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To NCT or not NCT?

(22 Posts)
Thandeka Wed 29-Jul-09 09:32:54

So am umming and ahhing about NCT classes- last pregnancy (ended in MMC at 10 weeks) I was signed up from the second the second line appeared (thankfully they agreed I didn't have to pay until I was past three months!) anyhow this pregnancy I haven't even looked at NCT until after my 13 week scan (friday) just in case but since NCT gets booked up so quick I may already be too late.

Anyhow am pondering about the benefits of it really as I am a childcare teacher so I know all about 1st, 2nd, 3rd stage labour, epidurals pros and cons etc. etc. And I read so much on here my knowledge has increased massively so although obviously there will be things they can teach me I have such a good grounding in the basics I'm worried it may be a waste of money. I am definitely planning on going to the free hospital antenatal classes with DH so he can also learn and to hopefully make friends.

I have read on here NCT classes are great for making friends (which is the only reason probably I think I want to go) but then I also read (on here) NCT classes are all more middle class parents (like us I guess?) so some people go to make friends with people "like them" shock which I am a bit uncomfortable with and now am cross at the elitist nature of NCT (well not NCT per se but the people who plan on going to avoid the riff raff of the general public!)!

Hmmm think this post is probably saying I will save my £250 or whatever it is and spend it on cots and pushchairs from ebay.

(oh and my birth plan is probably as follows: active birth as much as possible- if I can't cope with the pain- gimme an epidural as soon as I cave and ask for one please! Just do whatever is medically best for me and baby!)

So probably don't need natural births eulogised for me. Ho hum.

LynetteScavo Wed 29-Jul-09 09:41:11

NCT classes are £50 these days? shock How times have changed!

When I did NCT ante natal clases, many, many moons ago, I didn't learn much from them - but I did meet people through the NCT - just having other people with babies the same age is invaluable when you have a new born. We are no longer incontact with the rest of the group 10 years later, apart from Christmas cards, but I did make other fabulous friends through the NCT.

LynetteScavo Wed 29-Jul-09 09:41:41


Thandeka Wed 29-Jul-09 09:52:36

Thanks Lynette yup am thinking £250 is a lot of money to make friends- plan on attending breastfeeding groups, baby groups, and have a few friends who are having babies at about same time so hopefully will be okay.

Probably me decided on no then!

EldonAve Wed 29-Jul-09 09:57:13

I did a class 2nd time round, our group didn't really bond

I think you might be better seeing what your local group offers

Ours does welcome evenings so you can meet people due around the same time, for this you only need to be a member

Loopymumsy Wed 29-Jul-09 11:56:52

Message withdrawn

mumcah Wed 29-Jul-09 13:25:33


I have to say my NCT group are fantastic and we have a real bond.It was a lifeline to meet up every week in someone's lounge in the early days and most of the babies were crying and usually one of us too!

I supposed it depends if you feel you have friends nearby with babies as you will have lots of time on your own in with your baby.And it's nice to share the experience with people.

The classes weren't particuarly useful in terms of birth knowledge as we have so much info these days.It was still good though and we had a breastfeeding day too.

I'm pleased I went (and DP when he could,think it was just the breastfeeding one though!)

vonsudenfed Wed 29-Jul-09 13:30:21

Agree with Eldon, see what your local group does. Ours does 'informal' pregnancy peer support - i.e. meet other people due at the same time, eat cake, pay £20.

But if you decide not to, the best way of meeting other people I found was the post-natal classes run by our local drs surgery/health visitors. They don't always talk sense, but the friends I made from that are still meeting nearly 3 years on...

Stayingsunnygirl Wed 29-Jul-09 13:36:19

You don't have to go to the NCT classes in order to use the other services they offer - Bumps and Babes coffee mornings, other coffee mornings, breastfeeding and post natal support, special experiences register.

I did do NCT classes first time round, and didn't really make any good friends, but when ds1 was 10 months old, we moved, and I decided to get involved in the NCT in our new town, as a way to get to know people, and I made my three closest friends in the world that way.

Meglet Wed 29-Jul-09 13:39:30

You could try visiting some walking distance parent + baby / toddler groups in the last few weeks before you are due, so you will know where you are going once your dc arrives. You are bound to make some mum friends there, and as you will be the one with her hands free they will all be asking you to hold their babies while they drink their tea / control their toddlers. You might even score some nice bags of hand-me-down clothes grin.

I did the nct classes almost 3 years ago and we still meet every week. We all have toddlers + a baby each now. Its taken a long time, but we've started having the odd evening meal out together (minus kids!).

Our NCT classes were good. Obviously pro-natural birth but we still had a whole lesson on cs's, which was useful for me as I ended up with an em cs.

BumpMakesTwoAndABit Wed 29-Jul-09 13:42:16

NCT classes have been much more useful in terms of education for DH than for me. I don't think I learnt anything new.

However, they were definitely worth the money in terms of meeting people - again, especially for DH.

Check the times of your NHS classes before you make a decision. Our local ones were held at the hospital on a Friday lunchtime. I'd have had to stop work at 11, and wouldn't have got back to work till after 3. Whilst women are entitled to time off work to attend, I think most women (and their employers) would see that timing as a PITA - you'd be stuck in the office late on a Friday catching up! Also, men are NOT entitled to time off - so DH could not have attended at all.

I know what you mean about 'people like us' attitudes and it was one of the things I was concerned about. However, I asked my MW about NHS/NCT classes and she very tactfully told me that I would be a good 15 years older than the oldest woman in the class she was teaching at that time (I'm 32), so if it was friends I was after, she thought NCT might be a better bet. She did think that was mainly a function of the timing of the classes - so if your NHS classes were a better time, then maybe you wouldn't have that issue.

I could probably have done without the NCT classes since I have met other local women on here and at antenatal exercise classes (and there's a lot of overlap between all three groups) - but DH couldn't, since antenatal exercise classes obviously don't cater for expectant dads. So that's another factor to take into account.

Good luck!

Mole007 Wed 29-Jul-09 13:42:56

We have our last NCT class this week. £135 for the course (opted out of paying to join the NCT which brings the cost down). met a great bunch of people, and hope we do all keep in touch. Main thing for me though is that I had read loads (but to actually hear it made a difference), but my DH hadn't. I think he was really nervous for the first class, but has found them to be good, enjoys bonding with the other fathers-to-be, and is now talking birth plans and things, which is fab grin

walkthedinosaur Wed 29-Jul-09 13:49:42

I hated my NCT group, so competitive when the babies were born, I couldn't stand it, even now 7 years later I bumped into one in town, first question she asked, how is DS1 doing at school? I think a couple of them kept in touch but we all pretty much went our own way. I also think that way too much emphasis was put on breast feeding my baby, which when it didn't work for me I felt so guilty for letting my baby down - many, many tears of guilt were cried over that one and the breastfeeding counsellor was pants. Giving birth by CS was barely touched on in the class so when I had to have an ECS I felt lost. Really, if you just want to make friends I'd save your money and just go to various baby groups in the area.

Just read that back, I sound really negative don't I, but I didn't really like my group at all, my friend however who had a baby a year later is still great friends with lots of her group.

Stayingsunnygirl Wed 29-Jul-09 14:12:36

I think it's important to differentiate between the people who just go to NCT classes and those who get involved in the wider activities it offers. Those who just do the classes can be very 'birth focussed' in my experienced, whereas people who get more involved in the rest of the NCT seem to want to be supportive towards others. So don't rule out the whole of the NCT based only on the classes.

For example - the breastfeeding counsellors are really dedicated and supportive, and the coffee mornings can be a great way to meet people.

(Disclaimer: this is my experience and others' experiences may be different).

fizzpops Wed 29-Jul-09 14:26:37

I went to NCT classes and the NHS ones because I am of the school of any information from whatever source is going to be useful.

I am still in touch with all the NCT girls 15mths later although I wouldn't count them amongst my closest friends. I have made better friends (and less competitive) from baby groups etc.

The NHS classes were mainly beneficial in that we familiarised ourselves with the hospital and it was very straightforward about pain management and what was available and we could ask specific questions about that hospital. No real chance for socialising though although I feel we would have got on with a number of the couples.

NCT was much more in depth - longer classes and the agenda was set by us but if you are already familiar with pain management and other aspects of labour etc I would say you probably wouldn't get that much out of it. But then I wouldn't underestimate the social aspect as it was a real support to have five other women at a similar stage to me when on maternity leave and then as we all gradually gave birth. You have a ready made group whereas before you have the baby it is hard to make those kinds of friends so the early days might be based around trying to meet people - quite stressful I think.

I did find that some of the others in my NCT class didn't choose to do the NHS classes as they didn't think they would meet anyone they wanted to be friends with at them hmm.

They are self confessed snobs though and this is one of the reasons I get on better with other people I have met through other activities.

MiniMarmite Wed 29-Jul-09 14:37:08

I went to NCT classes partly because they were in the evening so I could go with DH. I do hear mixed reviews of NCT classes but our tutor was absolutely fabulous and the whole class felt pretty confident about giving birth by the end of the course. There was no pushing of a particular view on pain relief, breastfeeding etc. Just lots of very good information and discussion.

I still see my NCT friends nearly every week and we babysit for one another from time to time too. I don't get on with every single on of them but it has been a great support network and it is lovely to see the babies growing up together. I went to my NHS postnatal classes and see those people from time to time too (I don't know them quite as well as a shorter course). The post-natal group is more mixed demographically speaking than the NCT one.

Whitetara Thu 30-Jul-09 01:17:33

I went to NCT for my first pregnancy and met some really nice people. However, in terms of labour preparation and the aftermath I don't rate them at all. I thought our particular teacher and breastfeeding counsellor were hopeless.

NCT have their own agenda which I was unaware of at the time, so they are very pro natural birth - which is fine for some people but not for others. I had breastfeeding problems (no milk) and the counsellors had no medical knowledge whatsoever and were of no help to me and just kept repeating parrot fashion the supply and demand thing, which ended up confusing me and conflicting with the advice my midwife was giving me. I also ended up feeling a hopeless failure.

I am now going to the NHS classes at lunchtime and am finding them much more real and relevant to me. I wish I'd done them before, but then I have met some lovely people at NCT.

They are a bit middle class but that might be because they cost so much (although my husband and I got a reduced rate due to him being a student, so cost is discretionary).

NCT do hold some excellent nearly new sales though!

choosyfloosy Thu 30-Jul-09 01:27:33

Depends what the NHS offers in your area - in my first and only pregnancy I really wanted to luxuriate in the whole experience, so weekly NCT meetings were fab for me and DH with lots of chances to talk at length and the agenda set by us. At the time, our NHS provision would have been a single day course on a Saturday, which i didn't fancy and dh would probably not have been able to cope with (he is ill a lot). with hindsight i should probably have gone to both, i have loved all the social side of becoming a parent more than anything, nothing beats a good chat with another parent for me.

hayes Thu 30-Jul-09 01:40:31

I went to nhs classes with my first baby and am still friends with 2 mums nearly 16 years on....

with response to the earlier post saying she thought NCT were pro natural birth, this is a reason I didn;t go near their classes for either of my 3 children's births.

A natural birth is different for every woman, whether its "natural" with no drugs, "natural" with every drug going or csection....whatever is best for that mother and baby is the natural way. It really bugs me when people talk about births as a competition hmm

leftangle Thu 30-Jul-09 11:06:48

For me the NCT classes have definately been worth the money for the friends. Yes there are other ways of meeting people and it depends how lucky you are with your group but mine has been brilliant. As all our babies are the same age we are all going through the same things at the same which can be very reassuring. We can talk about anything and I've found it much more helpful even than old friends with children.
My midwife was very negative about the NHS classes and said they did not really give the oportunity to socalise so did not go.
However didn't find the actual teaching at the classes all that helpful.

mrsbaldwin Sun 02-Aug-09 20:06:10

I didn't join an NCT class - did the ones at the hospital.

Retrospectively (DS now 5 months) that was a good decision - I found out all I needed to know about the mechanics of stuff from the hospital classes, which were of course free. I also got to know the faces of some of the community midwives that way too, which was great for immediate post-birth weeks.

I did go to my local NCT coffee morning for let's say 3 months - which didn't require you to actually join NCT. Because I thought the chair of the local group was doing a good job of trying to organise us I decided to make a donation via NCT website. I wouldn't say I've made any special pals via the coffee morning group - more like smiling acquaintances to say hello to in the park etc.

As other people on this thread have pointed out there are other ways to acquire new pals - I got some via the local postnatal exercise class.

cupcakeandtea Tue 04-Aug-09 22:34:27

I have to add my tuppence worth to the argument... I found my NCT classes to be absolutely useless in terms of preparation of labour. What I really wanted was to be told how to handle the absolutely shocking pain of labour effectively not all the massage b***cks and 'having a warm bath may help' rubbish.

However, I have made some absolutely brilliant friends from it so in that sense it was worth every penny!

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