Earlier this week, we completed our NCT antenatal course. You may remember that we blogged about our early first impressions, all of which were positive, but now that we’ve completed the course, we feel well placed to give a more in-depth judgment.
So, was it worth it? Having a baby involves many expenses, many of which are unavoidable, but paying for an NCT antenatal course is absolutely not compulsory. When you go to the midwife after the 12-week stage, you’ll be told about NHS classes that cover many of the same things as the NCT classes, so why spend money when you don’t have to?
Well, for us, it was simple. First of all, the classes were held literally down the road from us. When you’ve been working all day, the last thing you want to do is drive for half an hour or more and then faff around with parking. Secondly, they were held at reasonable times (the NHS ones nearest to us were held during the afternoon at around 2pm, which would have meant both of us taking time off work or me taking an afternoon off and attending without Kyle – not ideal).
There are other differences as well. None of the NCT classes felt rushed. They were held in a comfortable, quiet location each week, and proper time was devoted to all topics covered. We could even change course entirely if people had specific concerns and wanted to focus on something else. I have heard that the NHS classes have more of a “tick box” format to them, so making sure all the points are covered without devoting proper care and attention to individual concerns.
The people you meet on the course are also another huge tick in favour of NCT antenatal courses. Over the course of six or seven sessions you really bond with the people going through the same process as you, swapping pregnancy stories, hopes for the future post-birth, and of course horrified looks as you learn about various bodily functions you never thought you’d need to know!
The NCT teacher we had was also lovely, and never made us feel like any question was too trivial or “silly” to ask. It also helped that she was a fine cook and brought a cake every week!
The first few NCT sessions focused on the labour and birth experience, and the next few looked at breastfeeding and the practical side of looking after a baby. An NCT breastfeeding expert hosted the breastfeeding session, so we knew we were getting the absolute best advice out there. At three hours long, there was a lot of information to take in, but it was all invaluable. It was also reassuring to know that we can call or visit her after the baby is born if we encounter any feeding problems.
The practical sessions were exactly what you’d hope them to be: full of plastic babies and props e.g. baby baths and nappies! Needless to say we have far more confidence now than we did before when it comes to caring for a little baby and that’s worth the price of the course fee in itself.
So, if you’re wondering whether to spend money on an NCT antenatal course, our advice would be that it’s a really solid investment as long as you can afford it. We’re really glad we booked on to our local NCT course and can’t wait for the reunion with our babies later this year!