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Are NCT classes going to be as awful as I'm expecting?

(62 Posts)
SpecialStains Tue 14-Jun-16 22:31:11

Had to sign up for NCT classes as it meant that DH and I could get it over and done with in two weekend days, as opposed to committing to once a week for 6 weeks with our local NHS ones (we'd never get out of work on time).

After weeks of patronising generic emails, with helpful hints such as suggesting that I take a nap if I'm tired in the day (okay, will just pass that one onto my manager at work), we've had an email from the course organiser.

I'm expected to bring items to create a 'birthing nest'. Suggested nesting items apparently include homeopathy oils and baby scans to focus on. Is this normal? Not sure DH and I are going to get on with this...

In all seriousness, what did non-woo people take along to create their 'birth nest' with?!

MrsCornish Tue 14-Jun-16 22:34:55

oh dear! hopefully there will be some other non-wooers and you can bond over your absence of nest-making equipment.
my NCT classes were ok, my NHS ones a lot more 'me'. but they all served their purpose, which was to give me an idea of what to expect. kind of.

AlexandraEiffel Tue 14-Jun-16 22:35:10

They're not compulsory. I don't understand why you're going if it's not your thing. Perhaps get a book instead?

MrsCornish Tue 14-Jun-16 22:37:04

i'd say it's useful to go along, husband might take on info that he wouldn't otherwise (unless you read a book out loud to him smile), and you might meet some people to share the lead-up and possibly aftermath with.

welshweasel Tue 14-Jun-16 22:39:17

The content of my nct classes was not that great (although we didn't have to make nests) but the group of people I met literally saved my sanity during mat leave. Worth every penny. In fact I'd pay ten times over.

PolaroidsFromTheBeyond Tue 14-Jun-16 22:39:26

If it's not your thing, don't go. They are not obligatory. There is nothing in the course that you couldn't learn in a couple of hours on the Internet.

SpecialStains Tue 14-Jun-16 22:40:27

I wanted to do some form of birthing classes, NHS ones didn't fit with mine and DHs jobs and there's no other private options in the area. We've paid now, so we're going.

I just wanted an idea of what to expect for giving birth from a teacher with more experience - there was nowt about homeopathy in the initial booking information I had! I was wondering if this was normal, and would be interested to hear how other people got the most from these classes, if homeopathy, earth mother isn't quite your thing.

Alexandra Have you any good book recommendations?

2ManySweets Tue 14-Jun-16 22:42:12

Nests! I didn't have to take any nests.

I've stopped my NCT bashing on here so lol I'll say is this:

Do you need to make baby friends? If so do it. If it's not a top priority, find alternative NHS classes. Some are done in one day and are much more clinically honest about epidurals, CS's, inductions etc.

MyDarlingWhatIfYouFly Tue 14-Jun-16 22:43:13

I loved NCT - made some great friends. I'm about as anti-woo as they come. No birth nests on our course, but I guess it depends on who is running them.

SpecialStains Tue 14-Jun-16 22:44:24

Thanks MrsCornish and WelshWeasel - you are reassuring me that some normal people go to these things! I have been looking forward to starting them, as I hope they give me a bit more confidence about what to expect in labour. I had what I think was Braxton Hicks this week, which sent me into a panic about being in labour, and that I can't go into labour until I've done my birthing classes!

Honestly, the course content I read before signing up was nothing like the e-mail I had today.

Peppapogstillonaloop Tue 14-Jun-16 22:45:40

I'd say NcT main benefit is the people you meet who will Hopefully be like minded and will be a life saver when babies are small. The course content is mixed and I found a lot of it a bit woo and the obsession with natural birth annoying but if you ignore all that it's ok!
I would just ignore the nest requirement tbh!

farfallarocks Tue 14-Jun-16 22:46:55

Yes. Just eat the biscuits and make friends honestly the rest is utter tosh. We bonded over quite how dreadful the teacher was and still meet for boozy dinners 4 years later

SpecialStains Tue 14-Jun-16 22:49:06

Okay then, lets hope that despite two paragraphs of nesting in the e-mails, that nesting will not be a huge part of the course! I'm not trying to NCT bash - I willingly signed up for this course!

I am hoping to make friends as I know no-one locally with babies, but I read the emails and had that horrible sinking feeling that I'd wasted money on classes that DH and I were really not going to get on with. It just read very differently to the course info when I first signed up.

As previously mentioned, we really couldn't do the NHS courses offered in our area. Weekday evenings were too difficult to guarantee both of us finishing work on time.

mushroomsontoast Tue 14-Jun-16 22:49:16

It just depends. I didn't do NCT for DC1, but found there were so many people in the NHS free class there wasn't really room for making friends, it wasn't that kinda thing.

With DC2 I had a bit more time bored and lonely so I went all out and signed up for a NCT 'refresher' class for second time parents, and also an NCT run yoga class. The people I met at the refresher class were rather pretentious and not my kind of people at all, it all fizzled out after the babies were born. The people I met at yoga class were amazing! You just never know. Worth a try I say!

SpecialStains Tue 14-Jun-16 22:50:44

Thanks MyDarling, PeppaPog and FarFallaRocks, you're reassuring me that I'll get something out the course!

SpecialStains Tue 14-Jun-16 22:53:46

And you Mushrooms.

I just momentarily had visions of a day of being lectured about homeopathy and having to make lots of small talk with people who ardently believe in such things (healthcare scientist here, anything non-evidence based is never going to suit me - though whatever gets people through the day is up to them).

MabelSideswipe Tue 14-Jun-16 22:54:16

Why don't you email.back and ask why the teacher is suggesting homeopathy oils when there is no evidence homeopathy works? All NCT practitioners should be guided by research based evidence. They all do things diffetently because they are individuals but they are also guided by the needs and wants of the group. If you feel its too 'woo' let her know. The reason she is wants you to design a 'birth nest' is because it is known that a safe, quiet, comfy, warm, dark, private environment nutures oxytocin which is the hormone that drives labour, helps you cope, helps bonding and feeding the baby. Take anything along that makes you feel comfy, warm, safe and snug etc. A different teacher might get you to design the ideal birth environment on paper.

AlexandraEiffel Tue 14-Jun-16 22:54:16

Re books, it depends on your ethos. I'd suggest having a look at a few to find ones that fit with your approach. I sense ones I'd recommend might not be what you'd like.

Bubbinsmakesthree Tue 14-Jun-16 23:05:25

Go for the people! You aren't guaranteed to make life-long friends, but the having people you can share the trauma joy of the newborn phase with is a real lifesaver. If you're doing a weekend course you need to make an extra effort as it's less time to build friendships in. We set up a whatsapp group for all the mums and although we had all got on OK during the classes it was the bonding over 3am messages about chapped nipples that cemented the group.

And not to be stereotypical, but it is a good way to get partners engaged in some of the detail that you might otherwise struggle with. I think every last partner in the room HATED doing breathing exercises and stuff in the classes but it was a great help for me during the birth.

SpecialStains Tue 14-Jun-16 23:12:41

Thanks for the advice, everyone. It is appreciated. Bubbins I'll try and make sure I form a whatsapp group or facebook group or something.

Alexandra I've already read a few different books, and DH has medical training so our ethos is that you can't really plan for these things, but we'd like to try as 'natural' or 'non-interventional' as possible, but if baby or I need medical help then that's what we do (hopefully avoiding a c-section as much as possible, as I don't like the idea of being awake while they do the operation). I'm a high risk pregnancy, so there is a chance I'll be induced at 37weeks and I'm giving birth consultant led in a hospital.

Again, with breast feeding, I want to give it a go, but not going to matyr myself if it doesn't work out. A happy, healthy baby is the ultimate aim - I'm not bothered how I get one!

For my nest, will pillows and DHs hand be enough? DH had very medical friends do the NCT classes in our area and recommended them to us. Hopefully they'll be ok. smile

Mabel Thanks for the advice.

DancingDinosaur Tue 14-Jun-16 23:14:01

I thought it was really boring but I did make some great friends from it. So it was worth it for that.

ReallyTired Tue 14-Jun-16 23:19:09

The NCT classes I did many years ago were good at explaining the birthing process. It explained the advantages and disadvantages of various birth options and pain relief. There was a session on breastfeeding.

The NCT heavily promotes natural childbirth and is anti epidurals. It's not everyone's cup of tea. I assume you mean aromatherapy oils rather than homeopathy. The theory is that scented oils/ candles help people relax.

However some aromatherapy oils are not suitable for pregnant women due to being toxic. Some oils like lavender can cause premature labour. This is because lavender is poisonous it's not homeopathy.

Sophia1984 Tue 14-Jun-16 23:24:54

Do you mean aromatherapy oils? Have never read anything recommending homeopathy in pregnancy (and can't imagine there is any evidence of it having any more than a placebo effect - though I do use rescue remedy), but I think there probably is evidence of aromatherapy helping people relax/boosting oxytocin and therefore helping with labour.

We were asked to bring pillows, yoga mats and exercise balls if we had them, just so we would be comfy and so we could practise labour positions.

I think NCT tutors are given a certain degree of freedom in Mine talked pretty much equally about medical pain relief and non-medical alternatives. I found the first weekend session a bit disappointing, but the second one was better, and I was really enjoyed the half-day breastfeeding session. I do think they should make it more clear when you book what style of tutor you are going to have, and also how large the class is going to be - there were only 4 of us at mine, which I've been a bit disappointed with as it kind of reduces the chances of making friends..

AlexandraEiffel Tue 14-Jun-16 23:25:25

If you want to avoid intervention, then personally I think you'll learn loads at NCT. You'll learn about how birth works, the mechanisms your body has in place to cope, how you can work with them, how you can increase the chance of your natural coping mechanisms kicking in.

I had to have my first in hospital as my baby was expected to need immediate care when born. But I was able to use knowledge gained to ensure the environment worked with me not against me.

There's science between the idea of a nest as someone has already mentioned, in relation to hormones. Conceptualising it as a nest may not be the way you might, but I'd try and see past that to get the most out of the classes. They know what they're talking about even if the wording isn't the way you might.

AnnaMarlowe Tue 14-Jun-16 23:27:24

There was nothing 'woo' at the NCT classes we attended (no nesting, no homeopathy etc) and our local NHS classes were dreadful.

However the biggest benefit of our class was the friends we made. Nine years on we get together regularly with those couples and their children. Some those women kept me going through the very tough early days with my twins.

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