NCT - The Beginning

There are certain things that are synonymous (in my head) when I think of pregnancy… morning sickness, cravings, and some sort of class where someone hopefully tells you what the hell is going on and how to deal with what’s to come. In our case, this was NCT. I knew friends who had attended, made friends through it and generally found it a useful thing. Now, I personally thought that NCT was an NHS thing, probably for similar reasons why my mum gets the RSPCA and the YMCA confused. However, when looking online and applying to our local one, the reply of the fee showed that woahhhhhh, it really is nothing to do with the NHS.

NCT is, in fact, a charity, with fees going towards their helpline and online facilities. I’ll admit though that, on seeing the fee, I was fairly reluctant to attend. But, as a new parent, I felt that support was necessary and so, with a deep breath and a sulking bank account, we decided to give it a go.

Last night was our first class, and while there is no way I’ll be blogging about the other people on the course, I wanted to give a little insight into how each stage of the classes are for us in a way to help others make a decision about whether to attend.

So back to the issue of money, our course cost us £350, which makes it, so far, the single most expensive thing we’ve bought our upcoming baby. This very nearly put us of attending as it’s a lot of cash for two self-employed buffoons to part with but, with a bit of parental help plus speaking to others who explained how helpful it had been, we decided to go ahead. Of course, not everyone will be lucky enough to be in this position, and while I think NCT is a nice luxury, I wouldn’t  necessarily class it as a must-have. There are NHS-lead classes available, although these seemed harder to get into, plus they’re a bit more limited, and there are also other companies that offer similar sessions, but these were sold out in our area. However, I believe that NCT do options for those on low incomes, and while I don’t know how effective this is or how easy it is to get, that might also be a possibility. So, while it’s a nice thing to do, I wouldn’t pressure anyone into going, especially if money is tight or you’re unable to give up a night a week to it. Both of us work evenings a lot of the time and have had to pass up work, which is a painful experience when you’re in the last couple of months of working and need to save every penny, so that’s certainly something to take into account. 

On to our first class. At just over two hours, we were pretty daunted at what was going to happen, plus we had convinced ourselves that we were going to hate the other couples there. We had already been warned that, with just three couples attending, this was going to be a small NCT group, and we were sure the other pairs would be terrible. It’s very much like the feeling you get before a first rehearsal, you are so utterly sure that everyone else will be awful, of course completely forgetting that you’re one of those people too, and hey, you’re okay, so chances are they will be as well. And, yes, they were. In fact, they were more than okay. Within seconds we were all happily chatting away, and not even about baby-related stuff, which at this stage is a blessed relief. We all live in the same area, we’re all of a similar age, all embarking upon our first child in our 30s, all reasonable human beings by the looks of it.

The first session, fuelled by a ready supply of tea, coffee and biscuits, was really about understanding what we wanted from the course. We discussed what we knew, what we didn’t know, and what we hoped to know. My fear of there being terrible ‘getting to know each other’ games was quickly put to one side, and instead we just chatted. Everything was incredibly informal, a nice mix of information, jokes and time for us to ask any questions that we have, big or small. We soon found that we all had very similar views and levels of knowledge, and it was incredibly comforting to find ourselves in a group that felt very open and non-judgemental.

However, what I was most impressed about was how involved birthing partners get to be in the group. As the mum to be, we get a lot of the attention during these nine months, we get prodded, poked, checked, looked after, marvelled at, so much so that it’s often easy to forget that this is something that two people are embarking upon. But during our class, there was a strong focus on what the birthing partner’s role was, what it was they wanted to get out of the course, and what was important to them. It’s made what seemed, and still does seem, like a daunting and terrifying task feel just that bit more achievable, a bit more exciting even.

Oh, and on top of all this, the teacher is bloody lovely, like ridiculously bloody lovely. 

I know we still have classes full of excruciating massage techniques and breathing techniques, but in our little North London band of 6, it doesn’t feel quite so tortuous.

Currently in need of...

This is a less in need of, and more of a huge thanks to Mothercare for their quite brilliant sale on at the moment, which has allowed us to rather cheaply indulge in Star Wars bibs and a hugely unnecessary Converse hat and socks combo. While we're aware that we will be getting tons of clothing from friends and family, it's so nice to be able to buy a few bits ourselves, and January sales have made this tiny indulgence feel a little less guilty.

Currently appalled by...

LEGS. ACHING LEGS. If anyone knows how to get them to stop aching at the end of the day, I'm all ears (and legs). Just don't tell me to do more exercise, because the only exercise I will be doing is rather aggressively hunting you down and torturing you. 


  1. I hear you on the legs! My Midwife got me on tonic water with apple juice in it for that (the quinine reacts somehow with the apple - it is baby-safe and helps).

    The classes sound awesome! You're not missing anything on the NHS ones. I went with my first in 2001 and refused with the others (they can only make you first time out). Second week in with us, the midwife was out, so they had the Health Visitor do the session. She said she wasn't sure where we were at in the course material, so we would do an exercise to see how labour felt. - This turned out to be having the partners do chinese burns for 30sec, then 60, then 2 mins.

    Midwife returned the next week and asked how we'd got on. When we told her she was shocked: "Well that's ridiculous! No man in his right mind will hurt his pregnant wife enough. I'd at least have made them swap partners!" Then she gathered us into the kitchen and told us the only useful thing we ever got from that course: "Girls, no-one will ever tell you what giving birth feels like because the truth is, it's like s****ing a coconut".

    Your classes sound like heaven by comparison. Glad they've stopped the whole 'terrify everyone as much as possible' policy NHS used to operate on.


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