Are the NCT antenatal classes worth it?

My husband and I are very keen to go to antenatal classes -especially as this is our first pregnancy, and we want to learn as much as we can to be best prepared.

Does anyone have experience of NHS and NCT classes? My best friend stopped going to NHS classes part way through because they were 'a bit rubbish', so have been looking into going to NCT classes. Basically, are they worth the money?

20 Replies

  • During my first pregnancy I did NCT classes and hypnobirthing (Mongan Method). I didn't attend NHS classes. I met some wonderful mummies on the NCT course, so supportive in those early days, a lovely bunch of ladies. The NCT classes were informative but I found the hypnobirthing better. The hypnobirthing teacher gave more indepth information - her background as a nurse and health visitor helping. I would say the NCT classes are worth the money. They give you all the information and let you think about how you want to manage your birth - although birth plans rarely go to "plan". The hypnobirthing course said to state your birth preferences and you accept that if it doesn't go to plan it doesn't matter as much.

    Whatever you choose, NCT is still there to support you as a parent and you can attend their events and socials whether you're a member or not. Good luck!

  • I'm starting NCT classes next week. The main reason i am doing them is to meet other mums to be in my local area x

  • Hi, my sister attended NCT during her recent pregnancy and she said they were more than worth it. Mainly because she met a group of friends that she still keeps in close contact with. They go out for lunches and nights out together and support each other with their babies, and for that she said she is so glad she went. As for the classes themselves she said that they were great and that because everyone there has had to pay, everyone was really interested and took part, where as because the NHS ones are free there were people there that couldn't really give a toss about taking part etc.

  • That's a good point actually, that because you have to pay to be there people are more engaged. My only experience of antenatal nhs classes is the one I saw on Corrie where 20-30 couples sat in a room. I like the idea also of getting it all done in 2 day and 1 evening session, so that it's intense but informative...rather than 40mins here and there every other Thursday evening.

  • Well worth it, they are very pro natural birth and breastfeeding which was a brilliant way to get prepared and my daughter is now 2.5 and I still meet up with all 9 of my nct friends on a weekly basis. During the first 6 months we would meet up sometimes daily just for support, to cry together, compare, even texting each other at 3am night feeds so we knew we weren't the only ones!

  • That actually sounds really useful -do you tend to be matched with people local to you then?

  • Yup, they will find the closest course to where you live. We all live within a 10 mile radius of each other and even have a baby sitting circle set up now that they are all a bit older which is great!

  • As people have already said one of the best things about NCT classes is making a group of friends at the same stage as you. I know people who are still friends in their 50s who met at their antenatal classes and have gone through the whole childrearing time of their lives together which is pretty lovely. My NHS classes were sort of adequate in terms of what happens at birth etc but they told us nothing about the choices we could make - everything was presented as 'this will happen...' whereas with NCT it is more about you getting to know what choices you have and getting the info to help you make them. Haven't done hypnobirthing but I know people who have (and also things like pregnancy yoga) have said that they got a lot out of it because the courses go on longer and there is more time for people to talk things through and ask questions. In fairness to the NHS ones they are usually just a couple of sessions so they probably just don't have enough time to go in depth. As regards cost NCT do have some concessionary places for low incomes (we did) and in some areas NCT teachers teach free classes in children's centres so that might be worth investigating to.

  • Thankyou, that's really helpful.

    We don't fall into the concessionary bracket -on paper we can afford it, it's just because weve literally moved house 3weeks ago and seem to be haemorraging money so wanted to make sure its worth the cash before we pay for it. I have a place reserved until next Wednesday so we need to make up our minds by then.

    At the moment, I think it sounds like it's worth it.

  • Hi

    I'm trying to decide between NCT and Hypnobirthing- it's a tricky one!

  • What's hypnobirthing??

  • Yes, well worth it, especially first time round. As those previous posts have said, the friendships that you make are priceless and you meet people from various walks of life. The information you are given is very comprehensive, and you're free to have your own feelings and opinions about the choices available. The lady that took our classes even baked flap jack for every session, which was delicious, how she managed it with 4 kids at home to look after I do not know!

  • I have mixed feelings about mine. I've yet to have my baby but I found the overwhelming emphasis on natural childbirth a bit stressful. I want to keep a completely open mind about labour but felt as if I'd already have failed if I did go for any form of pain relief. I've really no idea how good I'll be at handling the pain but I doubt that visualising an ice cube is going to cut it if things aren't going to plan.

    Having said that, would agree with others that it's primarily a way of networking and the people I met are quite nice, even if I can't see myself becoming best mates.

    Other half definitely learned a lot of extra facts about childbirth, I had already read the text books so just confirmed my understanding.

  • An ice cube?? LOL.

  • Do it. Because of my sisters positive feedback to them I already have a date in my diary to sign up with NCT once I have had my 12 weeks scan in 3 weeks :)

  • I'm gonna do it! Thanks :)

  • With all this positive results I will love to join the NCT class but I don't no how to join and how much it would cost me.

  • Thanks

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