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National Childbirth Trust (NCT) Classes


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#1 miles

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 09:13 AM

Anyone currently attending / recently attended NCT classes? What do you think of them? I am considering booking, but need some help in deciding whether or not it is worth it. I have been offered classes in Streatham or Beckenham; I think the nearest to CP is West Norwood, but there is no class there that fits in with my due date. Can anyone give me any advice? Thanks.

#2 Mango

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 09:48 AM

Hey Miles

We did them 3 and a half years ago or so and it was definitely worth it. It clears up all those questions you might have, and you meet a lot of other people in the same boat in the area. We're still friends with a lot of our group.
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#3 matt

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 10:30 AM

I'd say yes, resoundingly (did them last year). Whilst they can't prepare you for every eventuality, but they do a better job (than NHS ones) of helping you understand what's going on and more confidence to get what you want when you are in the hospital (if thats where you have the baby).

My wife still meets her NCT buddies every Monday, 10 months on.

#4 croesus

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 10:31 AM

Yep, I agree with Mango, and the value definitely extends beyond pregnancy and birth support. We're still friends with a lot of the parents we met at NCT (in Herne Hill - there wasn't one in W Norwood at that point) more than six years ago. Once the babies were a little older, the group also started a babysitting circle, which worked out really well. That said, it's the luck of the draw who you get in your group and whether you get along with them.

#5 miles

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 07:58 AM

Thanks, guys. It sounds like it's definitely worth giving it a shot. I've just got to convince Mr Miles now ...!

#6 matt

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 08:42 AM

Points for Mr Miles

1) When your partner is in pain, and you can't do anything about it, its nice to know whats going on, why you can remain calm, and what you should be doing. Its also quite interesting actually!
[Plus in our class (croydon group), the actual birth was a breeze compared to one of the vids they made us watch! - oh, on 2nd thoughts perhaps you shouldn't mention that one]

2) NCT class could lead to babysitting swaps = nights where Mr miles can re-aquaint himself with pub, which is priceless!

#7 HeadGardener

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 12:14 PM

I'd echo just about everything which has been said here.

We certainly didn't have the best of the NCT's teachers - she was rather disorganised and we never covered half the syllabus - but because the course was much longer than the NHS version at King's, we really bonded with the rest of the class and are still in touch with most of them, even though (this being London) they're now scattered across the Home Counties and abroad.

NCT classes are quite expensive and (in my limited experience of just one teacher and one course) they can be a little dogmatic. But they are a great way of meeting people in the same boat and they provide a social network, which is priceless when you want to meet up for a trip to the park or need a babysitter (we had a fantastic babysitting network based on tokens so that no money ever changed hands). :D

Edited by HeadGardener, 17 May 2006 - 12:15 PM.


#8 jamesl

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 12:21 PM

how long are the courses ? We have left it late and the baby is due in just over 7 weeks - is that enough time ?

#9 matt

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 12:46 PM

The courses are are about 6-8 weeks I seem to remember, so you have probably left things too late. Whilst regularly scheduled, each teacher only has 1 class going generally at a time, and so will begin a new course around every 2-3 months I guess - and they often do get booked up early.
However, you could always try - and whilst I imagine you are in Southwark/Lambeth NCT area, there is a Croydon one as well that we did and the classes were only on South Norwood hill. So if you ask about, you might be able to find a class starting in the next week or so, somewhere nearby if you ring a few different geographical branches - (a possible advantage of our many borough borders?!?)

(bizarrely though, despite being allocated to the Croydon class, we are on the Southwark/Lambeth NCT mailing list!).

As far as being dogmatic etc, NCT certainly has a certain view of things, and I suppose that how that translates into the classes varies tremendously on firstly, the teacher and secondly, how the class interprets what she is saying. For example, in our class, some of the couples definitely had a preconceived idea that the teacher would say "all pain relief is bad" (i exaggerate for effect). In my view she didn't say that, but just explained that all things have advantages and drawbacks, - but if you wanted/expected to hear a dogmatic message from her (due to things about the NCT you had heard elsewhere) then it was certainly possible to leave "hearing" that point of view you expected to hear. I imagine with varying personalities/abilities/experience of different teachers this can be more or less true.

But having said all that, the classes are useful for 1 or 2 days of your life (if important ones), the classmates can be useful for many months afterwards.

Edited by matt, 17 May 2006 - 12:46 PM.


#10 loplop

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 01:01 PM

In our experience, the NHS classes run by the midwives at Paxton Green Health Centre were excellent; great fun and very helpful indeed. We didn't even need to think of considering anything else.
You obviously need to be in their catchment area though.
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#11 jamesl

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 03:22 PM

that's reassuring loplop because that's our Doctor and we are seeing the Paxton Green midwife for the first time on Friday. We are undecided about going for NCT as well and/or just relying on the Kings Ante natal classes. I've had mixed reports of both - particularly of Kings where the feedback was that the classes are good but slow going because english is a second language to many of the parents. the babies due in July 4th and panic has started to set in :o

#12 rachel

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 03:31 PM

Mine is due June 3, and the panic has passed now :blink: . I have stopped watching baby programmes on Sky though, they still freak me out.

I'm kind of resigned to it now - it has to come out one way or the other (exhaust or sunroof?), and quite frankly, the sooner the better :D


Hope all goes well at your classes Jamesl

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#13 jamesl

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 03:39 PM

Good luck to you too. hope it all goes well. I think andyb's due to become a Dad in July as well although he's not posted recently since he went to Greece

#14 miles

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 03:55 PM

I'm having the baby at the Mayday, and, as far as I can make out, they currently offer only a single ante-natal session for about 4 hours on a Saturday, i.e. there are no classes. So I am more and more convinced that we should do NCT. I am just waiting for Mr Miles to post in reply to your pointers, Matt! I didn't realise the Croydon classes would be as close as South Norwood Hill - maybe I should get in touch with them rather than than the Southwark/Lambeth branch.

Edited by miles, 17 May 2006 - 03:57 PM.


#15 matt

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 04:26 PM

"I'm having the baby at the Mayday, and, as far as I can make out, they currently offer only a single ante-natal session for about 4 hours on a Saturday, i.e. there are no classes."

That may also include the tour as well (which you can still go on seperately, by the way). Mayday were pretty decent for the birth, though we were lucky enough to have a straightforward delivery (nearly a little too quickly as it turned out, I'd have driven faster if I'd have known!).

jamesl - 4th of July is my daughter's birthday! - though she was late and wasn't even brought on by the Coldplay concert in CP a few days before then or numerous pineapples or a curry in Palace Spice.

Best of luck to everyone. Get some sleep now!