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Ante-natal classes

24 replies

Lemondrop09 · 14/04/2017 09:44

Only 15 weeks, but when do you need to book in for these? A few people have mentioned them "filling up fast" so I was wondering how far in advance is normal to book?

I've heard NCT classes are expensive. How much? Are they worth it?

Are the NHS classes sufficient?

OP posts:
arbrighton · 14/04/2017 10:26

NHS content seems to vary massively by trust

So ask what they have in your area and see if you think that'll be enough

We're just doing a one day NHS session (full day on a saturday) and then I'll go to a breastfeeding session too.

The coverage for NCT in my area wasn't that great it had to be said, but we are very lucky with our NHS maternity service

krakentoast · 14/04/2017 10:40

I'm 15 weeks too and I'm just starting to contact providers as they too say that they "fill up fast". There are only two in my area (I'm quite rural). There's one NHS course, and one Daisy Foundation one - no NCT classes as far as I can tell. I think I'm going to try to go to both as the NHS one is free and the Daisy one looks more like indulgent hippyish fun my kind of thing.

Hollyhop17 · 14/04/2017 11:33

Hey Lemon. I signed up for mine around 13 weeks I think because I was told they fill up fast! I was a bit dismayed at how expensive it was, £300 for NCT signature classes. Mine start next month and I'm doing it mainly to make friends as me and DH dont have any family near by. I am going to do the NHS one as well but its only one day so we wanted something more in depth.

BroccoliOnTheFloor · 14/04/2017 11:41

The NHS classes in our area were full of information and useful. The NCT classes were pretty useless, but we met other couples and can lean on them for support now that we all have babies. That is PRICELESS and I would happily pay for the NCT again.

Lemondrop09 · 14/04/2017 11:43

Yes I'm drawn to NCT from the perspective of making some friends with similar age babies - but blimey, £300 Shock How many hours do you get for that?

OP posts:
Lemondrop09 · 14/04/2017 12:04

Also has anyone done alternative classes? Are they cheaper than NCT? Do they give 'better'/more balanced information (I've heard mixed things about the NCT approach)? Any recommendations?

Anybody tried the mum apps like Peanut or Mush to met other mums in the local area? Seems a lot cheaper lol!

OP posts:
Oysterbabe · 14/04/2017 12:08

I booked not after my 12 week scan. Price varies according to area but mine was about £200

Oysterbabe · 14/04/2017 12:08


ellesbellesxxx · 14/04/2017 12:13

We are starting nct essentials next week which is £130 for 10 hours... we booked at 12 weeks to make sure we had place.
A lot won't apply (expecting twins) but the social side was the biggie for us whereas the NHS ones won't be as consistent in that they are rolling programme.

Helbel82 · 14/04/2017 12:15

We did NCT and it cost around £170 for me and my DH. We did the evening 2 hours which was about 6 sessions but had the choice of doing two full days instead at the weekend in my area. We found them to be very useful and great for helping to prepare us. The best is that we got to meet other people and as new parents are now getting a lot of support from each other which is invaluable (especially whatsapp ing each other at 3am ). Didn't do the NHS as it was all covered on NCT but didn't hear great things about the one in my area. I'd definitely recommend NCT but think it can depend on location and who the facilitator is.

kel1493 · 14/04/2017 12:19

When I was pregnant I was advised to book early.
I didn't need them or want to go to any, so I didn't. I already knew pretty much everything I needed to know through my mum.
But id book early to make sure you get in.

Lemondrop09 · 14/04/2017 12:27

I've looked st their website but I must be thick because I'm finding it really confusing and their pricing structure very opaque. I'm in London so it'll cost more here. Might get DH to have a look and see if he can work it out!

OP posts:
Hollyhop17 · 14/04/2017 12:40

The signature course is 14.5 hours over 7 sessions. Most of which my DH also comes to, one Bfing one just for me. Yeah, it is anoyingly expensive and I'm not surw how much the content I will love but as I said it is to make friends for me and for that I'll happily pay £300 quid. I'm gonna be quite far along when I start though, 31, I assumed it would be a bit sooner to be honest...

BroccoliOnTheFloor · 14/04/2017 12:52

The NCT is scheduled so that everyone in the group is due very close together. So no problem if you book early. As I said, I would have happily paid that money just for the Whatssap group ~and skipped all the tedious classes~.

The most useful NHS classes were the "how to care for a newborn" and the tour of the hospital.

I wish I had more support lined up for breastfeeding. I did the classes (useless - they were trying to convince us to BF rather than giving tips for what to do if you want to but it's not going well for some reason), but wish I had made contacts with Surestart, LLL, local BF support networks.

I feel that a lot of the classes / books / worries / conversations were focused on the birth itself, and very little on the days after.

SockQueen · 14/04/2017 12:56

NCT prices vary depending on where you are - more expensive in London. There are alternatives like Daisy, MummyNatal etc but I've no idea how much they cost in comparison.

I did the NHS class, which was just 2 x 2 hour sessions in the evening. Big groups so we didn't really make any friends. I was in the odd situation that I kind of knew most of the medical information already (I'm an anaesthetist and work in obstetrics) but the peripheral stuff about packing bags, early labour etc was useful, plus the breastfeeding info. We also did NCT Essentials because the Signature course was full, and again found some of it useful, some less so. Still in touch with most of my class though, we meet up for coffee every few weeks, which is nice as I was new to my current town and didn't have any friends here before.

Lemondrop09 · 14/04/2017 15:05

Thanks everyone, really helpful. I've enquired about a course. Looks like about £340 for a 17-18 hour Signature NCT course in London. I'd rather pay around £200, but I guess it is what it is. Let's hope I do actually make some friends Grin

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ThisNight · 14/04/2017 15:12

Can I just add that NCT signature is 60% labour and birth 40% postnatal whereas NCT Essentials is 40% labour and birth 60% postnatal topics.

The essentials pack in just as much information in less time, so not necessarily inferior to signature, and you still get the social group.

ThisNight · 14/04/2017 15:14

Oh, and Essentials in London is £218 per couple for 12 hours.

Lemondrop09 · 14/04/2017 18:47

Interesting ThisNight..... thanks, I'll look at that. I'm a bit dubious about the NCT labour view anyway so wouldn't mind less of that (I'm fairly set on wanting an epidural and I hear they aren't big on encouraging anything other than all natural births)

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ThisNight · 14/04/2017 19:08

That very much depends on the facilitator - NCT is about exploring the options / weighing up the pros and cons and supporting you to make the decision that is right for you and your baby - not telling you 'natural' birth is the only way.

MabelTheCow · 15/04/2017 16:40

I think it very much depends on your NCT antenatal tutor and the group. We live equidistant between 3 different NCT areas and chose one someone I knew had used previously and said they weren't too preachy. She has expressed no opinion on any different birthing options (and had some open discussions about formula too).
OH has really benefitted from meeting other local dads to be too.

TestingTestingWonTooFree · 15/04/2017 16:59

I only did the hospital course which was alright. My health visitor ran a weekly class/drop in session for local mums with babies born within 3 months. It ran for 3 months and was how I met all my mum friends. I didn't want extra friends when pregnant but I certainly did on maternity leave.

Sunshinegirl82 · 15/04/2017 21:39

We attended a course run by an independent retired midwife, I think we paid £120 for 6 2 hour sessions. Ds is 9 months and I meet the other mums from my group once a week. I wanted (and had and loved) an epidural so I was concerned if we were unlucky with the nct co-ordinator it might be a bit uncomfortable.

The lady who ran our course was very supportive of all our individual choices whilst encouraging us to be willing to go with the flow. It's worth looking around an doing a bit of research on what's out there. Good luck!

amelie427 · 16/04/2017 07:43

In my experience, the view that NCT have an 'all natural' agenda to push is outdated.

I did mine recently and felt incredibly informed about all options - if there was an 'agenda', it was focussed on having information-based choices, having the tools to being your own advocate.

I was expecting the 'natural agenda' and was very pleasantly surprised. It might depend on the teacher though.

Also came out with a good bunch of new friends, which is all I went for really.

I'm in London too - paid around £350 for a signature course. All partners came to all sessions, including the BF one.

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