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NCT classes - worth it?

(33 Posts)
MrsMcJnr Tue 17-Jul-07 11:56:16

Ladies - please help . I am a first timmer and am wondering about NCT classes. How do they differ from the ones the LA do and are they worth it? a lot of people say that they are worth it for the friends you make but I live in the sticks and work in the City and we plan to move abroad when the baby is a couple of months old so I just don't know whether or not to go for them or not? (money's tight too )

FillydoraTonks Tue 17-Jul-07 11:57:44

oh this will depend where you are

round here (cardiff) its your only option, i think

but when they ran the NHS classes they were incredibly much better.

say where you are and get the lowdown.

NotQuiteCockney Tue 17-Jul-07 11:59:36

Are you sure you will move? Would you take the classes centrally, or where you live?

The NCT classes give good prep for childbirth, baby care, and breastfeeding, as well as the social stuff. But you can get all these benefits other ways.

Oh, and depending on your household income, the fees for the courses can be reduced, depending on the branch policy and how much you actually earn.

JolieGirl Tue 17-Jul-07 12:03:48

I would say definitely do the classes, they are absolutely worthwhile in preparing for birth and actually having the baby. Sounds stupid but I always assumed women had to give birth on their backs with their knees round their ears (that is what TV progs/films show don't they!?) but the NCT classes made me realise there are other alternatives - I personally stood, sat and knelt all the way through my labour, and did not lie on the bed once. The breastfeeding part of the course is also really useful. Re fees I believe you can come to an arrangement with the NCT.

hatwoman Tue 17-Jul-07 12:07:28

even if you are planning to move when the baby is young two months can feel like an awful long time if you have no fellow mums to meet and talk to. it's entirely possible that you won;t make life-long friendships - I didn;t - but I wouldn;t have been without the company for anything. you might get the same from NCT coffee mornings after the baby has arrived, but I think the classes help you get to know each other when you can still hold whole conversations, and make you feel more like you're going to a friend's house for coffee/meeting up for a walk together rather than an organised "coffee morning". some people get this from LA ones. one advantage/disadvantage of NCT ones is they tend to attract a certain type - very middle class and middle of the road - which might increase or decrease your chances of having something in common with them, depending on your perspective

ejt1764 Tue 17-Jul-07 12:10:23

For the information you get about the birth - no (ime - but went to classes in Cardiff too, Filly!) - but for the experience of meeting people in the same boat as you - especially if you are the first of your circle of friends to have a baby, (as I was) then yes.

When I had ds, the nhs classes were running as lectures for up to 50 couples ... so I opted out, and went to nct classes, and the people I met I am still in contact with.

nct do charge based on your ability to pay as well, so if money is tight, that shouldn't be a reason why you can't go to classes.

JolieGirl Tue 17-Jul-07 12:10:49


Disagree by the way with previous comments about 'middle class and middle of the road' in terms of people who join the classes.

We had a single mum and a very flamboyant gay couple on ours. And we live in the south east.

Hate sweeping stereotypical statements like these....

puffling Tue 17-Jul-07 12:10:51

We went to NCT classes. In retrospect, I think we'd have been just as well to go to the hospital ones.

kittypower Tue 17-Jul-07 12:14:02

I am half way through my NCT classes and I think they are worth every penny. Without them I would have no information on how the hospital works when you arrive in labour, what to expect at every stage etc etc. i think they are great and a bonus is meeting other couples in the same area who are all at the same stage as you.

Flum Tue 17-Jul-07 12:16:34

I would say they are useful but focus on the birth which is basically just a days worth of work and the result is you get a baby whatever way you do it.

Good for the cameraderie - even for a few months I would say.

The NCT also help you to stand up for your rights etc in the delivery suite. My husband put it 'They give you just enough info to be dangerous!'

I think they are worth it.

meandmy Tue 17-Jul-07 12:28:20

other than my antenatal checks i didnt attend any classes was ill or too tired on those available to me, found i my body naturally did what was needed, moving keeping upright pushing breathing etc

chevre Tue 17-Jul-07 12:30:33

i would say no, esp. if you are moving. i went to an active birth yoga class which was really good for destressing and making time to think about the baby. i found the nhs classes really good on breastfeeding.

i take it the 'city' you are talking about is edinburgh. i can give you details if you are interested.

bellabelly Tue 17-Jul-07 12:48:06

I've been at NCT classes this weekend - a sort of intensive 2 day course on friday and Saturday (west london) and they were brill - I'd recommend them to anyone, even though they do cost a fair bit. One thing is you have o book ridiculously early so don't leave it too long to decide.

MrsBadger Tue 17-Jul-07 12:53:51

Our NCT class was a one day deal hence much cheaper than the 8-week course type, and was invaluable for at least giving you four other pg women to talk to, even if they're not 'friends for life'. The small group was much more conducive to socialising than the NHS class of 30 couples.

Even if you decide it isn't worth it for the info on birth, BF etc, go to something to meet local mums-to-be - antenatal yoga, aquanatal classes, a Bumps and Babes coffee morning, anything. Or put out a call on the Pregnancy boards here for local-ish eople due the same time as you to get together with.

Even just sitting in a pub or cafe with three other pregnant women makes you feel much more normal and less conspicuous (esp in the later stages when you are the size of a dustcart) than being the only pg one in the room.

mummydospells Tue 17-Jul-07 13:02:10

I missed out on NCT classes by registering too late and had to do the NHS ones which were absolutely useless. I learnt nothing, didn't gel with any of the other people and never saw any of them again. In contrast, the NCT contacted me after the birth and invited me to their postnatal coffee mornings. I went along to those and, while I wouldn't say I liked every single person, I've made a few friends that I'm still in touch with four years later.

I'd say give the NCT ones a go. You won't learn less than on the NHS ones and may well learn more. You may make some friends and you'll certainly find out about a lot more services available to you, such as breastfeeding support, breast pump hire, Valley Cushion hire, etc.

hatwoman Tue 17-Jul-07 13:10:59

sorry joliegirl - I didn;t meant to be sweeping. in my version of middle class single mums and gay couples are included! maybe middle of the road was an unfortunate choice of words. my NCT class was a nice mix of people but it was definitely middle class - by which all I really mean is educated, in a professional-type job and of ok income. in my book there;s nothing wrong with that and I really didn;t mean to imply otherwise

hatwoman Tue 17-Jul-07 13:11:59

sorry always forget that these darned emoticons are quite handy for making your tone clear. I should have added

Rantmum Tue 17-Jul-07 13:15:51

Only did NHS classes myself, have a friend who is pg now and she is going to NCT classes and they are very comprehensive an informative and friendly. I can not really say the same about my NHS experience, so I wish I had gone to NCT. Only thing she did say was that some of the sessions are looooonnnng. Four hours on bfing, all in one sitting, seems a bit like overkill to me (especially for uncomfortable heavily pg women!)

Still better to be over informed than under informed.

MrsMcJnr Tue 17-Jul-07 15:12:34

Thank you all for your responses, they really help. Money wise its more a case of being strapped through debt rather than income and trying to be sensible on what is important and what is not

FillydoraTanks – I work in Edinburgh but live in a village in West Lothian. We are not part of the community there and as I say are planning to move abroad in the new year. Personally think I might have more in common with Edinburgh ladies as that is where I spend most of my time and where most of my life is. That’s where we’ll hopefully be living when the baby is born too.

NotQuiteCockney – unless we don’t sell, we’ll almost definitely be moving. I’ve looked at the local NCT sites and have made applications to both Edinburgh North and West Lothian (I’m 14 weeks so realise I might be too late – especially for the Edinburgh ones)

Joliegirl, meandmy, Kittypower, Ejt, Bellababy – thanks ladies

I see where you are coming from MrsBadger – thank you

Hatwoman – thank you for your views too. That’s one of my other hesitations, the social side, I am in the very fortunate position that at least 9 of my friends will be off with new babies when I am. Admittedly some of them have been born already and there is a massive difference between a 6 month old and a new born and there is also the fact that many of them are on their 2nd and so I guess the perspective is slightly different but at the mo I feel like I never get to see the friends I have and if I add more to the loop, will that just make my life more pressured? I don’t know, ramblings of a hormonal woman!

Puffling – I guess my worry is that the hospital ones will tell you how they prefer you to do things there (i.e. no eating or drinking in labour) rather than what you can actually do and what you do and don’t have control over.

Flum – the standing up for yourself point is one of the main drivers for me I have to say! I’m scared that I’ll just agree to things that I ultimately wouldn’t want just because I don’t know any better.

Thanks Chevre – I would be interested in those details (how did you know it was Edinburgh? )

Mummydospells – interesting point about the rental of equipment, I hadn’t thought of that.

Too true Rantmum – thanks

hatwoman Tue 17-Jul-07 16:17:36

oh if you've got friends with babies then I think you can get everything the NCT gives you in terms of info from a Penelope Leach book. at a fraction of the cost. I knew no-one locally and at the time barely knew anyone with a baby. You'll benefit lots from the different perspectives - though I hope they are the type of friends who impart selected wisdom whilst letting you find your own way

chevre Tue 17-Jul-07 17:57:21

hi mrsmcjnr, sorry to freak you out but i have been on some of the ttc threads and you mentioned where you live a few time.

Here are the details of the yoga classes i went to. they are not cheap either but i do recommend them.

SueW Tue 17-Jul-07 18:13:30

If you aren't going along for the friendships and local connections and are strapped for cash, I'd recommend 'Expecting' by Daphne Metland and Anna McGrail.

She's a very experienced NCT teacher and also set up

Expecting is 'antenatal classes in a book'. It pretty much covers everything you would do in an antenatal class and a lot more besides.

Don't be put off by it not being glossy or full of photos - the information is invaluable and it's very easy to dip into.

Dads don't tend to pick up books on pregnancy and childbirth and arguably can benefit from classes over a book.

everexpandingtum Tue 17-Jul-07 18:19:49

i have just finished an eight week NCT course in edinburgh. Whilst i didn't agree with every word and won't necessarily do everything the NCT way, i think it was worth every penny! Mainly becaues it made me THINK about it all and decide what i wanted out of all the birth options. It has given me confidence to stand up for myself when i go into labour (soon i hope! 39+5!!), it explained BF very well and i got to meet some great people.

We might not all be friends forever, but there is nothing like sitting down with a bunch of other full term pregnant women to make you feel normal! when you are waddling around and feeling crap, it is GOOD to be able to laugh about it with others in the same boat.

even if you are moving, i would do it.

MrsMcJnr Wed 18-Jul-07 10:39:35

Thanks Hatwoman knowing me, I’d probably like to read the books either way – can you recommend one? Not sure about the selected wisdom, went to visit a friend with a new born on Sat and she told both DH and I ALL the details of the whole thing – was a bit scary to be honest. I know everyone’s experience is different but it all still made me squirm!

Chevre – that’s ok – I’m not too worried about giving away info. I didn’t recognise your name which isn’t like me, sorry! Thanks for the recommendation, I shall look into that. The class times sound quite good and it’s not too far from my office. I couldn’t see any prices (which probably means I can’t afford it) – can you give me a rough idea of cost? I saw there was also a place on Alva Street (another MNetter recommended it) but the classes are all full at the mo.

SueW – thank you - I shall get a copy. I get weekly updates from babycentre and I think they are excellent (good for DH too as they are short and interesting!)

Everexpandingtum – thank you and congratulations not long now. Which branch did you use? I’ve sent an enquiry into Edinburgh North (but I may well be too late). Sounds like you got out of it exactly what I would hope to, the birth options and confidence and the BF bits would be the main reason for going for me.

PinkMartini Wed 18-Jul-07 11:35:08

MrsMcJnr - how many weeks along are you now? I jut got my BFP this week

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