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Are nct ante-natal classes worth the mega-bucks?

(35 Posts)
whizzyrocket Mon 08-Aug-11 12:47:29

Considering signing up to a course in Wallingford, but is it worth £142 at a time when we'll be buying everything we haven't so far for young babe's arrival (or Sprogbert as my dh calls him!) and will be a little short of the old dubloons?

kimdeal Mon 08-Aug-11 12:54:00

I think they are. As you know, the courses inform you about birth (and to some extent about caring for the baby). However, I think you'll only come to really appreciate them after you have Sproglet. Suddenly, you'll have a group of people who are going through exactly the same thing as you. Even if you had nowt in common with any of your fellow group before the birth, you'll find great support in them after it. This is gold dust. Do it.

nannyl Mon 08-Aug-11 12:54:42

im really enjoying mine

+ it greats a ready made group of local mummies with similar age babies.

our hospital does 1 90min antenatal class and i dont see how its even possible to cover the essential stuff in that time, but i know many other areas give you muhc more on the nhs.

Im knew to the area and to me its worth every penny

I thought i had read everything there was to know about birth, but i have learnt a fair bit as well

book fast, i got the very last place on my nct course at 16 weeks pg!

MrsBloomingTroll Mon 08-Aug-11 12:57:24

The biggest value you get from NCT classes is a group of friends (couples) going through the same thing as you at the same time. Who else will be happy to sit around for hours and listen to you discuss your labour, birth, gory stories and baby trials and tribulations?

If you already have a good network of mum-friends then it may not be worthwhile. But bear in mind that you do very quickly forget the details and friends or family even with babies a few months older than yours might not understand what you're going through, whereas your NCT friends will. They will also be on maternity leave at the same time as you and willing/able to meet up with you for coffee, which helps break the monotony!

whizzyrocket Mon 08-Aug-11 13:04:13

I'm 27 weeks and the woman I've spoken to says there's a class in October I can join- I don't move to the area until late September. I'm due 5th Nov but noone in my family has ever had their baby early or on time so it should be ok. The only thing is because I'll be going to a group somewhat late in my pregnancy won't my baby be rather older than the others? Will that matter?

notcitrus Mon 08-Aug-11 13:09:35

The classes depend lots on the teacher (see any MN thread on the NCT...) but the £250 for mine was invaluable, not only because I wasn't entitled to any classes on the NHS, but they covered so much to do with both birth, the hospitals locally, and early stages of parenting. And it turned out the other couples were all lovely.

The classes tend to be around 7 months so I doubt you'd be much 'older' whizzy. THough

notcitrus Mon 08-Aug-11 13:12:09

you might ask what their refund policy is if baby comes early! (not sure what happened there)

Sandra2011 Mon 08-Aug-11 13:13:39

My son was born during the swine flu scare in 2009 and all NHS antenatal classes were cancelled.

I don't think I missed anything. I managed to push him out smile

I wasn't so keen about going to any other classes either. Surely women have managed to have babies for thousands of years without any classes.

MamaMia100 Mon 08-Aug-11 13:18:32

As long as you can get on a class vey close to home, i.e. where the other people live very near you, and are due at a similar time (check with course organiser if you're not sure), then it is definitely worth it IMO (though they do cost a fortune) - most people I know with babies met their closest friends through nct antenatal classes. That support network really is invaluable.

whizzyrocket Mon 08-Aug-11 13:47:47

It does sound more and more like a good plan- especially as I won't know anyone at all in the area. My new neighbour seems nice and is also expecting but it would be good to have more than just one friend.

Regarding the advice though, is it the obvious, or is it genuinely helpful stuff? Did you go with your partners? Was it useful for them? I took my husband to an antenatal class at the doctors' surgery recently and felt him get crosser and crosser at being talked to like a child and that they weren't giving us any useful information. They hadn't told us before-hand that it would be the health visitors telling us which support groups were available locally after the birth- it could easily have been told to us in a leaflet.

kateyfer Mon 08-Aug-11 14:23:21

definitely! aside from the actual sessions (which are excellent and go into far more detail than your local health centre ones) 18 months on and I'm still in weekly and monthly contact with my whole group. This was especially important for me as I was new to my area, and therefore found immediate kindred spirits!

Sargesaweyes Mon 08-Aug-11 14:24:02

My nhs courses were free and brilliant to be honest. We did breastfeeding course which was 3 hours and a 6 hour Saturday course. It's worth checking out what's avaliable in your area for free before you spend the cash.

Nanny01 Mon 08-Aug-11 15:01:31

With my first I did the nhs ones which were ok but limited the nct were better as we got more practical session like birth positions and how to calm babies with colic. I really likes the fact that we phoned each other on the birth of each baby and met up afterwards. There was a good mix of ages for couples but I didn't feel so young 25 (my first who is now 13) and it made a difference as it empowered me to make my own decisions. I know they waiver fees or reduce them for for low incomes or at least they did so I wouldn't rule it out.

As for spending lots on the baby and I am speaking from experience you can spend as much or as little as you want. I made so many mistakes with my first however I did join the nct and went t the nct and went to the nearly new sales. I bought a lot of stuff for our ds and didn't feel bad about it as I saved so much money. Most of the clothes had been barely worn and if you help out you get first picks. Considering doing that again as we will have to buy everything for no5.

http://www.nct.org.uk/branches/events/search?distance[address]=wallingford&sort_by=distance&sort_order=ASC

Hope this is the right Wallingford if so your not far from reading where I am.

whizzyrocket Mon 08-Aug-11 15:37:03

We won't qualify for help with fees- we're not struggling really it's just that it will be an expensive time for us and we're supposed to be saving for a deposit for a house (we're a forces family and the future of housing is for the forces is looking particularly shaky so we'd be foolish not to save) so I wanted to see whether your experiences really made it worth it.

It is the right Wallingford so thank-you for the link. I'm 25 so it's interesting to hear you mention the ages of people there and how you felt among them. My mum had my baby sister when she was 39 (a surprise) and at the groups she went to there seemed to be rather more mums of around her age so I did wonder whether I might feel a little like a teen mum if I went along and everyone there was above 30! Still, I've never had any trouble in getting along with people regardless of their age.

I agree with you about not feeling bad about buying second hand too- why should we just enrich the shops? What they charge is ridiculous! My sisters have both had a little boy a-piece so I'm inheriting quite a bit and I've ebayed for his pram. He is getting new furniture for the nursery, but we'll make sure his chest of drawers etc. are built to last him- we don't do flat-pack stuff as in my experience it doesn't weather moving house very well and we have to move whenever the MOD feels we should so it's worth spending a little more I think, and nice to employ the local craftsmen... really not that much different in price from a flat-pack from John Lewis or Marks and Spencer in any case. I feel that what we save in getting some things second-hand can go towards him having a few really nice things that he will enjoy; especially toys.

Still, birth-positions and calming babies with colic sounds useful- even if I do wonder whether I'll disgrace myself with a fit of giggles over the birth-positions! My dh and I used to do pilates together and we terrible gigglers... difficult not to feel ridiculous sometimes! And he had no sense of balance at all which didn't help! grin

whizzyrocket Mon 08-Aug-11 15:37:49

But anyway, did you, or would you take along your other half??

eurochick Mon 08-Aug-11 15:59:00

I went along to NCT classes when my friend's husband was away and everyone there was there as a couple. A lot of the session I attended was aimed at the partner - what they can do to help during labour (massages and the like), how they should react when you shout at them during transition, etc. My friend's husband was really annoyed that he missed it but I briefed him as best I could!

eurochick Mon 08-Aug-11 16:00:10

Oh, and there was lots of giggling so don't worry about that!

And most people were in shock after they showed a birth video, particularly the partners!

mumwithdice Mon 08-Aug-11 16:42:43

Well, I'm going against the grain here, but DH and I absolutely hated ours, DH especially. He felt that it was incredibly patronising and infantilising to him.

whizzyrocket Mon 08-Aug-11 17:00:24

Hmmm.. that was what I was worrying about, but most people seem to have had positive experiences. My mother did warn me to be prepared to be spoken to like a moron- she said it didn't really matter because after everything you go through you pretty much feel like a moron anyway! Ah, what would we do without maternal encouragement!?

Pashazade Mon 08-Aug-11 17:17:32

I think that whether or not you feel patronised is probably down to the NCT instructor. Ours was a really useful class, it was fun and interesting. It was great to meet a group in similar circumstances and I think our youngest mum was 25 oldest 37 so a range of ages. The breast feeding was really helpful. I'd read a lot but it is always helpful to hear genuine experiences, plus we were all first time mums so didn't feel daft asking obvious questions and I would definitely take Dad along with you. I haven't bothered with the NHS class as I don't think they're going to add anything and apparently it was rather short and sweet!

PrincessJenga Mon 08-Aug-11 17:25:16

Honestly? I didn't learn anything at NCT that I couldn't have learnt from mumsnet... but... and it's a big but... DP learnt LOADS!!! He joined me begrudgingly (our first session was on a sunny day and he'd have much rather been playing golf!) but by the end of it was absolutely singing the NCT praises. We also met three other lovely couples who are a similar age to us and have been a godsend as we prepare for our newborn. DP and the boys play golf together, me and the girls meet for tea and cake, and we all meet up for dinner regularly. Yes it's expensive, but knowing what I know now I'd have paid twice as much for mine. Definitely take DP/DH with you grin

whizzyrocket Mon 08-Aug-11 17:30:20

Having spent the afternoon online trying to find out if there were any local nhs antenatal classes I think I'll probably ask my dh to come with me for the saturday classes. At the moment he's fed up with having to drive all over the place at the weekends (friends and family all over the country) so it could be a good excuse for him to have a bit more home-time as well.

I really do want him to feel he knows what he's doing and to know what to do to be useful when the time comes- he'll just crack jokes if I leave him to his own devices. Somehow I doubt that the one about "how to get two whales in a mini" will make me smile when I'm in pain.

phlossie Mon 08-Aug-11 17:35:46

Absolutely, if only for the potential friends you'll make. We did NCT 5 1/2 years ago when pregnant with DS, and two of the couples we met are still great friends - in fact, one of the couples is among our best friends and our DS's are best friends. Plus, our DD and their DS2 who are almost the same age a great friends too. That's worth every penny, imo!

I think that the bonding experience of going through this immense experience together is amazingly supportive at the time, and cements strong friendships in the long term.

And I agree with princessjenga - I didn't really learn much, but it was great for DH.

Oeisha Mon 08-Aug-11 18:06:06

My only advice is, well, erm...I haven't found the people I've been in touch with all that helpful.
I asked whether it was worth me joining the one for my due date, or the local one...and they said the one with the due date. Asked costs, and they said "about £160, but it depends on what your instructor wants to charge", I asked the content and they couldn't tell me (no standardised content either), and then told me it may not happen, even if I do book in, as I'm the only one interested so far...bloody marvellous.
That and for some, I'd have to travel up to an hour, and they were running 2000-2200, leaving me not getting home and in bed before midnight! :S

Since then, they've now stopped offering the earlier local one (was willing to be the last in the group to pop and be local) and it looks like they'll probably not run my duedate either. Bit surprised and fed up. It's such an unprofessional attitude (if I've given them money, I expect classes, not to be fobbed off just because I'm the only one intersted - the fact I'm the only one interested should be raising alarms for them, I've seen plenty of bumps in my area).

LearningFast Mon 08-Aug-11 21:24:41

I'm sorry to say that my recent experience of NCT classes has been pretty poor.

There were only 3 couples in our group, which means the social contact which a lot of people find useful following the courses is going to be hard to keep up - 3 is an awkward number and doesn't feel like enough of us to be a group. There is no way I'd have booked the course if I'd realised there would be so few people on it.

Already our 'class re-union' has been re-scheduled twice as one of the 3 couples can't make it, and the teacher is now proposing we don't meet as 3 couples again at all, but just the 3 Mums, which isn't what we paid for...

With regards to the course content - I'm afraid I didn't learn much there at all either, as I'd done some reading beforehand. My DH did though, so it might be worth it from that point of view.

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