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NCT classes - what are they and are they worth it?

(25 Posts)
skinnylegs33 Tue 10-Feb-15 18:43:06


It's just that really: What are NCT classes, how are they different to what the antenatal clinic offers and how much are they roughly?
I have absolutely no friends here (where I am, in rl) and no one to ask, any info would be much appreciated.

Thank you.

AliMonkey Tue 10-Feb-15 18:55:54

Depends on course as they do a few but they are expensive - about £300 if I remember. We had friends who recommended them as they had made good friends there and were still in touch many years later. We didn't make any friends and I instead got friendly with those in my NHS classes. Partly though due to location as NCT classes not in our local town.

NHS classes usually mums only (or possibly one week with partners but in day time so not really possible for dads who don't have right to time off for them) so I saw main advantage of NCT as involving both of you.
Also longer so more chance for in depth discussion. If you can afford them do them but don't expect them to be amazing.

Heels99 Tue 10-Feb-15 18:57:37

Remember they are not run by qualified medical professionalq whereas the nhs ones are!

CurlsLDN Tue 10-Feb-15 19:05:29

Nct class cost different amounts in different areas, best to check the website for your areA.

I didn't do them, and my friends that did say they weren't worth it. Seems like people do them in order to make friends, but if you go to baby groups and classes you'll soon make friends anyway.

I did nhs classes, they were in the evening, husbands and partners came to all sessions except the breastfeeding workshop. I found them v informative aa they were run by the hospital where I was to give birth, so answered lots of real life questions such as what drugs they offer at what point, what the process is if you need an emergency c-section, how soon you can be discharged, where to parK, what to taktake, who to call etc. The nct classes can't answer those things as they are not connected to the hospital and the participants may be giving birth in lots of different places.

FiRaffe Tue 10-Feb-15 21:11:38

I can't compare to the hospital ones, but our NCT classes were brilliant. The course leader regularly meets up with midwives at our local hospitals and gave advice on what happens depending on where we were all having our babies.
She may not have been a midwife but she was well trained and gave loads of really helpful information. As far as we were concerned it was worth the £200ish it cost us, plus the extra benefit of meeting people in a similar situation.

GoooRooo Tue 10-Feb-15 21:13:41

NCT classes seem to be a bit hit and miss. I hated ours and only stayed for half the course. It was far too hippy dippy/whale music/no medical intervention/don't want to talk about anything but natural birth for me.

Other people love them - and it may have just been our teacher who was like that.

CuddlesfromChickens Tue 10-Feb-15 21:16:36

It depends on the area. Our NCT classes were great, worth every penny and our group still gets together regularly 8 years on (Dads too).

The local NHS classes were dire.

The early days with my twins were very, very hard. I owe my NCT group my mental health.

I did make lots of other friends at other baby groups but not until about 4 months. My NCT girls were there from day one.

CuddlesfromChickens Tue 10-Feb-15 21:18:01

Oh reGoos post - ours weren't hippy at all, they covered sections and all manner of interventions and pain relief.

DilysDerwent Tue 10-Feb-15 22:02:19

Ours was £300 (London) and pretty good - did cover C-sections, epidurals etc. Main benefit was meeting people though - 5 months on we still meet up a couple of times a week and constantly chat through WhatsApp. You can of course meet people through groups but that won't be immediate so it is good to have people to talk to in the early terrifying days. If you can afford it I'd do it.
I can't compare to NHS as I couldn't get a place on an NHS one (no one ever answered the phone number you were meant to book on!)

pinkie87 Tue 10-Feb-15 22:10:09

I live in Sussex and ours are going to cost £175. Obviously I haven't been yet so can't say if they are worth it! Hope so though.

Somemumsodd Tue 10-Feb-15 23:06:19

In our area the majority of people do it who can and mirror what cuddles says. I had no family support and nor did some of the others. We provided it for each other

ThunderboltKid Wed 11-Feb-15 07:37:17

Ours were in Sussex and were brilliant. Not at all hippy and really useful info. The friends I made have been amazing and we supported each other through the really tough stuff at the beginning and are still close now nearly 3 years on.

Our NHS classes were much more 'information based' whereas our NCT classes helped everyone get to know each other as well; without really forcing the issue.

applecore0317 Wed 11-Feb-15 07:43:08

We've booked the NCT signature course, mainly because the NHS classes are during the day which isn't feasible for my DH. Also heard great things about NCT classes being a good way to meet other Patents who are due around the same time, my friends still meet up with their NCT buddies two years later. Cost us £180 approx

applecore0317 Wed 11-Feb-15 07:43:31

also we paid in installments

Littlecaf Wed 11-Feb-15 08:50:33

We age just finished ours and enjoyed it and found it useful. I thought it would be full of smug people with grand visions of Stokke cots who wanted to call their PFB 'Esmerelda' or 'Beowolf' but everyone was really normal. The course leader was normal too, very neutral and informative. It's not supposed to be medical based, that's what the midwife/consultant is there for at your antenatal appointments. It covered labour and hormones (I had no idea about how hormones work, v important to know as I found out), birthing, pain relief, aftercare, csections, relationship between parents, feeding, maternity leave, etc etc. The course leader didn't 'push' breastfeeding, but I felt I could have benefitted more from there being further explanation of bottle feeding.

Local NHS classes were during the day which ment my DP couldn't attend due to work. I'd rather he kept on works' good side for scans and medical appointments rather than antenatal classes. It's a balance.

Our local midwives ran their own private classes too which were mentioned/pushed more by my midwife than NCT or the NHS classes! Now I don't think that's a problem with midwife setting up their own businesses running classes, but it did feel like she was reccomending her mates/colleagues over other options. If I'd done that in the public sector, I'd be done for conflict of interest.

skinnylegs33 Wed 11-Feb-15 22:04:25

Hi all,
many thanks for taking the time to reply.

After making an enquiry on their website I have received an email quoting £270 for a 14hr course (3 evenings and 1 morning). It is very local to us.

My only issue is that we live in an area that doesn't really reflect our social status; it is by sheer luck that we ended up here. Next door to us there is a primary school that charges £7k per term and to get a place you have to enrol your child as soon as he/she is born.
Anyway, as Littlecaf says, I worry that we'll meet people that we might not have much in common with. I might be wrong and I hope I am because the whole point of us attending this course is so I can meet local mums and hopefully form a network.

One other thing, course starts end of June and goes to mid July, I am due first week of August; would this be good timing or am I leaving it too late?

NCTCharity Thu 12-Feb-15 12:29:21

There are several options with our antenatal courses. Our NCT Signature antenatal course is a personalised and flexible course designed around your own information needs, and costs from £160. Alternatively our NCT Essentials antenatal course is a structured 12-hour course covering six essential themes, and costs from £70. All NCT courses are led by specially trained and experienced practitioners. Furthermore, every NCT course gives you the opportunity to meet other parents in your area. Everyone is welcome to pay by instalments and we offer discounts for parents in receipt of benefits or on lower incomes. Please visit our website to find out more.

WaitingForMe Thu 12-Feb-15 12:48:39

Mine was brilliant. The teacher was a bit annoying but the material was far better than the NHS class. Most importantly it was in the evening so all the dads were there as well and it felt very leisurely compared to the rushed NHS classes. Lots of time to drink tea and chat about our concerns.

What I liked was that I met a group of women that were like me. The bumps are now toddlers and we have plans to have lunch then a muddy afternoon. The very things that attracted us to the NCT meant we had more in common than due date.

Choccyhobnob Thu 12-Feb-15 14:47:40

NCTCharity do the essential courses cover breastfeeding? I was looking at the signature course for that reason but my DH would never do 2 x whole day classes! haha

PerryNotCider Thu 12-Feb-15 14:59:02

It depends, I know people that loved them and people that hated them. A lot depends on the teacher and who's on your course.

I couldn't afford them so didn't do them for that reason, and have met loads of people through baby groups for free. So just to reassure you can easily make friends elsewhere if you want to. I guess its nice to make nct friends if you have the spare cash though.

With the dates of course there's a small chance you might not finish the course. I had a preemie myself (it's not likely, but not wildly uncommon either, 1 in 10 chance) so I always think of this possibility!

Oh and everyone that has recommended their nct classes its more for the friends aspect rather than the lessons itself. Birth is one day, or a couple if you're unlucky with professionals to help you, courses are nice but you'll be fine without!

ch1134 Fri 13-Feb-15 23:23:20

We bonded over how dreadful the classes were. One year later I'd count 3 of the girls amongst my closest friends.
You don't have to join nct to take the classes. Saves about £40. Untick that box.

Chatty987 Sat 14-Feb-15 10:57:24

Fwiw I'd definitely recommend doing NCT. Various reasons - building up great support network, for dads to be to learn re pregnancy, labour and handling newborn (especially if they may not be inclined to read baby book) and building confidence for both of you prior to the birth. Opt out of the £40 membership as pp said to save on the cost. You could do free NHS classes too but from what I've heard they're more informative from a local hospital/medical perspective - and not holistic/network perspective.

misseskimo Sat 14-Feb-15 12:36:51

I think it really depends on the area! I had just moved to a new area before finding out I was pregnant. So when it came to it I was all set to pay the £300 for the nct classes as my old area didn't offer nhs ones. But some friends in my new Town said not to go for the nct as they had awful experiences. Whereas the nhs offers a really good free service in my area (my hospital is a mw teaching hospital so they do everything for that reason) so I've gone for that now... Mine offer 4 2.5hr hypno birthing sessions run by midwives and a specialist depending on discussion topics. Then an additional 3hr session on "new baby" run by midwives and a bf specialist which covers bf/ff, bathing, nappy changes and sleeping etc. All of our sessions encourage the parters to come, but its not compulsory. And they are all evening sessions bar the new baby one which is an afternoon.

newtonupontheheath Sat 14-Feb-15 14:25:41

You may find that the NHS classes are the people that attend the (sure start-type) playgroups, and then nursery/school with your dc. This is what has happened to us, and even though I am not best friend with these women, we have known each other for the best part of 5 years now, as has our dc. Which is actually lovely smile

museumum Sat 14-Feb-15 14:30:08

Nct are far far better than nhs classes at facilitating the bonding / sharing contact info part. If you know nobody where you are Id say it's worth it. Other possibilities are antenatal yoga and aquanatal. If you are taking mat leave and your partner works mon-fri then making contact with other mums before the birth is a very good idea. My most enjoyable days in the early weeks were get together in some bodies house as they are far more relaxing than going out to a baby group in a hall somewhere.

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