Back to School.

With so much to learn about our upcoming adventure in parenthood, we decided to book on to do an antenatal class. Following on from many recommendations we opted to go for the NCT (National Childbirth Trust) option which was split over 6 sessions and cost around £250, rather than one 8 hour NHS class.  Knowing there was so much to take in we decided it was the right decision for us to split it into bite sized chunks so we didn’t leave the course feeling more bamboozled than when we began!

We were really impressed! Our course had a really informal feel to it and we were able to cater it to what we wanted to learn as a group (of 10) at the speed that worked for all of us. We also got to meet some really nice people who we are still in touch with now. I think that’s half the charm of the NCT option; that you get to spend a lot of time with the other people on the course. You get to know them and they go from being complete strangers, to possibly the ones you call in the middle of the night when your baby just wont go to sleep, or when you can’t get them to latch on. You know they will be going through the exact same things at the same time.

NCT logo

NCT have about 50 years of experience, and we found out so much extra info to help us feel prepared for the big day, and of course beyond – when the real work begins! Our teacher was fantastic and made everything very simple to understand whilst including answers to every question or extra piece of info we asked for. We covered numerous subjects, such as;

Complications of pregnancy – Back ache (don’t I know about that one!) breathlessness, heartburn, constipation, headaches, swollen hands/feet, cramps, CONSTANT weeing, sleeplessness (again, one of my specialist subjects) as well as more serious complications such as pre-eclampsia, Group B strep and Obstetric Colestatis.

Birth options – Active, water, positions, Caesarean, assisted delivery, induction, breathing techniques.

Pain “management” (because as it happens not even an epidural is guaranteed to block out all of the pain!) – TENS, water, Pethidine, Meptid, Epidural, gas and air, massage  techniques (i.e. not a rough rub leading to pretty much just a friction burn!!)

Feeding – breast/bottle, (with a dedicated girls only breast feeding class) and lots of information about support groups and drop in centres for anyone struggling to breast feed.

Signs of labour – period pains, pressure in bottom, constant backache, waters leaking, a show, bleeding, nesting, diarrhoea etc.

Care for the baby – changing, winding, holding, sleeping, feeding, etc.

Preparation for the birth – what to take with you to the hospital (maybe that suitcase full of clothes isn’t necessary after all?) Getting the essentials bought and set up at home, what to include on your birth plan.

The list goes on and on, we certainly felt that we came away equipped to deal with what was thrown our way on the big day…Well, in theory at least!

It was great for Stu to learn so much as it means he feels in a better position to support me on the day and he knows what to expect. He also knows that when I get to the stage just before I’m ready to push (transition) and I begin to regress into a primitive cavewoman and tell him I’ve had enough and I am going home out via the window, that we’ll possibly have a baby within the hour.

What ever option you go for, I hope you find it informative and helpful. If nothing else, do it for the biscuits 😉

2 thoughts on “Back to School.

  1. I really enjoyed our NCT classes and met some wonderful supportive people. Our course provider was incredible, so knowledgeable and welcoming and she has provided help and information even after the course was complete.

    My only negative feedback in hindsight and with first-hand experience was the breastfeeding councillor who ran the BF’ing session was incredibly pro breast feeding which I feel set an unrealistic precedent. I was incredibly keen to BF and I have been successful however what wasn’t covered during the session was the emotional turmoil of waiting for your milk to come through and how to cope if everything doesn’t go as straight forward as she made out it would be.

    My daughter was born at 11lb 4oz and after 55 hours of labour I had to have a c-section. I was not told during the course that your milk may take longer to come through after a c-section. On day 3 my daughter was starving and inconsolable. She had a borderline infection and we had been kept in hospital and I felt I was failing her and putting her health at risk which with my hormones all over the place left me in constant tears. Luckily I had fantastic support from the midwives who told me it was ok to cup feed her some formula while waiting for my milk to come through and got me expressing as well as feeding her to encourage the milk through. On day 5 my milk came in and on day 6 she had her last top up of formula. She has since been gaining 100g a day from breast alone.

    Hopefully when provide this feedback to the NCT course provider it will help future groups gain a more realistic view as I am pro BF’ing and love a positive approach but a large dose of realism is needed especially at such an emotionally charged time.

    • Thanks for your comment Lizzie, it’s really great to hear how you found the classes. I have to say our BF councillor wasn’t over baring in terms of being pro BF, however I have heard that before, as of those at the hospital. I’m really happy for you that you managed to persevere with it and were successful. Wow, congratulations on your labour also, that sounds like a very difficult experience to go through.
      I think it’s really important that you don’t feel alone when it comes to BF and caring for your baby and I have felt really assured by the support network of my local NCT (Basingstoke, Hampshire) and the BF councillors and hopefully other new Mum’s have felt the same. But of course I really wont know until the day comes when I have to go through it first hand. I have heard that cup feeding can help during those first few difficult days.
      I really hope your local branch listen to your feedback and adjust the content accordingly so other new mothers who are perhaps not able to persevere quite as much don’t feel how you were made to feel – I know you are not the only one; it’s difficult when it’s all new to you and you already feel nervous that you are not doing anything right!
      Best wishes for your future, and thank you again for your comment.

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