NCT classes - worth the money?

I'm looking into antenatal classes and trying to decide if the NCT ones are worth the money.

Also what is the difference between Essentials and Signature. Essentials is 5 x 2hr evening sessions and Signature is 2 x 6hr Saturday sessions and 2 x 2hr evening sessions either one is fine as we're off saturdays and evenings aren't a problem.

Any advice/tips from ladies who've been to them would be great!


  • I finished mine a couple of weeks ago. For us, the NHS class at our hospital wasn't a convenient option - it was on a Tuesday in the middle of the day and as H had just started a new job he's saving his holiday for post-baby. Plus not many of my local friends have babies and I liked the idea of potentially meeting people who loved local to me (our hospital is about 30mins away).

    We went for the evening option as we thought it'd be easier to tak in the info spread out a bit more. None of our group have had their babies yet, but we have met up for lunch once already as a group and I know some of the other girls have met for coffee etc but as I'm still working I'm not really in the loop yet. I think it's been worth it as H seemed to get a lot out of it, but if I didn't have the money to spare or had friends closer by I might have been inclined to give it a miss and perhaps just waited till baby and joined groups etc to meet people (I'll still do this anyway).

  • I did NCT to meet local mums and I've been lucky to meet some lovely people. The classes themselves are good but nothing you wouldn't learn in a book. The breast feeding sessions are probably worth the money alone though and H got loads out of it! I did 3 weekend classes and a midweek women's own session. I liked the longer sessions as it didn't interfere with work and you had plenty of time to go through topics although it did feel like information overload at times.

  • For me, it was about meeting people rather than the actual advice. I don't have any friends with babies and they don't even want children so I'm pretty much on my own. I see my nct friends almost every weekday, we do most things together and are quite close.

    I didn't really learn anything from the classes that I didn't know from reading books, online, mumdrum etc so I pretty much just paid for friends Laugh

  • I didn't pay for the NCT classes but have made a lot of friends through the NHS antenatal & post natal classes. I'm still friends with all of them 2 years on but we don't meet up as often as we used to (weekly following the postnatal classes) due to working different days/hours. I guess it really depends on who you end up in a class with! The NHS ones were 2 x 2 hour classes during the day whilst pregnant (weren't overly helpful tbh) but then 6 (+3 baby massage) post natal which were more useful. Although we all agreed it was more usual for the social meet ups & chats!!

  • I asked this question not so long ago and based upon the answers joined an NCT class.

    In all honesty in the classes I felt like I knew it all already, not because I have vast experience with children, but because I'd been on here so much and so had massively more knowledge than the others in the group. I have to say I found the NCT information a bit biased, they obviously have an NCT view and stick to it. I got particularly peeved when they refused to discuss formula feeding point blank (it was believed I couldn't BF at the time due to my meds and they didn't want to talk about it in front of everyone else), but rambled on about home births even though everyone in the group was adamant it wasn't what they wanted. They also stated that there were no BFing issues that couldn't be overcome, and mothers who gave in simply hadn't tried enough or sought enough help which annoyed me.

    My OH absolutely hated it (although he has brought up a child before and so knew a lot) and in the end it became an argument every week with me trying to get him there, whilst he sat that for 2 1/2 hours looking bored to hell.

    Having said all that, I wanted to meet other mothers and that has happened but we are spread over about a 25 mile radius, so only time will tell if the relationships remain.

  • Babylonglegs - I'd heard they were very obsessive over breast feeding and just to to nod and agree and bite your tongue. Hopefully my H will manage it!! I think we'll have the same problem about distance as the nearest class covers a very wide area.

    After reading all the replies I've enquired online about the Signature course for End July to Early Sept due dates. My H has no experience of babies/children what so ever so I think he'll really benefit from learning some basics and the reasoning behind certain things rather than having me tell him why it's a certain way!

    Thank you for the help ladies X

  • I did Nct to make friends too. It was been useful In that respect and I still see them every 1-2 weeks. However I don't think any will become life long friends.

    The actual course was rubbish!! The teacher we had was awful though. She was very vague and didn't even cover some major topics such as pain relief!

    I also did an nhs antenatal class which I found much more useful from a learning point of view. I didn't make any friends in my nhs class but I know it's still possible.
  • I'm glad it wasn't just us Pirate Wife, I thought maybe we were just being unrealistic.

  • I love the fact that within out postnatal group we all live 10 mins walk away.

  • That sounds good Blackkat. I live in a town, albeit not a small town but small enough for them to have to pull form a larger area to make a group. We lived the nearest to the venue about 10 mins away, some of the others were in different towns meaning we weren't all even under the same hospital.  We all drive so hopefully after our NCT arranged catch-up we'll keep meeting.

  • We did Nct and met up every week for over a year. A lot of us have started to move away but we still meet up when we can. It's good for meeting people. My NHS classes had about 100 people so there was no chance of getting to know anyone. H found it good too, not only to meet other Dads but also to learn about what he was supposed to do during the birth.

  • Babylonglegs: Our antenatal nhs classes were slightly further afield & there were about 15 couples & those who wanted to signed up to keep in touch & it was me that sent the initial email around to see how people were getting on. Then our postnatal nhs classes were all local people which worked really well

  • It does seem to depend on the course leader you get. Ours was really good and in our group we had one planned c-section and so she made sure to cover that along with everything else. The breast feeding session was taken by someone else and although it was meant to cover bottle feeding it wasn't really mentioned but then that was partly because she ran out of time because there were so many questions.

    Our leader didn't push homebirth at all and I found that she was pretty balanced about pain relief, intervention etc. It wasn't the massive push for drug-free, natural labour that I was expecting it to be.  She was very much led by what we wanted to discuss and covered some postnatal stuff too. We also had a ladies only session (the boys went to the pub!), which meant we could ask all the silly/embarrassing questions we might not have wanted to mention in front of the the men.

  • Flossy, I'm sure you're right it's like any profession there's good and bad

    At the beginning of ours she said they'd be a women only session, which I thought would be great and let the boys bond in the pub next-door, but when asked about it later she said she'd never said it. I think it would've been really good and wish it had have happened.

  • BLL, that's a real shame as ours was useful, partly for some of the more embarrassing stuff but also because it was a chance for us to chat about all sorts (overbearing family/inlaws, what happens when OH's go back to work), so it helped on a social level too and was a really informal chat. In the pub (from the small bit H told me) the talk was about which prams people have and then about football and everything non-baby related so it was good for the men too!

    Not sure if you've been sent the email for feedback but you definitely should complete it by the sounds of it. It's really bad that the standard varies so much, it's not a cheap option so I think you'd be well within your rights to have a bit of a moan.  

  • The content of our course was good on the whole, but very little I didn't already know. I did it to make mummy friends though, and in that respect it's been great, I meet up with over half the group once or twice a week. The first of round 2 of the babies is due tomorrow, one next month then me the month after, so there will be a few if us on maternity leave at the same time again, which I'm really looking forward to.

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  • Please stop ruining our forum spamming on proper topics with your absolute nonsense. It's really infuriating!!

  • I've signed up for a signature course and paid for it. Thanks ladies! x

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