Our pregnancy education

Just before the 30 week stage, our “formal education” began. OMG indeed.

The exciting part: antenatal classes

  • NHS antenatal class (flinty stare from midwife was the decider there) – 2 hours or so
  • NCT – 2 full days plus a half day on breastfeeding
  • Antenatal yoga for me – actually I’ve pretty much given up on those because I kept missing them with transport problems which ironically, made me very stressed out
  • Hypnobirthing classes – four three hour weekly sessions 

There are different rationales around each thing we’re doing. I’ve been a bit rubbish about reading about pregnancy apart from occasionally dipping into this and I read Ina May Gaskin too because it was recommended by sensible friends. The birth stories in the first part get really repetitive but it’s full of common sense. Some of it seems more applicable to the US healthcare system though.

That’s why I’m keen to do the NHS class – to get a midwife-led insight into protocols and procedures our hospital would prefer to use. Mainly so we can make informed choices when writing our birth plan (or ‘wish list’ as I heard it called the other day).

The NCT classes – well, a full two and a half day program feels like a definite commitment.  Mainly to getting the emails of local parents who are having kids when we are, but still.  

We’ve done one hypnobirthing class and so far I’m really enjoying the fact that the thinking behind it really involves the dad (or birthing partner, whoever it is) Next week is all about relaxation techniques and I’ll probably be asleep by the end.

The sobering part: the cost of having a baby

Everyone tells you that this time is expensive (especially for your first) and I’m not going to lie: the education budget so far is a gut-wrenching £650, give or take. We could have saved money by buying Marie Mongan’s book and CD on hypnobirthing rather than take a class.1 Similarly with the NCT there are options other than classes. Instead we’ve scaled back other things, elected to go down the ‘preloved’ route for many things, or been lucky enough to receive gifts and hand me downs.

What did you decide to prioritise when having a baby? Was it important to you to have everything new, or did you try to keep spending to a minimum? Let me know in the comments.

Blackboard photo from Patrick Haney’s Flickr stream, under a Creative Commons licence


  1. also that hoary old chestnut of certain things such as classes being more expensive in London than elsewhere in the UK does seem to apply – demand? venue hire? We’re mugs? Who knows. 

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