27 Mar

Starting NCT classes

One thing I’ve been looking forward to for ages was starting my NCT classes. For those who don’t know, NCT stands for National Childbirth Trust and they offer classes to help prepare men and women for the experience of birth and beyond. It’s worth signing up for your classes as early as possible in your pregnancy because they do run out of spaces, especially here in the Wimbledon area, which is affectionately known as “Nappy Valley” because we birth more babies per square mile here than any other area of Europe. Fact.

Another reason I was excited is that most women have told me that they made long-lasting friends from their NCT group. I’d also had reports from a few that said they hated everyone in their NCT group, so I was curious to see what we were going to get.

On Tuesday, March 22, we went to our first class. There were 8 couples in our group and I’m happy to report that everyone seemed really nice. Phew. That’s one hurdle down.

As it was the first meeting the boys and girls were separated out to discuss what they wanted to learn in the class in the following weeks. When we came back together to share our questions, it quickly became clear that men and women have different priorities when it comes to child birthing. While the women wanted to know about pain relief and what birthing options we had, the boys wanted to know how they could get more sleep and which iPhone apps were best. To be fair to the boys, they also wanted to know what to do when we start having contractions. Answer: there is an iPhone app for recording the frequency of contractions. I’ve downloaded it. It’s called Ctx Timer.

Another great part of the night was when the instructor showed a cross-section diagram of what a women’s body looks like without a baby and with a baby. The men almost fell off their chairs with newfound respect for our compacted bladders, lungs, stomachs and intestines.

One thing that I realised pretty quickly as I sat there and chatted with my new best friends is that I’m damned lucky. Owning a family portrait studio, James and I have regular contact with mums and dads. Due to that, we know a lot about what’s available to new families and have received some pretty good advice. We also know all the best places for new mums in our area to hang out, like the Cupcake Spa. I’ve been recommended some great books and I’m knowledgeable about where to go for quality baby yoga in the area. I even knew what a doula was when the instructor asked. I kind of felt a little bit like the five-year-old Julia with all the sex education info in the playground again.

The only hiccup of the evening was when I made a comment about breast pumps and was summarily told by the instructor that women are not cows. Got it, boss!

Looking forward to our next class already.



  1. 04 Apr


    My iphone is now officially loaded up with all the relevant timers so hopefully I’ll be of some use when Julia goes into labour.

    My father suggested that a watch was more then fine in his day. I bet his watch didn’t give him useful facts after each contraction to read to my Mum to keep her focused.

    Hmmmm, now I read that back I suspect that Julia may not give a damn about ‘The amazing thing about a woman’s tolerance to pain is….’ during the throws of childbirth.

    Not long to go now. Gulp.

  2. 04 Apr

    cara @ lillian and leonard

    I loved that diagram. I used to show it to people and then shout at them “BUT I’VE GOT TWO BABIES IN THERE!”

    I wish we’d gone to NCT classes but we just couldn’t find the time. Those friends would have been invaluable in the first couple of months.

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