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Antenatal classes in east london-not NCT

(7 Posts)
chnagingnameforthis Wed 02-Feb-11 11:11:20

Namechanging for this as I don't want to 'out' someone else who I'm posting for and hasn't yet told anyone in RL or MN that she's no longer in the TTC camp!

For my first pregnancy I wanted to stay away from NCT classes - I'd had some friends who'd found them a bit standardised and the weekend workshop things really rushed. I was lucky to find a great independent course that both my partner and I actually enjoyed (well, he admitted he enjoyed it afterwards!), genuinely helped us with the birth AND with having a baby.

My friend lives in east London - Hackney ish. She's looking at NCT classes and having had such a different experience from so many of my friends who just didn't get on with NCT I'm wondering if there's something else nearish to her I could recommend to her. She's an over-preparer like me so will have probably signed up to NCT very swiftly if I don't suggest something else.

Ideally something which not only prepares you for all types of birth, helps your partner and actually spends some time helping you with the 'oh my god what do i do now with this small crying person' moments. Oh and would be good for it to be group rather than one on one so she can have some mum friends with LOs the same age.

Any ideas?

notexactlyradiant Wed 02-Feb-11 12:37:05

Hi there,

I live in Hackney and I did both NCT and local independent antenatal classes - also an over-preparer! In the end they were both useful in different ways but if I were to do it all again I would just have done the local independent one as it covered a lot more and was a lot better in terms of helping me with all the new mum stuff you mention, and creating a new group of friends who have turned out to be really amazing, lovely people. NCT classes were a bit rushed, yes. They crammed a lot of information into a much shorter time period (2 1/2 days over a weekend) and couldn't really offer the same supportive experience or foster the friendships that the independent class did. I think it also takes time to adjust to the massive life change of having a baby and I definitely needed more than 1 weekend to think through it.

I would absolutely and whole-heartedly recommend the local independent class - the woman who runs it is Jessica James; her website is and her number is 0208 806 4820. She runs the classes from her home in Stoke Newington, and has been doing this for years and years, so really knows her stuff. There are weekly antenatal classes from when you're at about 24 weeks, with yoga, breathing exercises, chatting, tea etc., then 8 couples classes closer to the birth, which were great for getting partners really involved and confident. They also include mums and couples coming back to the class with their new babies to tell you how it all went and to answer questions etc., which brought it all to life and was quite exciting and special.

Jessica also runs postnatal groups for 6 weeks or so after the babies are born to help you through the stressful oh-my-god bits, work out how to get the babies to sleep, feed etc., do a bit of lovely baby yoga, and consolidate the friendships in the group over tea and cakes. I honestly don't know what I would have done without them in retrospect, the classes really helped me and my partner prepare for the birth, work out what to do afterwards, and as I say make some great friends who made my maternity leave - and time since - a lot of fun.

Hope your friend finds what she needs, and has a really good experience.

chnagingnamesforthis Wed 02-Feb-11 16:06:15

Thank you so much notexactlyradiant - sounds quite a bit like what I did when I was pregnant!

I'll tactfully force her suggest she looks in to it.

I take it they aren't much more expensive than NCT are they?

notexactlyradiant Wed 02-Feb-11 20:10:49

No, very similar i think. Prices are all on the website. Can't recommend them highly enough. xx

rWoody Fri 04-Feb-11 12:52:26

Hi there,

I recently moved to Hackney and was also anxious to get prepared! I looked into NCT classes, but found they wouldn't work for us (my husband & I) in terms of times and flexibility. We didn't feel we could get what we wanted from the classes over a weekend.

We are going to independent classes with Jessica James, based in Stoke Newington, which I cannot recommend enough! We (mums to be with due dates ranging over the coming 4 months) meet once a week for yoga and breathing exercises, and then there are once weekly classes for couples (2 month due date span) to talk through aspects of labour & birth, breastfeeding, first days as new parents, etc. Jessica's approach is from an active birth perspective and we go through positions for labour, breathing exercises, etc. She's great at getting the partners involved!

Having weekly sessions together with other couples over 7-8 weeks has been very useful in allowing us to think and talk through things at a natural pace. We were particularly grateful to be in an environment where all potential scenarios (from very natural home births to hospital births, epidural pain relief etc) were discussed openly and frankly 'without any agendas'.

Both my husband and I have found the classes extremely helpful, they've given us a wealth of information and 'tools' to draw on as the birth approaches, and we've met some lovely people as a bonus!

Cobalt Fri 04-Feb-11 13:08:27

I also went to Jessica and can't recommend her highly enough.
Doing the yoga over the months beforehand meant that i felt i'd made some real friends as well.
Her classes are relaxed, but you learn loads and all of it was incredibly helpful.

alexk145 Thu 11-Jun-15 19:33:28

Hi everyone,

I know that this thread is super old, but just in case you've stumbled across it looking for an alternative to the NCT, please do check out Bump and Baby Club...

We run modern and popular antenatal classes in Victoria Park (very close to Lauriston Road). Our approach is modern and unbiased, and we include baby first aid as well as a few sociable touches.

We hope to see you there!


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