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NCT vs NHS?

(17 Posts)
broodylicious Sat 24-Sep-11 12:30:41

Hi ladies!
Happy Saturday smile
Just wanted to ask if any of you have any experience of the NCT classes? I've been looking into it (first baby due march 25th) and it sounds fantastic but just wondered how they compare to the (free) NHS versions? Is it worth the fee? What did you get out of joining? Any advice welcome smile xx

RitaMorgan Sat 24-Sep-11 12:38:04

What do you want to get out of the classes?

I went for NHS classes because I wanted to meet women like me who lived locally. The NCT classes were in another very upper/middle class part of town and to be honest I didn't feel I would have anything in common with the type of people who went to them.

Can't say I learned anything new particularly from the classes, but I had read a lot of books beforehand grin

TheFantasticFixit Sat 24-Sep-11 12:46:56

Hello there - firstly congratulations!

I'm currently 31 wks pregnant with our first child and I had the same dilemma a few weeks ago. We live in London and so pay the premium prices for NCT so I spoke to my hospital (Queen Charlottes) to find out what they offer. Their course is very good - 6 x 2 hour sessions which broadly cover everything just about the same curriculum (?) as the NCT classes including a dedicated 3 hour breastfeeding session, and they also offer additional active birth classes and sessions that focus on interventions which we have signed up for. I also had a tour of the hospitals MW led birth centre and spoke to them about non medicalised birth - although decided on reflection that I would feel more confident knowing that drugs were available to me when i wanted them!

I realised after all this that one thing that people really rave about with NCT is the commaradarie that you get from your group and that that maybe wouldn't come out the hospital sessions - but i really didn't want to pay £300+ for meeting people. From doing a little more digging I found that my local NCT offer a 5 week postnatal course - each session is 2 hours long and focuses on your concerns and wellbeing post birth which I really felt would be beneficial to me - and will get me out of the house for at least 2 hours a week in those early days! It is also a fraction of the price at under £100 for the course and membership.

I think by combining the two I have found a happy medium - it makes sense for me to have antenatal classes that are based around the type of birth I anticipate and then have the support of the NCT group after - especially for those early BF days..

I do appreciate that if you are hopeful for homebirth, active or non medicalised labour then NCT would be very good for you - I really think ultimately it will depend what you want and the best place to get that info.

Good luck smile

CrazyAlien06 Sat 24-Sep-11 13:16:47

Hey, I did both courses. NHS on my own as during work hours then NCT in the evening and over one weekend with DH. Have made good friends already through NCT, a couple went to both aswell. The NHs content was really good, nct focused more on discussion ,group work but I went to make new friends in the areasmile DH made a few new local drinking buddies too as lot of his friends don't have babies.

Rhubarbgarden Sat 24-Sep-11 19:53:32

I also did both courses. The NHS course was quite basic, really just a Q&A session with a midwife. There were about 10 women on the course, one of whom I have since bumped into at a couple of baby classes. I haven't seen any of the others since. The NCT course was more structured and in-depth, but the real value was in the support and friendship I have got from the other women on the course. Our babies are now 15 months old, we are all still in touch and four out of the six of us still meet up several times a week. It's much more than just meeting people - I'm not short of friends - there is simply no substitute for having people around you going through such a life changing time at exactly the same time. There is so much to learn when you are a new mother, it is immeasurably comforting to be able to say "dh is doing this" and for a bunch of other women to say "oh yeah mine's doing that too it's nothing to worry about". You share the load researching nurseries, local baby classes, baby products etc. Existing friends with older children simply are not as helpful; it's astonishing how quickly you forget what kids do when and how you dealt with it. For me, NCT was the best £300 I ever spent.

hubbahubster Sat 24-Sep-11 20:54:43

We were only offered one NHS session so we paid £200 for NCT. Waste of money. None of us have met up since the course ended, and I found it very preachy about water births/not having an epidural. As I was having an ELCS and the teacher was very negative about CS it actually freaked me out quite a bit. Join a prenatal yoga or Pilates class if you want to meet other mums is my advice - at least you get a physical benefit from the money you spend.

StickyGhost Sat 24-Sep-11 21:51:00

I did both and found my NHS course pretty useless (2 x 2 1/2 hrs) and just not substantial enough. The midwife who took it was lovely but I came away with very little practical knowledge or advice. The NCT course was much better and much more comprehensive, and also included a breast feeding specialist session that wasn't much touched on with the NHS class. In my opinion the NCT class is very much worth doing if u can afford it (I was lucky enough to get a discount because of being on a low income), and it's better for keeping in touch with the other Mums (reunion and post-natal course arranged by the course leader).

Nevercan Sat 24-Sep-11 21:54:45

I did both. NHS course was very basic and there was a large group of people so not very personal. NCT course was great and I still meet the gals once a week which is nice as the kids are all the same age

sleeplessinderbyshire Sat 24-Sep-11 22:01:38

i liked my NCT class but best was the friends I made - of the 6 of us 5 still see a lot of each other 2yrs on even though I moved to a new town after 6 months. I also joined NCT and moved towns when DD was 6 months old, joining NCT in new town has given me a good group of new friends too which was great as I knew no-one here when we moved

MotherOfHobbit Sat 24-Sep-11 22:16:15

I also did both Nct and nhs. The nhs one was just two hours but I found it crammed in quite a bit of information. Nct was great for meeting other new mothers but I didn't actually learn much -note I am the sort to read every baby book going though. I also thought the nct stuff was.a bit wibbly and fuzzy and often not that realistic.

CocktailQueen Sat 24-Sep-11 22:28:18

NCT MUCH better!! Not nec for the info - they push natural labours, bfing, CSs are the work of the devil etc - but we made a lovely group of friends that we still see regularly now and dd is 7. NCT classes go into much greater depth about things, esp labour and your choices too.

NHS ones are pretty basic tbh. And I didn't like anyone I met on mine either!

startail Sat 24-Sep-11 23:05:59

If you have a brain, and can afford it, do the NCT classes. Partners are welcome and you get lots of space to discuss things. I now know a couple of NCT teachers and they are very well trained and professional. They certainly should be open minded to every kind of birth experience.
Unfortunately, my NHS classes were taught by the areas famously dimmest midwife so they probably were especially bad and I didn't bother finishing them.
The NCT can be great for making friends , but you may be unlucky and get a class that doesn't gel .
DD1s didn't, but I made some lovely friends at the NCT bumps and babies coffee mornings after she was born.
DD2 class did and have just had their 10 year reunion.

The NCT are middle class, in that it's pretty much all graduates, but that does not always mean particularly well off.
Some of the houses, the bumps and babies met in were beautiful. I lived in a little ex council house, so I hadn't the room to host the coffee group. I type set the newsletter instead.
DD2s antenatal group were all much more alike, ordinary family houses.

griphook Sat 24-Sep-11 23:38:09

nct really push home births, tell you nothing about the reality of birthing, or aftercare. I felt they pretty much frowned upon anything that wasn't completely natural. But made some really good friends, so worth it

broodylicious Sun 25-Sep-11 19:30:55

Thanks everyone smile I think we are going to give NCT a go because it's the social side of things I'm looking for - I have a lot of friends and family but they're mostly 60 miles away; the friends I have here are all centred around my horse and yard, so none of them have babies or are pregnant.

I think all these things related to birth, babies and motherhood are quite personal - I like the idea of waterbirth, no epidural and BF for example, but as a few of you say, it's not necessarily for everyone - but its really interesting to hear your thoughts so thank you smile

What would I do without MN??? Xx

BeautifulBirths Mon 26-Sep-11 00:44:54

I really don't want to sound like a sales pitch. Sorry. There are other options outside nct and nhs too. Some midwives (i'm one of them) rum them independently. I do this because I am passionate about antenatal education and feel the nhs cannot always give what's needed with thine and budget cuts. As a midwife I can offer a realistic side to birth and answer specific pregnancy related questions. Clients say that nct and independent midwife courses gave been invaluable. One of my clients said I really didn't charge enough for ghetto service he got! Please visit my website to see other options available and then see if ghere is a midwife in your area ago may offer the same. WWW.beautifulbirths.org. I hVe explained in here why good antebatak ddi ation us do important. Sorry re typos. Can't get used to my new phone!

TimothyClaypoleLover Mon 26-Sep-11 14:51:40

I live in an area where the NCT classes are attended by wannabe WAGs and the wives of rich City bankers. This put me off attending and I did not want to spend £200 just to make new friends.

I attended my local NHS classes which were very good and comprised one 2 hour session for 7 weeks. I think maybe I was lucky in our area that the NHS classes provided are really useful and informative. There was a group of around 10 couples and 5 of us now meet up regularly and have become really good friends. We have all commented that we avoided NCT in our area because we wanted to meet down to earth "normal" people.

I think it very much depends on what area you live in as I know some areas don't offer NHS classes at all so you are forced to do NCT. I also know other areas where NCT classes are brilliant.

munkiii Mon 26-Sep-11 15:01:23

Hi there

Just a thought- but it may be worth going along to what your local hospital offers just so you know exactly what pain relief options are available JUST IN CASE. And also what their proceedures are regarding intervention and so on.

Just so you know, if you need to. I ended up having a vontuesse delivery and I was glad I knew that was going to happen as I ended up being taken from the midwife led unit onto labour ward.

Good luck with it all!

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