Early Days) where you get a chance to talk about being a new parent.

Congratulations for your baby.

lulumama Wed 30-Jul-08 09:21:12

that is a shame gateau. sorry you had a crapola experience . and rude of teacher not to get back to you

i have some issues with NCT, but i think a lot of it comes down to personality of the teacher too...

Thisismynewname Wed 30-Jul-08 09:21:35

Oh - we were told that the only circumstances under which it was acceptable to have an epidural were if you had been in back to back labour for over 20 hours.

I know there are risks (esp of more intervention) with epidurals but I don't think the teacher should be telling you the circumstances under which it is deemed "acceptable" to have one.

ILikeToMoveItMoveIt Wed 30-Jul-08 09:22:34

You went to an antenatal class, if you want the focus to be different you should go to a post-natal class.

Whilst her opinion may have seemed a bit off with regards to the bottle feeding, it is the NCT's policy that they don't cover bottle feeding.

Challenging the medical staff is not rubbish. Yes it's difficult when you're in distress/pain, but you always have an opinion and options and people need to be made aware of this.

Did you have a questionaire to fill in after your antenatal course? If so, did you express your opinions on it?

Bubble99 Wed 30-Jul-08 09:23:56

My SIL was 'sacked' by her private consultant after she 'challenged' him and refused a CS. He was shock and told my BIL that he had never had to do this in 30 years of practice.

She was NCT obsessed during her PG and, in the end, needed an emergency CS with a different consultant.

cthea Wed 30-Jul-08 09:24:56

"it is the NCT's policy that they don't cover bottle feeding."

Not really sure this is the case. I don't think there's a list of things that teachers are "allowed" or not to cover during AN classes.

MrsTittleMouse Wed 30-Jul-08 09:25:14

I've not done any NCT antenatal classes, but I have to say that I found NHS ones to be pretty similar. There was very little about the stuff that goes wrong - and considering that this was a class of first timers, let's fact it, there's a pretty good chance of not having the natural birth that you'd like.
Almost everything that was discussed about stuff going wrong was because I had asked lots of questions. Even the regular stuff was glossed over. I can remember that they told us about the first stage in great detail, then told us that there would be transition and then swiftly onto the second stage in great detail. I asked how long transition would go on for, thinking that it would be 1 or 2 contractions and was shock to be told that it was anything up to an hour!
I suppose that at least we didn't have to pay extra though - NCT classes can cost a lot.

Quattrocento Wed 30-Jul-08 09:25:37

I got nothing whatsoever out of NCT. I'm sure that other parents must get something else it wouldn't survive.

What I needed was some information on what you do with babies - how to bath, dress, feed etc.

The stuff on birth was just ABSURD - the reality of giving birth in an NHS hospital is pretty sordid and it would have helped if they'd been more realistic. Our sessions focussed on natural (???) methods of pain relief - whale music and peppermint foot oil and all that baloney. The NCT seems to have no experience of the lack of availability of delivery rooms and of being shunted into a public ward until 10 cm dilated. It doesn't deal with reality at all.

poshtottie Wed 30-Jul-08 09:25:59

I went to a nct bf class. There was only dh and I and another couple. It was ok but she didn't touch on any problems that can be associated with it. And when I asked about expressing she said why would I want to! hmm

Gateau Wed 30-Jul-08 09:26:01

No., she most definately should not. Pain relief is up to the individual. I had an epidural and just wondered why so many more women don't???!
The lack of pain relief during labour seems like a bit of a 'macho' thing, tbh.
I thought it was strange when I got a lot birth announcement texts which said, "two hour labour - gas and air only" or "no pain relief"
And emmmm - wot about the baby??!
Not good.

auntyspan Wed 30-Jul-08 09:27:07

I made some fantastic friends at mine but the OP is right, I wish they had put more emphasis on the "early days" rather than concentrating on the birth. I felt very well prepared for my labour etc but then when I got home I had this baby and had no idea what to do!!

furrycat Wed 30-Jul-08 09:27:14

I thought my classes were pretty good on the whole but the teacher was clearly out of date. I thought there was nothing between gas and air and an epidural but the hospital offered me pethidine. I didn't know about the drawbacks (sleepy baby who wasn't interested in feeding) because of it.

The teacher also told us that if you arrived at the hospital in labour you could park in an ambulance space and give your keys to the receptionist to park your car while your partner helped you to the maternity ward. Can you imagine the look my husband got when he tried that one?

Gateau Wed 30-Jul-08 09:29:45

yes, Ilike to move it, I did fill in the questionnaire, expressing my opinions.
And what is the point in going to a postnatal class about looking after the baby when you need to know certain things from when that baby is first placed in your arms???! Adn there is scarcely time in those first days to have a shower, never mind attend a course.
Yeah, right.

Thisismynewname Wed 30-Jul-08 09:30:14

We were promised we would do the early days stuff as we asked for it when she set the agenda at the beginning of the course.

It consisted of sending the men off on their own to bath a plastic doll. That was it. The teacher never told us about post-natal courses, just that she would cover early days stuff with us, then didn't.

OrmIrian Wed 30-Jul-08 09:31:20

I found some really good friends at my bog standard NHS classes. It was just like a friendly little club for pregnant people.

overthemill Wed 30-Jul-08 09:31:27

you know i agree. i went to one with my dd (obv in my tummy) and it was a hard sell earth mother thing really. i had been told by my consultant taht i would need a caesarian as i was placenta previa and the nct woman gave me such a hard time. i was with my first child at age 40 and really ill throughout and desperate to have a healthy baby but got nothing but guilt.

eventually gave birth naturaly (well hooked up to machines with baby being taken away to machines and resussed!) at 36 weeks.

i also got put in with a set of women who had nothing in common with me (I am a socialist/social care background and love film, books, theatre, walks normal kind of stuff) all of whom lived at least 10 miles from me and really didnt bond at all. we tried but it didnt work.

later on i met a lovely set of nct women in my actual village who i love, still meet up with and have complete love and tust for.
so go along, take what you need and socialise but dont take the crap

btw a completely different nct woman gave me lovely bf advice when i needed it as she'd had a tiny baby too and understood.

Anna8888 Wed 30-Jul-08 09:33:10

I did NHS ante (and post) natal classes with the team of community MWs who were in close liaison with the MWs at the NHS hospital I gave birth at - one of the MWs who gave part of one of the three antenatal classes was the MW who welcomed me onto the ward after giving birth, and I was taken around the hospital I gave birth in two months before my due date by the MW who was with me for the first part of my labour.

If I had done NCT rather than NHS classes, I wouldn't have met "my" MWs in advance. So NHS classes frankly seem to me a much better bet in preparing women for the reality of an NHS birth.

In all other respects, I'm sure the NHS and NCT classes are quite similar - gloss over the biology of labour, pain relief etc, demo of bathing a baby, logistics of living life after birth. And meeting all those Mummies and Daddies to be.

traceybath Wed 30-Jul-08 09:36:33

Mine were very good - lovely teacher.

We did a role play of a c-section in one class which was fab as when i ended up having my emergency one i had a good idea of what was happening and wasn't shocked by how many people were in the room.

BF obviously emphasised but our teacher again very pragmatic about bottlefeeding.

overthemill Wed 30-Jul-08 09:36:35

should add that i thought afterwards about doing their training to be an antenatal teacher as they are really short of them and i did think they should have someone more sensible/realistic doing them. but they were too expensiv for me to do

MummyDoIt Wed 30-Jul-08 09:38:35

Those of you who are saying that it is NCT policy not to support bottle-feeding are not correct. If you're hosting an NCT event, even a coffee morning, the guidelines clearly state you must offer facilities for bottle-feeding as well as breastfeeding and that all parents are to be made equally welcome, no matter how they choose to feed their baby. The heavy emphasis on breastfeeding is because generally society is less supportive of breastfeeding mums. I've never heard of a bottle-feeding mum being asked to leave a restaurant or feed her baby in the toilet.

Having said that, as an enthusiastic member of the NCT for five years and an ex-committee member and volunteer, I have to agree that the classes are very overpriced and not worth the money. Do the NHS ones and just go to the NCT coffee mornings to make friends (you don't even have to be a member to do that so it won't cost you anything). Just as well I resigned my membership earlier this year otherwise I'd be kicked out for saying that all that!

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