Last night was our last NCT (National Childbirth Trust) class. We’ve had 7 in total, and two extra ones just for mums. We signed up the classes as we’d heard good things from family and friends, but our experience didn’t seem to match what we’d heard, or more specifically, our trainer / coordinator was disappointing.
Three top things that didn’t impress us about NCT classes:
- Useless use of statistics. Being told “if you don’t have your baby in the same room as you when you sleep will increase their chance of cot death ten times” is quite a startling statement, until you ask “ten times of what?”. After doing a bit of googling we were told that 4 in 10,000 babies in the UK die in their cots for no explainable reason. The scary statistic doesn’t seem so scary now.
- Terrible advice. The worst piece of advice was that breastfeeding was a reliable form of contraception as long as your baby is breastfed and nothing else. This was given in a mums-only class and my wife immediately questioned this. When pushed the trainer admitted that it was only truly reliable in the third world.
- Midwife bashing. There seemed to be an underlying issue with midwives and the NHS in general. We were told that NCT trainers were better trained than midwives and had to work harder to keep up their training. We were told that doctors and midwives were to be questioned at every stage. We were repeatedly reminded (to the point that it felt like an expectation) that anything a midwife does could be classed as assault if full permission is not given.
But it wasn’t all bad. In balance, here’s the top three parts that did make a difference.
- Meeting people. It’s an expensive way of making new friends, but we have met some really great people who we hope to keep in touch with.
- Discussions. Talking through different ways your life will change after the baby and sharing fears / expectations / anxiety keeps you feeling sane through the crazy changes going on.
- Timelines. We went through full timelines of everything building up to labour and the first 6 months afterwards – this really helped to manage expectations and give you the basics of what to expect on D-Day.
All in all I’d say the classes were worth it, and hearing other experiences I would still recommend them to other couples with a baby on the way. Just be prepared to add a pinch/sackload of salt to something things the trainer might come out with….