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Antenatal classes- NCT, NHS or not just speak to friends?

(44 Posts)
cherrypieplum Wed 15-Feb-12 15:12:43

I'm wondering whether or not it's worth going to antenatal classes? For a start there isn't much in my local area (that I can find) and I don't know if it's worth forking out the NCT money?

EverybodysSnowyEyed Wed 15-Feb-12 15:16:20

I went to my NHS classes. i found them useful, made friends and had a tour of the maternity ward.

I would be wary about asking friends - not sure they can be objective!!

sittinginthesun Wed 15-Feb-12 15:17:27

It is a good way to build up a network of local friends. Worth it, just for that really.

EdithWeston Wed 15-Feb-12 15:19:46

Yes, it is worth going, as understanding what happens during the delivery process and the implications of the frequently used drugs and other interventions will inform your choices. You can get this information from other sources, but being in a class is a good way to learn and you should be able to rely on it being sound information and up to date.

There is also the social aspect, but if you already know people with small babies, or who will be producing them at about the same time, then perhaps you won't feel the need to find ways to meet more people who will be new parents at the same time as you. The people you meet at classes may well not be ones you would make friends with at any other time in your life, but they can be great allies, and/or sources of info about what is going on in your area for babies/toddlers.

ayearoverdue Wed 15-Feb-12 15:20:24

I found NCT brilliant, well worth the money. We were skint and got a discount. I found the information invaluable. I've heard mixed reviews from other people but for me it was great. A lot of my class also did the NHS tour / class as well.

Friends are great but information isn't always well put across or correct.

cerys74 Wed 15-Feb-12 15:23:06

I met some great people in my NCT classes, despite being increasingly dubious of what the classes were actually telling me! The classes I went to seemed to be heavy on natural everything and low on scientific fact, so I didn't find them immensely helpful. But the people made up for it and I still see everybody now (regularly) 8m after my DS was born! A very useful social network (and fun too).

My midwife says one of her other patients summed it up thusly: "The NCT classes made birth sound fluffy and lovely, the NHS classes made birth sound incredibly bleak. I'm glad I went to both and got a balanced perspective!"

TessTickular Wed 15-Feb-12 15:24:00

NCT = middle class friend buying service. Mine weren't very friendly. Got my money back.

buonasera Wed 15-Feb-12 15:32:52

I went to my NHS classes - was very useful in terms of who to contact and when, what to expect before and after delivery, and just where everything is (finally now after I think what, 5 hospital antenatal appts and 4 antenatal classes I know my way around) and also they showed us the NICU which was reassuring.

Loads of people have mentioned to me that I could make friends at my antenatal classes but it didn't really work for me, I'm not great at making friends with people in the 5 minutes standing at the lifts after the class smile Everyone seemed very nice and we all swapped email addresses but that was it really.

EverybodysSnowyEyed Wed 15-Feb-12 19:49:40

All of my NHS class friends have moved away (I'm trying not to take it personally) but now I'm starting to make friends with DS's friends parents. I also made friends by going to baby groups

I found the classes a useful source of info but did my own reading so I already had an idea of what I wanted to do.

DH found the classes useful too!

rednellie Thu 16-Feb-12 06:04:15

Went to NHS classes run by community midwives and a weekend NCT course. The midwife led course was brilliant - much wider cross section of people attending, very factual as well as being reassuring and matter of fact. Also, as I was planning a home birth I got to meet all 4 of our local midwives which was a great bonus.

Am still very good friends with one of the other women from the group 2 years down the line.

(Don't ask friends, or at least only ask ones you trust - the rest will just give you horror stories!)

belindarose Thu 16-Feb-12 07:11:46

DH and I were talking about this last night (NCT) - pg with dc2. Neither us can remember finding any of it useful, at all. I met up with the new mum and babies a few times but didn't click with anyone. None of the group did really, I don't think it was just me. I met some wonderful new friends at postnatal groups and moved away 6 months later when I had to start finding new friends. Much harder at that point!

We do look back fondly to the time when we had a spare £100+ and a spare evening each week to attend though!

lottiegb Thu 16-Feb-12 09:46:39

Reading books is the other option of course and I thought that would be the best way of getting information for us.

We did NHS classes (2 together in one afternoon) to involve DP (though he's been reading too), because being told things directly can make them more memorable, especially clear directions about what to do, and in case there was any specific information they'd give us about the way they work. This was ok, quite light on information, essentially reassuring everyone that 'this happens, you come to us, we'll look after you and it will all be fine'. It did prompt me to think about a couple of practical things.

I also did a one day women's only class at the local health centre, which was good as everyone was local, we chatted over lunch, swapped contact details and are due to have coffee (this is all very recent, so practically, I've yet to put it all to the test!) but covered exactly the same material as the other class.

I think NCT classes tell you more about the decisions made along the way and what choices you have. There may be an emphasis on drug-free birth but they're just giving you information. A couple of friends have done them and found them useful either from that point of view or for meeting people.

If they operated in our neighbourhood I might have done them for the 'meeting people' purpose but they don't. The money and considerably greater time involved were off-putting too. They do coffee mornings and things, free, later anyway. I did a local pre-natal exercise class as a social thing and there are quite a few mother and baby activities.

I put a question to the MW running the local class from one of these friends, about the injection given to speed delivery of the placenta, which from the friend's understanding of NCT information is to get everything dealt with quickly for the convenience of the staff, not for the mother's benefit but generally just given without asking - the friend declined it but wouldn't have been offered the choice if she hadn't known to speak up. The MW clearly didn't see it that way, though admitted it's only medically necessary if after a little while there's heavy bleeding or other problem and aid that of course you're always asked before being given any drug and do have a choice - then said this one is by injection in the leg just after the birth - probably not the best time for a discussion about its desirability. So, if you're concerned about minimising drugs and knowing what choices you can and can't make, NCT are probably good. NHS do emphasise choices about pain relief but there was an element of 'we'll look after you it will all be fine', which is probably true of course.

VikingLady Thu 16-Feb-12 13:43:09

We did both NHS and NCT and both were really useful, and both told us something useful that we hadn't known before. We didn't really get any new friends out of them, but that might be because I'm not a very friendly person with strangers!

Stuff we didn't know were things like why certain interventions are needed and when they might be, and how to clean the baby, putting it with the feet to the bottom of the crib (and why), and all the stuff you don't need to buy!

I also got a discount on NCT. If you can't, then I would still do the NHS ones. You can always drop out if you don't feel you are getting anything from them.

ImCoveredInBeeeees Thu 16-Feb-12 13:48:41

NCT all the way. They will cover what you need to know, and you meet some people who will be in the same boat as you. DO NOT rely on your friends unless you know a group of doctors with obstetric experience and midwives!!

Weezie85 Thu 16-Feb-12 14:41:31

I will be attending NCT. Can't find any information on NHS ones, the only classes I can see are excersize classes, which are all on during the day. They don't seem to cater much towards those who actually work which is rubbish.

mummysfirsttime Thu 16-Feb-12 21:38:28

Out of interest how much do the nct classes usually cost? I know you have to pay to become a member, are the courses a further additional charge? Thanks in advance x

DialMforMummy Thu 16-Feb-12 22:12:35

They cost about £230. I met some reasonable people with whom I am no longer in contact with. And as I ffed and had a cs, none of the discussion were of actually use to me. Waste of money.
I you can spare the cash, why not but I'd do the NHS one as well for a more balanced view.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Thu 16-Feb-12 22:16:32

NHS useful if run at the hospital you are booked at. Will give you a good idea of the general ethos of the hospital, give you a tour so you know where the out of hours entrance is and where to park. Give you lots of useful hospital specific info like what you need to bring, what they provide, visiting hours etc.

Iggly Thu 16-Feb-12 22:26:05

NCT classes covered CS and FF. We had a whole role play on a CS.

Also covered all pain relief options.

I could say that the classes were useless as I didn't have some of the pain relief options, didn't have a water birth etc but they were useful for informing me and meeting other mums.

As it goes I didn't gel with many in my group so didn't work out but I know some mums who have made firms friends via NCT. However you can do that by other means.

Being a new mum can be isolating if you don't have anyone else with babies of a similar age so I'd do something to give yourself a chance o meeting up with people when you've got a 3 week old, your parent has gone back to work and you feel a bit overwhelmed with it all.

babyphat Thu 16-Feb-12 23:07:42

i didn't get £200 worth of information and definitely not £200 worth of friends from NCT classes. i didn't learn anything that i hadn't either read in a pregnancy book or on MN, and the other people were really nice, but lived a bit far from me and we didn't especially click.

they were quite fun in terms of getting excited about the baby and stuff though.

Weezie85 Fri 17-Feb-12 07:29:44

I didn't have to join the NCT as a member. I asked them if I had to and I didn't. Also got a discount as I am the main wage earner and other half has just started his own business.
Going to ask midwife today about NHS classes, seems crazy that I can't find any information about them.
I wanted to do some classes to meet people first of all as all our friends don't have kids so would like to try and meet people who are going through the same. smile

sleepybump Fri 17-Feb-12 08:50:53

Went to both about 6m ago with my DP. Very very useful/helpful... I cant believe some of the daft advice our parents were trying to pass on, things theyd done just because their parents had told them too! The nct was more indepth simply due to them being day sessions instead of shorter evenings with the nhs. Both gave advice based on up to date research and answered all our (sometimes odd!) questions fully. The breastfeeding sessions were far better with the nhs-they at least also offered a little advice/handouts on bpttle feeding where the nct girl simply said she was not allowed to! They both though gave pros/cons to formula feeding based on research (ie hpw babies stomach expands quicker etc). Glad i went to both, gave me a really balanced opinion on my options smile though a 6hr day with the nct whille 8m pg was not easy going!

Nhs was varied group of parents in small (cosey) room with community midwives and got tour of the facilities etc. (ive heard stories though of powerpoint presentations in hosp lecture theatres in inner city hospitals!). Nct was with mainly older, middle-class, parents. Nct costs £140 here, we had a slight reduction on this due to finabcial circumstances, and no you do not have to be a member, (though when you pay online the cost of membership is auto-added on top (just remove if dont want)). Nhs was free of course.


sleepybump Fri 17-Feb-12 08:56:53

Ps we didnt ' meet' anyone from the sessions as from different areas with nct people (but we did have one reunion which was great to see all the babies!), and had little chance to chat with nhs people because the course was short. Ive met faaar more people throygh nct bumps and babies sessions/local playgroup and baby sensory... Trick is to get out there and join in with loads of stuff pnce babies here and you're mobile smile x

KikiRC Fri 17-Feb-12 08:58:07

I've been to the first (of 4) NHS ones locally- to be honest I knew most of what they taught, but it was still quite reassuring. I think I'm more likely to have made friends from the pregnancy yoga class I've been going to, but that's just down to chance, really- you never know who you'll meet at these things.

sleepybump Fri 17-Feb-12 08:59:10

...Also our nct one was £140 before reduction... They cost different in different areas of the country.

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