Antenatal Classes: any reasonable option beyond free NHS classes and expensive NCT ones?

Hi there,

finally I knew the dates of the antenatal class held by the midwives (London, Royal Free Hospital, Red Team).

I was very disappointed to find out that it's only a two hours x two days class, and it's in the afternoon, so almost impossible for partners to attend.

As we really want to attend a practical one, where we can practice breathing exercise and positions in addition to theory and useful information, I've searched on some websites but the only classes I've found are the NCT ones, that seem long enough to be complete but very expensive, and still not sure whether focused also on practicing exercises with your partner.

Did anyone find other antenatal classes in London? Or a course about massage/breathing/positions? I'm happy to pay IF it's worth (not almost 300£ as for the NCT classes, honestly that sounds really excessive!).

Thanks,

Stefania

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  • I did NCT classes but they were around £150.

    That was 2 days 10-4 and one evening breast feeding class 6-9.

    The day ones did cover all of the above you mentioned and really involved partners. But I went in s.wales so not sure if that affected the price.

    Although they were good, even at that price I'm not sure it was worth it and could have spent the money on something else more worth while. Xx

  • Thanks for sharing your experience. Yes, the price changes according to the place, didn't check how much would be in Camden/Barnet but quite sure it's more expensive. Don't know what to do, fell I'll be missing a piece if I don't attend a proper class with my husband... :(

  • Have you looked at local NHS classes held at sure start children's centres? I attended a 4 week course...about an hour-hour and a half a session every Monday evening so my partner was able to attend too. These were not in London but most sure start centres offer similar services. You could call your local ones to enquire x

  • That is the one I mentioned held by the midwives, but it's only 2 days and at 3.30pm...

  • Ah that's rubbish! The one I went to started at half 5 I think so my boyfriend was able to get back in time for it...although he missed the first couple as he was still back in London so I took my mum instead lol x

  • :) reading that I miss my family... we are alone here so preparing as a couple is even more important for us...

  • Yes definitely. It is important to share the experience if you can. Hope you find one to suit you. They may have details of other sure start centres and their courses around Camden on their website....you may be lucky and find a different one to accommodate you. You can attend any centre x

  • I went to the nhs ones then at the hospital they did extra classes such as breastfeeding workshop and also a water birthing class..maybe see if ur hospital does tht x

  • I'm attending extra classes, but there's nothing about position and breathing in labour...

  • I think position in labour can vary so would take a while and is usually how the woman is comfortable. .all 4s is gd..being on ur back is not as beneficial but again its whatever is comfortable. ..

    Breathing long deep breaths...

  • yes, I'm attending a coping skills in labour class on Friday, but partners can't come along... :(

  • Hey, your partner should be able to get time off work for the NHS classes I should think? I can't imagine a workplace can refuse. I found the NHS classes helpful and covered everything - if you want to know something specific you can just ask and I'm sure the midwife will be happy to answer. The classes I went to were very parent led, each class had a general theme and the midwife would ask everyone at the beginning what they wanted to focus on so that no time was wasted. The partners were involved too with group work, practicing massage, and things they could do during labour & after birth to help us. To be honest everything was common sense, if you've been reading up on things then there won't be any new info, I found my husband benefited from the classes a lot more than I did lol and at the end of the day nothing can prepare you really, I'm due in four weeks and I'm sure everything I've read and learned will go flying out of the window haha! I've found the videos on the NHS website to be useful too :)

    Here's a video on birthing positions:

    nhs.uk/Video/Pages/What-pos...

  • Thank you. I bought this book amazon.co.uk/Beautiful-Birt... that is a good overview on breathing, positions and massage. Practising in a class with the help of a midwife is better though...

  • This is a longer, better video on birthing positions :)

    nhs.uk/video/Pages/Choicesf...

  • I would recommend Wise Hippo hypnobirthing if you're interested in practising breathing and positions and some light touch massage. Not cheap, but I found it a much better course than the NCT one which I also did last time. The NCT one I used to make an invaluable support network of friends for after birth. I did pregnancy yoga last time and I'm sure the breathing practise in that helped me too.

  • Thank you.

  • Have you tried lazy daisy classes?

  • Just sent a message to see when the next class is and prices... Thanks.

  • My friend did it and said she loved it. Not sure of prices but defiantly worth an email asking

  • It can be expensive but we shopped around online and found a hypnobirthing class (ours was an hr away from home) that ran on a Saturday and cost £225. It consisted of 5 x 2.5 hr sessions and covered pretty much all you described you wanted and as was ran by a midwife she was really knowledgeable and sensible. It really involves the baby's dad and gets him playing a bigger role in the birth.

    I also went to the nhs ones snd was not at all impressed with them conpared to the hypnobirthing class.

    Good luck and search as much as you can on line.

  • Thank you. I've found some classes nearby but apparently I'm late...

  • nhs.uk/Service-Search/Anten...

    That'll show you where near you does antenatal classes and which do weekend and evening classes. Also I didn't attend any classes, but during my labour the midwives were more than helpful when it came to positions etc

  • That's what I hope, that the midwives can help me and my husband and that we don't feel uncomfortable...

  • I attended the NCT ones as really wanted practical advice... My husband also attended - they were expensive but really worth it. One of the unexpected consequences were the friends we both made. There were 5 couples in our class. We are all still friends 4 years on (inc husbands). All had second babies now and regularly meet up. We have also had a group camping trip and regularly go on holiday with one couple! The early days with your first baby are tough but having a ready made group of friends going through it at the same time as you (including 3am text discussions) I have found invaluable. We didn't pay that much but if you gain the friendship we were lucky enough to have made (and you can afford it) it would still be worth it! Having said that I don't think it needs to be an NCT class to help you find potential friends in the same boat but we couldn't find an alternative either!!! Good luck x

  • Thank you very much for sharing your experience!

  • NCT do reduce their fees if you can't afford it, nct.org.uk/courses/course-d...

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