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What do you think about Kirstie Allsopp's view on NCT Classes?

(71 Posts)
LaurenCaddy Fri 04-Jan-13 19:11:04

So Kirstie Allsopp (Kirstie's Vintage Home ect) has slated NCT classes.

The NCT - despite being a rite of passage for middle-class parents to be - does not prepare women sufficiently for the possibility of birth complications, she has claimed after she had to have 2 cesareans not by choice. She said she was made to feel like a failure for them not being natural.

She described its classes as "politicised”, “dogmatic” and “scary”.

I have booked some NCT, and my first is on January 19th, and i too have been warned about the stereotyping to younger mums/couples.

Me and my partner are 21, and if someone was too look down upon me, and talk to me like a child, my mouth may get the better of me.

Your thoughts/opinions?

Full statement:

Daisy17 Fri 04-Jan-13 19:14:57

Depends on the class. The lady who took mine was brilliant, a mother and midwife herself, informative and balanced, neutral on all contentious matters. But I know other people who have had the same experience that Kirsty appears to have had. Pot luck on who is in charge, I think.

rrreow Fri 04-Jan-13 19:23:07

The class I went to was well balanced. The person conducting it was a bit of a 'natural' type, so maybe not as much was covered about interventions (but it was definitely touched upon). Also I think it's difficult to strike a balance between talking about everything that can happen, but not making people unnecessarily scared by having an overly large emphasis on stuff that can go wrong. You worry enough in your first pregnancy as is.

Also there is a lot of pressure on people to have some type of heroic natural birth. The pressure is built up from the beginning and magnifies in your head. I feel the most judgy person is usually yourself (as in you're usually the most self-critical and induce your own guilt, about pretty much anything). I'd find it hard to believe that people afterwards would actually judge someone for having a cesarean or make them feel bad about them (but if there are such people, shame on them I guess).

I don't know. I feel pregnancy and motherhood in general are pretty guilt-ridden as a whole, and it's mostly us making ourselves suffer or putting words into other people's mouths ('oh that woman is looking at me, she must think I'm the most terrible mother to my toddler' 'my baby should be sleeping through by now, what am I doing wrong?').

GoodnessMeNoGinInTheHouse Fri 04-Jan-13 19:24:39

The classes I attended were ok. But breastfeeding was pushed and nothing helpful was discussed around bottle feeding. You were made to feel guilty for asking about other options in terms of birth plans, pain relief, bottle feeding etc They covered but glossed over c sections or pain relief above gas and air. I was unprepared for my category 1 c section and after effects. I suffered PTSD afterwards but that could have happened anyway. I in no way blame them but it would have been good to be more prepared for if things don't go to plan. But I was under no illusion that NCT classes would be any different (from anecdotal evidence) and also mainly used the classes to meet others and make friends. Nearly 2 years later we all still meet up which is great.

Imabadmum Fri 04-Jan-13 19:25:50

I went to NCT classes and agree that they are perhaps not the best preparation for labour.

I wrote my birthing plan, like I was told to, following the dogma of no pain relief. I wanted a natural birth, soft lights, soothing music, a calm and relaxed atmosphere to welcome my unstressed new born to, my partner massaging my shoulders, mopping my brow and offering me fruit nice through a straw.

The reality bore no relation to this. I will spare you the details but I was woefully unprepared and felt like I had let myself, my baby and my partner down.

My second baby (some 8 years later) was born at home and was much more in line with the NCT theories. But not because of them.

I won't comment on Kirsties views, but regarding the NCT, go to the classes, but don't take their word as gospel, approach your labour with an open mind and go with the flow.

Good luck xxx

TwitchyTail Fri 04-Jan-13 19:27:51

Agree they seem to vary from place to place. Some people swear by them. My area unfortunately has a reputation for the strictly all-natural whale-music-in-a-lavender-field-or-you're-a-failure approach, and I'm at high risk of needing a Caesarean, so I'm keeping my £240 to myself thanks very much.

I also dislike the way it has seeped into common consciousness as the "only" way to gain mother friends. I know people who haven't been on them and made friends through breastfeeding groups, baby activity groups, etc. The NCT also do post-natal groups for a fraction of the price.

Maybe ask around people who've been on courses in your local area?

minimisa Fri 04-Jan-13 19:29:11

I have to say I agree with the allsop. Ours was run by a pretty loopy woman who mentioned carrying the placenta in a lavender bag until it dropped off! She was extremely negative about hospital births and by the end I was fuming and dying to point out that historically many, many women died in childbirth and still do in many parts of the world.

LaurenCaddy Fri 04-Jan-13 19:34:45

I'm travelling to Weston Super Mare for ours, i was lucky, i would never pay the full £174 for the 3 sessions and a meet up session, but because i'm worked seasonal and then went on to income support, i got a 90% discount, so have only paid £17.40.

Tbh i'm not really bothered about making friends, if it happens that would be nice, but i'm there for me, my partner and my baby to get as much information as possible.

I too have heard the pushyness of the breast feeding session, but as it is something i would like to try i'll appreciate the information, but would like to know about bottle feeding ect just incase it doesn't work out for me.

I don't think i'll have a perfect birth, as i have low BMI currently and if i don't get it up on time, i won't get a water birth which i would like.

I'm more worried about judgmental people.

Littlemissexpecting Fri 04-Jan-13 19:41:07

I'm the opposite to Lauren, I'm looking to go to meet other mums rather than course content although I'm sure that will be useful.
I think it's a bit unfair to expect any antenatal course to cover every possible situation or complication in pregnancy.
Go and hopefully you will get what you want from it but just bear in mind that anything can happen in labour

StrawberryMojito Fri 04-Jan-13 19:49:45

I only went to a post natal course but it was a good mix of people and ages (24-36), the instructor was lovely and non judgemental. Everyone had different birth experiences and it was interesting to hear the different stories but nobody judged me or the others in the class that had every form of pain relief going or the woman who had a c section. Some of us were breast feeding, some weren't and again, nobody cared. One poor woman was suffering extreme pnd so we don't see that much of her but a year down the line we are all still in touch and meet up regularly. It was money well spent.

BikeRunSki Fri 04-Jan-13 19:57:51

I did NCT and only dealt with both my emcs because of them! We'd done a "c section role play" in which I was the "patient". When I had my baby a few weeks later and needed an emcs (wanted a water birth, but footling breech diagnosed at 10cm dilation) It was because of the NCT role play exercise that I didn't freak out that there were 12 medical people in the room.

elizaregina Fri 04-Jan-13 19:58:34


I find in life generally unless someone specifically says to you " I think you are x y and z" i really wouldnt worry you have no idea whats going on in other peoples heads - and to be honest what is going on in thier heads is non of your business.

as others have said it totally depends on your group - they could be anyone from anywhere and perhaps all there on reduced rates like you!

persoanlly i would never rely on only one source anyway for info and as you are already on MN you have an invaluble source of info on every aspect of labour/births/Bf etc....

i would also try and do NHS course as well as NCT..and if you dont get on with your group or like the leader - try the post natal course...its all a bit of pot luck...

re making friends it depends on your personality but - the fact its usually smaller groups - everyone has a turn to talk - you all share and talk about quite initmate things - means people open up quicker - so can be opp to make friends and it can be isolating being stuck in with baby.

LovesBeingAtHomeForChristmas Fri 04-Jan-13 19:59:18

Her comments are nothing I haven't read on here before.

Root99 Fri 04-Jan-13 20:02:50

NCT worked well for us. Our group was fab and we're still all good friends three years later. I remember the sessions being more of a class led experience with the NCT lady seeming to be there to facilitate rather than dictate to us.
Out of eight couples six had c-sections and the two planned home births didn't happen so we weren't all soft lighting and lavender in any way. Of course most people weren't planning to have a c-section but we did cover them and it didn't feel judgemental to me.
The best thing I found was that all our babies were exactly the same age so the group was an invaluable help at different stages when you wanted to compare things.

MrsHerculePoirot Fri 04-Jan-13 20:04:07

Agree it differs from teacher to teacher. Ours was lovely and really did just tell us the facts - both about labour and birth and about what to expect with a baby afterwards. When in labour I very much felt as if I was in control and understood what was going on at all times. I ended up with a EMCS.

DH also found them useful as he knew nothing at all beforehand I think. Three years later I am still very good friends with 2 others and we still meet every two weeks! Again luck if the draw I think!

niminypiminy Fri 04-Jan-13 20:13:10

For the first time ever I agree with Kirstie Allsopp.

IME NCT classes are run by pie-in-the-sky fantasists who peddle a view of childbirth that is frankly unachievable by many, perhaps most women, and sets us up for disappointment, or worse.

I expected that I would make friends with my NCT group but basically I had very little in common with them aside from the fact that we were all pregnant and could all stump up the extortionate fee.

loveschocolate Fri 04-Jan-13 20:13:19

I didn't find the content particularly useful but met really nice people. The teacher started trying to go down the airy fairy whale music route but quickly realised that we were not engaging with it and changed the approach

LaurenCaddy Fri 04-Jan-13 20:19:48

I've opted for NHS classes as well, and have them also coming up, which i think will benefit me more due to them being more local.

I'm lucky as i have a sister with a very young baby, and some friends due at the same time. So i have people i already know to talk to and discuss. I'm involved in various groups, but the Weston NCT classes, i hear are well known for having generally judgmental people. But i'm taking all the options open to me because there's not many things for parents/to be parents to get involved in around here.

Fingers crossed for the good useful information, covering sections rather than all natural. I think i'd have fun if it involved role play.

Maria101 Fri 04-Jan-13 22:09:22

My NCT teacher was a bit snidey about intervention, c-sections and bottle feeding & I've heard similar stories from friends. HOWEVER, I made some brilliant friends there who I still see regularly. Most people I know go along to the classes to make friends, rather than get info on pregnancy and birth as what they tell you in class you can read about in most books or pregnancy magazines. I'd definitely go along to NCT though, as you pick up some useful bits and can make great friends who will get you through the early days.

Rockchick1984 Sat 05-Jan-13 08:30:35

I was by far the youngest at my NCT class but to be honest I wasn't viewed any differently and 2 years later am still friends with some of the other women from the course and still have occasional texts and phone calls with the others we just didn't get on as well as I did with the others.

On the first day the teacher ran through what she was going to cover and asked if we wanted to look into anything else. One couple were very interested in pain relief so this was comprehensibly covered, Caesarians were talked about but not very in depth.

Overall I found them fantastic, but definitely agree it depends on your teacher. I did them for the social aspect but found them to be informative as well - particularly for DH as he's not the type to go looking for info but he liked knowing what to expect and what could go wrong!

Notmyidea Sat 05-Jan-13 08:56:28

I did nct classes with my first. They were very balanced, most of the mums in my group ended up with c-sections and went on to do the post-natal group, too.
It didn't suit me, though. I needed a bit more of the natural philosophies and critisism of obstetrics. They were very "this is a nice, cuddly area with a high homebirth rate" when I needed to fight because of risk factors. I got there 2nd timesmile

jkklpu Sat 05-Jan-13 09:02:41

Depends entirely on the person doing it. I think it's reasonable, though, to expect parents-to-be to do more research on their own than just attend a few classes. The web has gazillions of sites as well as all the books available. Midwives train for years so you can hardly expect everything about childbirth and before and afterwards to be covered by the NCT.

Pandasandmonkeys Sat 05-Jan-13 10:56:33

We had a fantastic NCT leader. We covered all types of pain relief in detail, what happens during a c section and why one might be needed and other types of assisted birth. She was pro natural birth, and a bit of a hippy type, but none of us felt under pressure or patronised. I had planned a water birth at home bit last minute complications mean I ended up with a c section before I even went into labour. The NCT woman was amazingly supportive when I told her what had happened, even offered to arrange counselling for me as I was very trAumatised from my experience. We had a different bf specialist for our bf session, again she was very down to earth and told it like it is.

lljkk Sat 05-Jan-13 11:14:02

I can't comment because it was impossible for me to attend NCT. Antenatal classes were only held on Tuesdays when I already had to work an 11 hour day, plus a few all day weekends including one when I had to host a work colleague visiting from Denmark. All rather impossible.

backwardpossom Sat 05-Jan-13 11:15:44

"I also dislike the way it has seeped into common consciousness as the "only" way to gain mother friends. I know people who haven't been on them and made friends through breastfeeding groups, baby activity groups, etc."

This. There are plenty of places you will make friends as new parents.

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