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Non-NHS antenatal classes

(14 Posts)
ghislaine Fri 14-Oct-11 15:45:52

I've been looking into the antenatal classes offered by my local hospital. They only do a "one size fits all" class which covers everything from labour, pain relief, delivery options, and a tiny section on newborn care. As I'm having a c-section, it seems too much trouble to turn up for a whole day class just for the newborn care section, especially when the class convenor couldn't tell me how long it might last or when in the class it would be scheduled - apparently it depends on the interests of the other attendees and the flow of the day.

So I'm looking at other options and coming up short. What I think I want (please tell me what else I should be looking for) is a class that is the basics of newborn care eg nappy changing, bathing, basic first aid. I've found a couple of classes at the Portland, and one at the Harley St Centre for Women but surely there must be other options? I looked at my local NCT but those classes seem very similar to the hospital one.

Anyone? Anything? Oh, and I'm in London. This will be my PFB and DH and I are totally clueless.

StickyGhost Fri 14-Oct-11 16:36:17

I can't suggest any specific classes (sorry, unhelpful), but I can suggest getting a couple of books that will have this sort of stuff in - I've found 'Your baby Week by Week' (Simon Cave & Caroline Fertlemen) very good and recommended by a lot of other Mums.
I would say definitely don't write off an antenatal class because of your planned C-section. You may find yourself in a situation where the baby comes early or things don't go to plan and you might have to consider other options. Having even some knowledge of what to expect and what is happening to you in this case is likely to make things less stressful. Also, will you have to go through the long non-active early stages of labour before you have your c-section? Knowing what to do, positions, pain relief options and what is happening to you is invaluable.

I did an NCT class and it's very much worth doing, sure they do push the natural birth route, but they did cover some c-section stuff as well, as well as newborn care. Though so much more is covered, like writing your birth plan, coping with PND, looking after yourself while pregnant and after the birth, and a whole session on breastfeeding. Plus there's the whole social side of getting to meet other mums-to-be. I think a couple of ladies in my NCT group had planned c-sections and they seemed to find the classes very useful still.
Congrats on your LO!

nickelbabe Fri 14-Oct-11 16:44:07

i just did a 3 session NHS course, and it was only the 2nd (labour and birth) session that might be irrelevant.
although, having said that, it's still worth going along to even that one, because you'll still have labour (the lady said that you have to be in labour, evne if they have to make it happen) when you have a c-section, so that the womb can shrink etc.
she did cover c-section in the 3rd session more, though.
It might be worth you asking the people who do the course to find out exactly what's in each session., because then you can decided which one you won't need to go to.

nickelbabe Fri 14-Oct-11 16:45:47

(sorry, jsut re-read and noticed you meant it was all in one day.)

I would be inclined to advise you to go anyway, really.

Even if only because you migth get extra info on stuff you thought you knew before.
it sounds like they'll listen to questions anyway, so if yo utell them in the session that you're c-section, they will cover that more than usual, i would think.

schmalex Fri 14-Oct-11 17:18:13

I'd be interested in knowing this too, I'm in the same position and due in March. Most classes do seem to be very focussed on labour and pain relief. I'd be nervous of going to NCT and saying I'm having an ELCS as I don't know how well it would go down!

ghislaine Fri 14-Oct-11 21:52:12

Sorry to do the old dreaded drip feed....

The class, according to the co-ordinator, covers: "how labour works, different options for birth, pain relief and postnatal care for you and your baby."

The thing is I am already on a separate hospital tour where I can ask all the c-section questions I like, and I have a pre-op consultation with the consultant where I assume (possibly naively) he will discuss the section and aftercare with me. Pain relief? Again, I assume there are no options there. I'm also doing a separate NHS breastfeeding class. I have a gynaecological condition that means a c-section is required so what I have been told is that it will take place in the week before my due date. I am going private for delivery so presumably will not be expected to endure the early stages of labour when I've (well the insurance co has) paid to have a consultant on call. I mean, I have never heard that you are required to be in labour or be induced before a c-section can begin. I bloody well hope not!

So I am not really inclined <bad mother alert> to sit through six hours of a class at the weekend when most of it won't apply to me on the off-chance I might pick up a useful nugget here and there. I also definitely got the vibe that my local NCT classes might not be too welcoming when my neighbour informed me proudly that "It was great - no City types - and we all agreed we are against private education". Sounds really diverse and ideologically neutral then!

What sort of things should a total newbie be learning about how to look after a newborn? I was wondering whether an independent midwife might offer a class to me and DH if I rang up and said "we need to know about x. And y. And z."

ghislaine Fri 14-Oct-11 21:54:32

Oh and thanks for the book rec, I'll definitely check that out.

StickyGhost Sat 15-Oct-11 14:56:28

I agree maybe an independent MW is your best bet, or perhaps a maternity nurse. Have you thought about hiring one or the other for a couple of days after the birth as an alternative if you can't get some kind of class beforehand.
Come to think of it, why are there no classes to teach us first timers the basics of newborn care, you'd think people might be tripping over themselves to cash-in on the cluelessness! Maybe found a niche there!
Hope everything works out well for you.

roseum Sun 16-Oct-11 10:13:21

The NCT do postnatal courses. Can't comment on what they are like as I haven't done one (I know about them because I got emailed about them when I signed up to their ante-natal course). So it might be worth checking out if they do those in your area?

RockChick1984 Mon 17-Oct-11 00:38:29

Only classes like that near me (and sorry if I'm wrong, but from your posts I don't think they would necessarily have the same sort of people there as yourself) is at our local surestart - they run antenatal classes, but also a separate parenting course for first time parents, just with basic caring for newborn stuff. I did the NCT classes, it was a 2 day workshop, and 2nd day was all about post natal, and caring for your baby.

ghislaine Mon 17-Oct-11 17:42:38

Is anyone entitled to use surestart? My only knowledge of them is from when I was a fulltime student a few years ago and another student friend had a baby - she used a lot of their services. I wasn't really thinking about babies etc at the time so didn't ask her (plus don't like to inquire about other people's financial positions).

I think a post-natal doula might also be an option if I get run out of my local NCT class! (All my neighbours seem to have had homebirths!)

nancerama Mon 17-Oct-11 18:15:44

I made some great friends at NHS and NCT classes, but gleaned very little information on baby care at either - they all focus mostly on the birth itself.

We did get the opportunity to bath and dress a doll at the NHS class, but I can't say it helped when faced with a small grumpy real baby a couple of months later.

I ended up having an EMCS in the end, and the NHS nurses on the ward during my 3 day stay were fabulous - they helped me with everything I was unsure about. I'm sure you'll get plenty of help while you're I'm hospital.

In my area, the health visitors invite you to attend postnatal classes too. We get 2 x 2 hour sessions once your baby is around 4 weeks old.

Try not to worry - I knew nothing of babies before I had my own, but instinct really takes over as soon as you have your baby in your arms.

nancerama Mon 17-Oct-11 18:21:33

Oh, and do check out your local Surestart centre. They are for everyone. Many have mum and baby groups and breastfeeding support. Sessions are generally free, or have a very small fee to cover refreshments.

notcitrus Mon 17-Oct-11 18:38:00

Ask your local SureStart centre/GP about postnatal courses - my PCT offered a 6-week 'parenting' course for us from 3 weeks ish which covered first aid, massage and bonding with your baby, a session on weaning, section on vaccination and why it's important, and generally a chance to meet other mums and ask HVs all those questions we had.

The hospital postnatal ward covered doing nappies, dressing a baby, and someone did come in offering a 'top and tail demo' but having had no sleep I told them to get stuffed.

My local NCT classes were great, but they do seem to vary across the country - maybe phone them and find out what local ones cover?

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