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Following Kirstie Allsopp's post, a guest blog by Belinda Phipps, CEO of the NCT

(246 Posts)
KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 04-Feb-13 10:54:30

A couple of weeks ago, Mumsnet Blogger Kirstie Allsopp wrote a blog post in which she argued that the National Childbirth Trust is over-focused on natural birth, and that women who don't have one can feel underprepared, and even stigmatized. Her post sparked a lot of debate - have a look at the Talk thread for more background.

This week, NCT Chair Belinda Phipps has written us a guest blog in which she tackles some of Kirstie's points, and sets out how the organisation is changing to respond to the needs of all mothers. 

What do you think? Let us know if you post on this subject - or let us have your thoughts here on the thread.

BalloonSlayer Tue 05-Feb-13 12:11:24

Do you mind me asking - why is this on discussions of the day when no one has even replied?

BridgetBidet Tue 05-Feb-13 12:15:17

"It's a common view that to be involved in the NCT you have to be a middle class parent"

Yes, well you may find that if you charge £300 a pop for an antenatal course your appeal to working class parents is limited.

itonlyhappenedonce Tue 05-Feb-13 12:24:04

For alot of people there will be many issues on their mind with their first pregnancy, financial, work concerns, housing problems, relationship issues maybe, NCT struck me a little bit like the kind of thing you worry about when you haven't got anything else to worry about.

Afterall if you don't go the baby will still be born.

BartletForTeamGB Tue 05-Feb-13 12:24:21

They offer discounts of up to 90% depending on income.

Tee2072 Tue 05-Feb-13 12:28:01

I didn't go to NCT because of a) the price and b) the snotty attitude of the woman who ran the classes in my area.

And it's b) that needs to change.

ubik Tue 05-Feb-13 12:29:48

I found it very intimidating. Coffee mornings in these enormous houses, no way these women were coming back to my flat. Couldn't afford the antenatal classes.

It's funny though, my mum and her friends were all in the NCT and were not middle class, but it perhaps didn't seem to have the same 'child as lifestyle statement,' culture in the '70s.

Tee2072 Tue 05-Feb-13 12:30:36

"They offer discounts of up to 90% depending on income."

Just because you can afford it doesn't mean you want to pay it. And, yes, I realize your post was to Bridget's comment about the price = middle class.

We could have afforded it, but it wasn't how I wanted to spend my money, especially after speaking to the 'practitioner' in my area.

NHS does it for free.

WingDefence Tue 05-Feb-13 12:33:16

I think it's a case, as in many large organisations, that the people at the top think one thing is happeneing but the reality 'in the field' can be different.

I'm not saying the NCT is a completely awful organisation - DH and I did the ante natal classes for DS was born 4 years ago (but that was because the NHS provision was pretty non-existant) - but some of those common views stated by the NCT Chair are such for good reasons.

My NCT leader told us ladies that we had to have sex with our DH/DPs six weeks after giving birth as it was our duty to and men needed their sexual needs to be satisfied in that way. The inference was that they would stray if we didn't provide it for them hmm

BridgetBidet Tue 05-Feb-13 12:38:03

The discount is really for people on extremely low or no income. For people who work but don't earn fantastic salaries it's really not an option.

But then it has always struck me that this is partly deliberate as NCT classes seem to be places where middle class mummies go where they can be confident they will be meeting other middle class parents. And they won't have to mix with such hoi polloi as secretaries or shop assistants.

I inquired about courses and the practitioner in my area gave me the distinct impression that was the case.

Sunflowergirl2011 Tue 05-Feb-13 12:41:45

I volunteer with our local NCT branch as I think at a local level they do some good things - mainly wrt giving mums/parents a social network. However, I think at a national level agree with what Kirsty Aesop said. I had an EMCS for my eldest and as a result of the way it was explained in my antenatal class (as A Very Bad Thing), wad far more terrified than. Should have been.
( also IMHO the way they treat their volunteers, who keep the organisation going, is shocking). I very much volunteer to support the local organisation, not the national one.

LineRunner Tue 05-Feb-13 12:49:12

I think that any organisation that cares what Kirstie Allsop thinks has got problems.

sayanything Tue 05-Feb-13 12:50:18

After this , I want nothing to do with the NCT ever again and would advise people not to bother with them. I was aghast at their patronising attitude and their belief that they know better than a woman giving birth.

There was a thread about the guidance here.

SucksToBeMe Tue 05-Feb-13 12:53:48

WingDefence shock that's terrible!

MustafaCake Tue 05-Feb-13 12:55:30

sayanything I can't get your links to work, is it just me?!

thefatladyscreams Tue 05-Feb-13 12:56:08

Can only go on my own experience but that was very positive. Very useful section about C sections and no "natural birth is best" bias at all. Suspect a lot might depend on the individual tutor - ours was great.

PrincessOfChina Tue 05-Feb-13 12:57:34

We did NCT classes ahead of DD's birth for dual reasons - meeting people and finding out more about birth.

We met some lovely people, and also found out a lot about natural birth and breast feeding. All very nice.

Given 4/8 of us ended up having EMCS's and 6/8 of us ended up bottle feeding it might have been useful to hear some more, non judgmental advice on those topics. I don't think the NCT local leades necessarily live in the real world.

Oh, and no NHS classes around us unless you want to attend a 2 hour session on a Thursday afternoon, ladies only.

ubik Tue 05-Feb-13 12:58:58

I think you are right, Linerunner

DoItToJulia Tue 05-Feb-13 12:59:57

Mustafa, the guidance link worked for me, but not the thread link.

Tee2072 Tue 05-Feb-13 13:00:09

No, Mustafa, her links don't work.

Maebe Tue 05-Feb-13 13:01:06

There's definitely a problem with some individual tutors being more pro-natural birth, hypnobirthing etc than others, though even our quite realistic tutor still spent about 3 hours explaining to us that we needed to make our house seem like we were just about to make love in order to make labour progress well hmm

The only think that I really struggled with with NCT classes is that they can't talk about bottle feeding at all. Not a peep about it. It seemed a bit over the top. It's one thing to promote breast-feeding, but its another thing to completely ignore what some mothers might end up doing. They only need to say 'if you do have to use formula, get a HV to talk to you about the correct way to make up feeds etc' - but my tutor said she wasn't even allowed to say that...

icravecheese Tue 05-Feb-13 13:02:09

Generally, I have nothing bad to say about NCT - we did the classes nearly 6 years ago for our first born, our teacher was great and we are still firm friends with the 4 other couples we met on the course (we only really did it to meet other people having babies at same time as us!).

However, the comment from Belinda NCT on her blog that it is a total myth that NCT wants all parents to have a natural birth and to breastfeed is not quite my experience - the different types of birth were very clearly explained at our classes, but we had a whole extra class on breastfeeding, and absolutely NOTHING on how to bottle feed - ok, so I now realise its pretty easy to work out bottle feeding, but at the time (3am, screaming baby, bleeding nipples) I didn't know about formula / teat flow / sterilisation, I ended up telephoning my mum at 6am. We had no classes or info on this at all from NCT classes....why not?

icravecheese Tue 05-Feb-13 13:03:41

ah, cross posts with Maebe above - didnt realise they couldnt talk about bottle feeding....why on earth not? How ridiculous!

BartletForTeamGB Tue 05-Feb-13 13:05:56

"The discount is really for people on extremely low or no income. For people who work but don't earn fantastic salaries it's really not an option."

Not entirely correct.

Average median salary is £26,500.

Reduced course options start from a (combined) salary of £26,190

Snowgirl1 Tue 05-Feb-13 13:06:49

I didn't find our NCT teacher overly focused on a natural birth, she gave very balanced information on all the pain relief options and when asked by others what she would recommend she talked them through an evaluation approach that they could use to help them make the decision.

We had a separate NCT teacher for the class on breastfeeding and she was very, very focused on breastfeeding.

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