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To think the midwife shouldn't make DH feel unwelcome at NHS Parentcraft Classes?

(43 Posts)
YanknCock Thu 04-Jun-09 16:21:50

I told the midwife several weeks ago that DH and I were going to attend NCT antenatal classes. Basically she slagged them off saying 'they'll make you feel really bad about yourself if you don't give birth on just a puff of gas and air' and 'you should come to NHS Parentcraft Classes instead, because it will be tailored to the X hospital and not just general information like NCT gives'. Have ignored her and booked the NCT classes anyway, as we are happy to go to both (it's our first and we want as much information as possible).

So yesterday at my 28 week appointment I asked about Parentcraft classes and got on the list for four sessions in July. They are in the middle of the day during the week, and I turned to DH and said 'that shouldn't be a problem for you right?' as his work is very flexible. Midwife made this sort of disapproving sound and said 'Now I'm not trying to put you off or anything, and partners are welcome, BUT we do worry the group may not "gel" if there's a partner there, or you two might just focus on each other, so why don't you just plan on the first one and we'll see how it goes?'

I can't quite get the tone of it in writing, but DH and I both agreed after that despite what was actually said, she DID NOT want him there at all and was doing her best to let him know.

So am I being completely looney to think that my husband, birth partner, and new father-to-be should be welcomed with open arms to something like this? Is it unrealistic to think that it doesn't matter how I 'gel' with complete strangers, that I'm there for information that a birth partner/new father would need as well?

Did other partners attend NHS parentcraft classes, or did you go by yourself?

Tamarto Thu 04-Jun-09 16:24:19

I didn't bother with them.

She is out of order, but she may have been trying to point out that not many Ps go to that particular class so he may be uncomfortable <clutching at straws>

Tamarto Thu 04-Jun-09 16:24:40

feel not be.

ChocolateRabbit Thu 04-Jun-09 16:25:47

Your MW sounds like a loon. My DH came to the NHS antenatal day with our first as did every other prospective father.

Also, the class was actually at least as much for DH as me (if not more) because it covered things like signs of labour, where to park at the hospital, useful things DHs can do while you're in labour and what you need to bring with you.

katiestar Thu 04-Jun-09 16:27:59

In our area you could choose whether you wanted to go to a couples class or a mums-only class.

AppleAndBlackberry Thu 04-Jun-09 16:29:15

A bit off topic but we haven't had that experience at all with our NCT classes - our course teacher basically said it's best to be flexible about pain relief as you won't know what you want until you get there and every labour is different. She also knows a lot about the local hospital as they work really closely together, but it may be different for different areas.

meemar Thu 04-Jun-09 16:32:06

She is being ridiculous. The classes are not about getting a group to 'gel', they are about learning what to expect in labour and childbirth. If you and your DH want him to be there, then he should.

I also hate that they are now called 'parentcraft' classes. It makes them sound like you are going to be knitting and making cards grin. What's wrong with antenatal?

puddock Thu 04-Jun-09 16:35:17

I did both, NCT and NHS birth preparation classes. The NCT ones were great, both for meeting other parents-to-be and for all sorts of education and preparation for us both - and my sister came along to the labour one too, as she was deputy birth partner! And they weren't at all didactic about pain relief, our group had a wide range of labour experiences.
NHS Parentcraft ones... well, meh. Kind of useful for hospital-specific information, but otherwise a waste of time for us. DP did come and wasn't made unwelcome, but many of the pregnant women there were either alone or accompanied by their (in one case extrememly gobby) mums!

crokky Thu 04-Jun-09 16:35:23

There were no NHS classes available in my area. We went to the NCT classes (me and DH) and met some really nice people - would still meet up with them had we not moved 150 miles!

If your NHS classes are in working hours, I would have thought most men would have a problem getting the time off. My friend went to NHS classes (in working hours) and it was mostly just the women who attended. If you just want information from the class - take DH as well if he wants to go. If you want to make friends (like other mums to meet up with after the babies are born etc) I would go alone.

LovelyTinOfSpam Thu 04-Jun-09 16:48:37

We had the choice of women only or couples NHS classes, DH and I did the couples one.

And for extra PFB overkill we did the NCT as well!!

Personally I found the NHS ones very helpful.

ABetaDad Thu 04-Jun-09 17:04:43

I really wish I had gone to the NHS classes with DW.

The midwives for DS1 and DS2 tried to stick me in the corner and keep me quiet when it got to the actual birth - but luckily I can be very persistant and annoying. Most men I am sure are nervous to say too much.

YanknCock - you need a strong birth partner to stick up for you in a busy maternity suite. Make sure DH knows he is allowed to demand whatever you ask for and tell him not to be put off or bullied.

I got the distinct impression that our NHS midwives would rather not have had me there. I was not interfering with their work but did pick up on them when they disappeared for an hour in the middle of the night (DS1) and refused to give DW an epidural she asked for one (DS2).

traceybath Thu 04-Jun-09 17:10:04

Well unless he'll be the only partner there she was unreasonable.

But i'd have thought if he's going to NCT and your ante-natal appointments (or was that a one-off?) then to go to the nhs classes is perhaps a little overkill.

We did nct classes and they were good but i also did pregnancy yoga and read all the books/magazines etc with my 1st.

Now of course with my 3rd pregnancy i hardly know what week i am blush

ABetaDad Thu 04-Jun-09 17:12:01

YanknCock - I forgot to add: YANBU

MrsMattie Thu 04-Jun-09 17:12:22

Everyone except for a single mother brought their partners to our NHS classes. MW is a fruit loop. I'd duck out and just stick with the NCT. Any questions you have about the hospital, you can ask over the phone.

CherryChoc Thu 04-Jun-09 17:13:50

I found our NHS classes totally useless and only went to the first one. The NCT classes were fab and covered everything, our teacher had had 4 kids and a wide spectrum of birth experiences so felt she really could give a balanced view.

But to answer your question grin yes, husbands/birth partners are almost more important to attend the classes, I think - it's them who'll have to remember the breathing exercises etc because you can be sure you won't be remembering them! Our hospital offered relaxation classes I didn't go to because they said due to space issues (??) partners weren't allowed. I thought this completely defeated the point and didn't bother to go.

LovelyTinOfSpam Thu 04-Jun-09 17:29:10

Oh well if everyone else is being forthright...

For balance, I found the NCT classes shit and the NHS ones excellent.

As with many of these things, I suspect it depends on the person/people you get leading them.

cory Thu 04-Jun-09 18:36:54

Our NHS classes were excellent- and every single woman was accompanied by her partner.

dizietsma Thu 04-Jun-09 18:39:46

Did both, NCT ones were really informative, very useful. NHS ones were shite. DH came to both, as did ALL the other dads.

Smithagain Thu 04-Jun-09 18:46:04

Our local set-up was similar. Partners not particularly encouraged at NHS classes, except for one evening session specifically for couples. We did NCT classes as a couple and I went to the NHS classes alone.

Actually, it worked quite well. The NCT class was where we made friends. The NHS class was very useful for local hospital-specific stuff. And it passed the time while I was on maternity leave!

YanknCock Thu 04-Jun-09 20:55:16

Thanks for the responses everyone, it's interesting that experiences vary. The brochure in the Bounty pack for our hospital shows there are six community midwifery teams, and each has their own classes. None say 'women only' or 'couples'.

I am certainly not opposed to making friends at these NHS classes, but I feel like that shouldn't be my first priority. DH being there won't stop me chatting to other people anyway. Tend to agree with ABetaDad, I want DH to have all the information and be a strong, supportive birth partner.

We go to the NCT classes first, then the NHS ones later. I suppose it could be overkill, but am definitely in favour of overpreparing!

Actually, if it's my midwife running the classes we both might end up bowing out---haven't liked her from the word go, and she's done other things that make me uncomfortable, but she's the lead MW and am scared she will make things miserable for me if I say I want to swap (probably another thread in this). I know that's not how it's supposed to be, and that I have the right to ask to change---but am terrified that they'll say she's the only one available and then she'll treat me worse after knowing I complained!

LovelyTinOfSpam Thu 04-Jun-09 21:32:10

Overkill won't do any harm!

Also the plus of the NHS ones is you get a tour of the delivery suites, and where everything is in relation to each other, which is actually really nice as it won't be a totally unfamiliar environment when it comes to the big event smile

HecatesTwopenceworth Thu 04-Jun-09 21:41:30

my husband came to the parentcraft classes. In our group, all the fathers were there, apart from one poor lass whose bloke had done a runner. sad

However, I don't rate them highly since I asked "What happens if they get stuck" and was told "That never happens, they don't get stuck, that can't happen"

Fast forward a few months to me in 4th day of labour, ds1 shoulder stuck fast and big emergency with them PULLING his head so hard they damaged his nerves, leaving him with erbs palsy (paralysis of arm) angry

Can't happen, my arse.

Whole thing was useless, tbh. No help at all.

JemL Thu 04-Jun-09 21:49:10

I don't know what the set up is in your areas, but our Parentcraft course was only 3 sessions. There was no real need for the class to "gel" - it was split between the midwife telling us things and group activities - there was very limited opportunities to chat informally, so it wasn't really the sort of setting where you made friends - unlike the NCT ones, I believe (didn't go!)

I would ring the hospital, there will be a midwife who manages the parentcraft classes, and you can explain that you want to bring your partner but you mw has put you off!!

NFsAreAPainInTheNeck Thu 04-Jun-09 22:15:23

Oh, definitely go with your DH. Why shouldn't he "gel" in the group too? Even if he was the only man (which likely he won't be).

Don't let one MW dictate to you. There's lots of time for gelling just with other women at mum and baby classes after the birth eg baby massage, baby signing, baby swimming, baby group, baby rythm etc etc.

Do what YOU want to do!

However, I have to say that MWs are generally not at all interested in welcoming your husband, birth partner and new father to be, with open arms, no. It's a nice idea but there isnt the time/money/inclination. I know this sounds v patronising and I'm sorry, but that's the sort of thing you think/say when it's your first baby.

The nicer MWs will be pleasant with your DH/DP though.

ABetaDad Thu 04-Jun-09 22:40:26

NFsAreAPainInTheNeck- glad you said that.

I am not down on MWs, they have a hard job but frankly it was pretty obvious they would just rather not have DH/DP there in our experience. They will be civil to DH/DP but that is it and after that just try and ignore him.

YanknCock - I read your later post and TBH I think you and DH are already being pushed around and made to feel ncomfortable. You and DH need to draw a line in the sand.

It is YOUR birth. The senior MW was in charge at DS2 birth and frankly she was being bullying and dismissive to DW.

MW and I had words. They were calm words from me but there was no doubting I meant them. It worked. angry

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