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Antenatal Classes - do I really need them?

(25 Posts)
katelewis320 Mon 26-Sep-16 17:52:35

Hello, my first post and just a question about antenatal classes. I'm due in January and am looking at classes but can't seem to get anything sorted. Are they completely essential? I booked an NCT course but it was so expensive I ended up cancelling my place. I have looked at the NHS ones but can't make any of the times and it's stressing me out. I feel like of course they will give you valuable information about birth, pain management and preparing for baby but isn't that stuff I can find out myself. I have been doing a lot of reading so don't feel completely in the dark. I guess I am asking if anyone didn't go to antenatal classes and got by? I would love to hear anyone's opinion on them!

JohnLapsleyParlabane Mon 26-Sep-16 17:55:11

My NHS class was useful in that I found out about parking charges at the hospital and out of hours access. I wish we had done NCT as its a great way to make local friends with babies the same age. I am finding it difficult to join established groups.

Oysterbabe Mon 26-Sep-16 17:55:49

The NCT classes are more about building a support network of people with babies the same age. My DD is 9 months and I still meet with my NCT friends every week. I would say the course itself wasn't anything you couldn't easily research yourself.

Afreshstartplease Mon 26-Sep-16 18:11:06

I'm due baby 4 in October and I've never taken a single class

Mine all survived

imwithspud Mon 26-Sep-16 18:14:06

I have 2 dc and have never been to an ante natal class. They are not necessary at all.

UnicornPee Mon 26-Sep-16 18:21:13

I didn't go and did just fine
This was with no experience at all of babies ever.
All my friends told me they were a waste of time/ cheesy/ for hippy women

notinagreatplace Mon 26-Sep-16 18:35:36

I just finished doing my NCT course – information-wise, there really wasn’t anything there that I hadn’t or couldn’t have easily researched for myself. I did find it a useful prompt to talk through certain things with my DH. I also found it useful to meet couples having babies at the same time – particularly because I live in central London and so don’t really have any properly local friends (i.e. within walking distance). But, if you can’t afford it or it isn’t logistically straightforward for you, I wouldn’t worry about it in terms of labour and birth.

hopeful31yrs Mon 26-Sep-16 19:07:14

NCT seems to be more of a friend building exercise and people who have taken them that I know were upset that they didn't fully inform them of the potential problems in childbirth or anything not routine. We didn't take any antenatal classes and read up ourselves. This was primarily because neither of us could attend at the times they were arranged for - although you can insist from work that they give you the time free. We have also survived without the 'extra' information!

katelewis320 Mon 26-Sep-16 19:24:58

Thanks for all your replies! Much appreciated! I think my midwife freaked me out a bit when she was taken aback that I hadn't booked any classes! I understand that the classes are good for meeting friends but two of my friends are having babies around the same time so I'm not overly concerned about feeling out of touch with everyone. Thinking about it, my mum never went to classes and she managed just fine bringing myself and my sister up. Thanks again for all your help! You have made me feel better! smile

Fabsmum Mon 26-Sep-16 19:35:45

I'm an NCT teacher and my courses cover
- recognising when your baby is ill
- practical baby care
- recognising symptoms of PND
- understanding newborn sleep patterns
- colic, reflux, developmental patterns in crying
- what happens if your baby won't breastfeed
... plus all the usual birth stuff, including c-section, forceps/ventouse, physical skills, pain relief etc.

If you're struggling with the money side of things ask about course subsidies, which can be hefty for people on low incomes.

Otherwise, you might want to look at Positive Birth meetings, which are free and are popping up all over the place.

NCT meet ups - Bumps and Babies, you can go to without doing the classes if you want to meet up with local mums.

Good luck!

milpool Mon 26-Sep-16 19:45:34

Short answer: no.

We only did one class, the NHS one offered in our area. It didn't tell me that much.

If you can do research online then that will help you as much re labour, pain relief etc.

I made friends afterwards through a breastfeeding support group (though I appreciate not everyone would have that chance).

vichill Mon 26-Sep-16 19:50:26

if you're reasonably able to gen up on the internet about birth options i don't see what nct or the nhs could offer. i am afraid i didn't enjoy the same nct sisterly bonding experienced by previous posters. for me it was more of a oneupmanship kind of vibe. e.g bfing in a sling derided. calpol is the devil's piss. blw vegan of a <10% centile baby defiantly celebrated. i would say how normal the people are depends on where you live. if in a crappy post industrial northern town i think it may attract fruit cakes.

katelewis320 Mon 26-Sep-16 20:16:10

Ha ha that made me laugh so much. Yes I definitely reside in the crappy post industrial north of Manchester! I will heed your advice!

oldlaundbooth Mon 26-Sep-16 20:17:43

Don't bother, mine was rubbish.

Just ask any questions on here instead.

Mine didn't even tell me how to put a nappy on!

sj257 Mon 26-Sep-16 22:36:55

Old laund booth, sure I went to some playing fields there at the weekend! - I deliver the classes for my job, I think if we showed people how to put a nappy on they'd never come back!

I didn't attend classes with my first two, I was 19 with my first and felt people would judge me! Doh. I would say that for first time mums the labour/pain relief and breastfeeding sessions are really useful 😊

Laura05 Tue 27-Sep-16 09:42:30

I attended a nhs antenatal class with dc1 and to be honest the only information I came away with is that pushing a baby out is like going for a large poo!! grin

SnakeWitch Tue 27-Sep-16 10:02:48

I didn't bother. It's much cheaper to ask on here if there's anything you want to know or aren't sure about!

TurquoiseDress Tue 27-Sep-16 13:35:05

It'd be good to get along to some NHS ones if you can...if you're due in January you've got loads of time!

I think we attended 2 out of 5 classes at our local NHS hospital, due to work commitments.

It was interesting I guess but nothing I couldn't have found out on here.

The one thing I remember is the midwife saying that if you wanted an epidural you had to just ask the midwife and a doctor would come to do it quite soon after grin

Also, reassuring us that episiotomies were "not that bad, just a small cut' I thought about one of my close friends who needed surgery to sort her out a few months after having her baby.

I don't think the NHS classes helped create realistic expectations to be honest!

We didn't go for NCT- far too expensive and we wouldn't have qualified for any income discounts.

It would have been great to have a ready made group of friends...but I'd heard mixed accounts of NCT from friends & acquaintances.
One loved it and they are all still in touch a couple years later, another friend said the group did not gel at all!

If you've got the spare cash, go for it.

Kariana Wed 28-Sep-16 13:33:35

I'm in the middle of my antenatal NHS classes at the moment. The only things I've learnt are that you need a catheter if you have an epidural and that you shouldn't use children's toothpaste, you should go straight to adult versions. I'm not sure they've been worth it.

PeppermintInfusion Wed 28-Sep-16 14:13:36

There is also the Daisy Classes which are substantially cheaper than the NCT ones. I think I would do them next time for the mum friends aspect. I did Yogabellies last time, but didn't get that much from it (and it was 90% in the dark so couldn't talk much either), although that was maybe that particular group as I know other people who did it at a different class and got loads from it.

Cococrumble Wed 28-Sep-16 14:22:08

We're in the middle of our community midwifery led classes at the moment. So far I've found them really reassuring and great for meeting people due the same time as me. I've found it worth it for that alone as everyone tends to go to the same baby groups so it will be nice to see a friendly face or two there, as well as having empathy when you've been up with a screamy baby all night and need a rant and a coffee.

pinkmagic1 Wed 28-Sep-16 14:36:45

I went to the NHS ones with my first but didn't really learn anything I hadn't already read in my baby book.
It concentrated almost entirely on the birth with very little information on baby care. I really could have done with being shown how to change a nappy or confidently bath a baby as hadn't a clue.
The birth was inevitable, the baby would come out one way or another if I liked it or not!

Melonb123 Fri 30-Sep-16 20:14:59


Im booked onto a breastfeeding class and the save a babys life course.

I wanted to do breastfeeding one as been recommended it! Its free so might aswell take advantage of that smile

sycamore54321 Sat 01-Oct-16 13:19:20

I found my antenatal class (day long) very disappointing and didn't include anything I hadn't already read in books. However my hospital also offered an hour-long preparation for breastfeeding class which was really useful for someone like me who knew nothing about it. I guess is depends on the luck of the draw if you get a good teacher that meets your needs but I wouldn't worry unduly about missing them.

Alwaysinahurrynow Sat 01-Oct-16 17:41:09

Nct is good for meeting people, the rest of it was a bit pointless in the end for me (c section), my nhs b/feeding class was brilliant. I think it's worth going to one or the other as I actually discovered I had no idea about how labour and birth actually happened.

Definitely see if you qualify for a discount on the NCT ones. I found my yoga classes attracted the more natural birth inclined than NCT, but I just tended to keep my mouth shut if I disagreed (we'd just moved to the other end of the country and had no friends so thE whole thing for me was about meeting some mates). I'm still friends with the majority four years on and once we'd all had our babies, I just got on with what I wanted to do.

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