Last night we graduated from our NCT antenatal course, and I feel kinda sad that it’s over. In all honesty, I wasn’t really looking forward to the course. I thought it was going to be really lame and a bit cringey, and when my friend used the R word (role-play), I was more than a little nervous, but I wanted another opportunity to meet people who were going through the same things as us at the same time, so what better way than to go on a course with 5 other couples who are all having their babies at the same time as us?!
Our first session was cancelled because the practitioner’s kid was sick, so we started a week late and then agreed to cram two sessions into one week later on. The sessions were held at a local village hall on Tuesdays (mainly) at 7-9. We reached the hall by bus straight after getting off the train from work for the first 3 sessions, and for the last two we had our new wheels and I was already on maternity leave so we were able to drive there.
This is a broad summary of what we covered over the 5 sessions:
- Relationships and support networks
- Pelvic Floor Exercises
- Choosing where to have your baby
- Birth partners
- Pain Relief and other intervention
- Decision making during labour
- Feeding and caring for your baby
I think the course was really well-structured and informative. It’s the only one I’ve attended so I can’t compare and contrast against other practitioners and methods, but I thought the layout was great, really interactive, we were encouraged to ask questions and not made to feel silly if we got something wrong or asked a ‘daft’ question. I learnt a lot more than I would have done if it had just been a lecture set-up, where we were just talked at for 10 hours. We had loads of opportunities to discuss a variety of topics in different groups and get some clarity on certain points we weren’t sure about.
One thing I was apprehensive about was whether some ‘agenda’ was gong to be rammed down our throats because people like to say that about the NCT, but I really don’t feel that it was. All of our options (in terms of pain relief, feeding etc) were clearly laid out with no bias (in my opinion), just pros and cons. Now I feel a lot more prepared for when it comes to laying out our birth plan with the midwife next week. D got a lot out of it too and now we have more of an idea of what to expect when I go into labour, and when we bring baby home so we can throw away some of that apprehension and just feel excited about becoming parents.
Socially, I wasn’t blown away at first. All the couples felt a little distant and the groupwork felt a little awkward, there was nobody that I really warmed to immediately so I went to my default setting which is being the joker and trying to make everyone laugh (“LIKE ME, PLEASE LIKE ME!”). One couple dropped out after the first session, and another were only on this course because the one for July births was already booked up, so already I was down 4 potential May-baby friends, so I felt a little put out by this. However, as the 4 weeks went on everyone warmed up a lot so hopefully we will be having some lasting friendships with the other couples, or at least a few coffee/play dates – our Whatsapp group should help us facilitate that.
After our last couple, due in July,have their baby we’re scheduled to have a reunion, so I am really looking forward to that already. Hanging out with these other couples and all our babies will be great after sharing the learning experience with them.
The course was £124, plus £40 for annual NCT membership which I was reluctant to pay at first but now the course is done, it feels well worth the money as we learnt so much. I’m not sure if it costs the same in other regions, but you can find out about courses close to you here.
Did you do, or are you doing NCT? Or another course? What was your experience? Would love to hear how other people found it!