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Ante-natal classes: NHS or NCT?

(17 Posts)
user1480531309 Wed 30-Nov-16 18:49:44


I'm a first time mum and I've booked the NHS ante-natal course for me and my partner. It's two evening sessions one month before my due date. I'm worried that it won't be enough to prepare me especially with no family or friends living around me to help me in those early days. I've looked into the NCT ante-natal courses and debating about booking it. They're expensive so if it turns out to be the same as the NHS I'll be wishing I spent that money on baby!!

Any advice in your experience? TIA!

whoateallthejaffacakes Wed 30-Nov-16 20:13:11

i think people choose to do NCT classes so as to make friends for afterwards. i went to the 2 free nhs ones & they were a bit pants to be honest

TheLegendOfBeans Wed 30-Nov-16 20:17:22

I had the opposite; I found the NCT course pretty useless and quite patronising TBH.

Didn't make friends, none of us had anything in common and I found the teacher had no interest in discussing inductions (3/5 of us ended up with them). The information about CSections was scant and it was very driven towards "natural" birthing methods...

And that was one of the less "crunchy" courses from what I've heard.

If you've moved to a new area/are the first of your chums to have a baby then maybe try it: you may have better luck than me. But I found the NHS more "honest" about the realities of what labour can be.

Bella1985 Wed 30-Nov-16 22:22:16

I haven't been to an NCT class so can't compare but just had the last of my NHS antenatal classes (we had 3 classes: 1 on the birth, 1 on early days with baby and 1 on breastfeeding). As a FTM I found them really useful, I don't have any friends with babies in my area to help so the info was good. Everybody just sat in couples and didn't talk to each other though, so not great to make friends! I've found pregnancy yoga better to meet other mums to be! Heard good things about NCT for making friends but I guess it depends on who's on the course same time as you. The cost put us off, and the over focus on 'natural' birth & feeding which we'd heard about the course. I have heard some people raving about them though.

MumOfTwoMasterOfNone Wed 30-Nov-16 22:32:57

Also heard that its more about making friends than anything different you learn.

NameChange30 Wed 30-Nov-16 22:42:08

There might be other antenatal classes in your area - Daisy Foundation, Wise Hippo, other... You could also see if NCT do an Essentials course near you (as opposed to the Signature course) as it's slightly shorter and cheaper.

If I was in your position and wanting to make local Mum friends, I would probably try NCT, as a lot of people do it to make friends. No guarantees of course but you might as well as give it a go if you can afford it.

I've booked a hypnobirthing course rather than NCT as I really want to try that approach. Also doing pregnancy yoga and the other women are friendly although at different stages. Starting to get to know a few people a bit so if we continue to chat and get on well, I will be brave and suggest swapping numbers and meeting up!

You could probably make friends after the baby is born by joining baby groups and things.

BowBelle81 Wed 30-Nov-16 22:52:37

We did both NHS and private, though not NCT - we did a Bump and Baby one, as it was closer to home, all over one weekend, and included infant first aid which I really wanted to learn. The NHS was useful (and free!) and glad we did it, but on its own it wouldn't have been enough - the longer one was much more informative, especially about post birth (breastfeeding, safe sleeping, first nappies, bathing, etc). And the longer timing gave us a bit of time to reflect and realise what questions we needed to ask, plus it was where we made friends - noone really chatted at the NHS one, as there were no group exercises to get us going. Also, I don't know if NCT offer this but ours included the chance to ask follow-up questions after the baby was born, which was a really useful extra bit of support. Think Bump and Baby is only London but if there are any other providers near you might be worth looking at reviews to see what they offer.

But I think any group where you can get a bit of information and talk to people in a similar stage to you will be worthwhile. For me it was the more the better, really and the NHS one alone was too basic for me (probably didn't help that I broke out in a cold sweat whenever I opened a birthing book...I needed reassuring humans!)

hatsandbagsandshoes Wed 30-Nov-16 23:04:29

I did NCT and would definitely say it was worth it! I have made some brilliant friends, but I also learnt an awful lot. Yes, it was quite hippy and earth mothery, but also very positive and informative in my opinion. I was the youngest there (late 20s) and I heard from others that there were a few young giggly mums to be at the NHS ones. Not being judgemental 😬 but I was very keen to learn about birth and breastfeeding etc, and I found NCT invaluable for that.

Fizzyjo Fri 02-Dec-16 12:17:28

I only did the NHS one which was a Saturday 10-3 and then an evening breast feeding session. There were 6 couples on the course all of which were friendly and some group exercises so we all got chatting (boys and girls). I did arrange to meet one of the girls again from it. It was factual and gave me the info I needed.
I did do a 'La Leche' breastfeeding talk as well and it was very similar so felt the NHS one covered enough. Most people I spoke to about NCT say it's quite focussed on everyone having a perfect natural birth and breastfeeding and less on what might (or is quite likely to) happen. But they all said it was mainly paying to make friends - which I wasn't fussed about as will meet people at baby groups and have lots of friends with new babies.
Go with what you feel works for you - I haven't heard anyone regret NCT as you will get something out of it!!

user1480531309 Wed 07-Dec-16 20:24:01

Thanks so much for all your feedback. I've booked the NCT course so watch this space! Thought it best to be over prepared rather than regret not doing it.

user1483448956 Tue 03-Jan-17 15:45:41


I am 5 months pregnant living in Shirley on the border of Bromley and Croydon (closer to Beckenham).

Does anyone know where i can go for NCT classes in this area? I can only find ones in Croydon but Beckenham is closer for me.

I was offered the NHS classes with Princess Royal Hospital but I don't know who good they are. Have any of you tried them?

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

thank you in advance

LocalEditorCroydon Sun 15-Jan-17 22:50:25

Hi, did you find anything in the Croydon area.

We have some classes here:

LondonSkylar Mon 13-Mar-17 21:08:16

Thanks for all the input and for sharing your thoughts! I've enquired into NCT courses now, it sounds like a really good option!

Are there any other types of antenatal classes you can recommend? I'm a first-time mum so want to learn as much as I can before the baby arrives.

glitterglitters Tue 14-Mar-17 08:28:34

I went to NCT to make friends, they were useful but didn't get on with any of the other parents 🙊 They were always talking about nannies, red wine and mini breaks. Then after the babies were born how "terribly inconvenient" it was when they woke up once in the night and how breastfeeding was archaic. Though I think I just got a duff lot tbh 🙊

TheBeanpole Tue 14-Mar-17 08:34:33

London have a look at the Crystal Palace Mums FB group. I know Beckenham and borders NCT is very active as well and they also do a free weekly postnatal course in Penge which covers things like sleep, relationships etc.

riddles26 Tue 14-Mar-17 21:34:13

I went to NCT to make friends and it was absolutely fantastic for that. As an antenatal course, I felt that the NHS one covered everything NCT did but NHS was one long day and everyone kept to themselves.
We were all at NCT for the same reason, got extremely lucky that we are all very similar ages (late 20/early 30s) and very similar social backgrounds. We get on brilliantly, talk at least once daily and meet up at least once a week if not more often. I have met others through mother and baby classes but haven't made any friends as good as the ones from NCT.
I have multiple family members who are still friends with their NCT class 4-5 years on and this prompted me to do the course. I really hope that it is the same case for me a few years down the line. Definitely expensive, but for me, totally worth it

Helbelle75 Tue 14-Mar-17 22:24:43

We went to a privately run one, with a practising midwife. It was incredibly useful, and we're in daily contact with other members of our group. It was cheaper than nct as well.

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