24 April 2023
Before deciding whether, as expectant parents, we can use the teachings of the NCT (National Childbirth Trust) and hypnobirthing together, we need to know a little about what each one offers and any costs involved.
Once we have access to more details, we can make informed decisions about what is best for us as individuals.
Founded in 1956, the NCT is now a nationally-recognised, registered charity for everything related to pregnancy, birth, and early parenthood.
The NCT’s vision is that no parent is isolated, but is supported through the first 1,000 days. They achieve this as follows.
● Sharing knowledge supported by evidence
● Creating support and friendship via networks of ante-natal and postnatal groups
● Research and campaigns on issues of importance to parents of babies and children
Courses and workshops on pregnancy and breastfeeding, yoga, First Aid, and the baby’s early days are available across the UK.
Ante-natal and postnatal teachers are educated to the highest level in partnership with the University of Worcester.
The charity’s website is packed with information; they even have a telephone support line for those days when you just can’t wait!
The NCT comes highly recommended by parents who have used their services, and many have reported making lifelong connections and friendships.
Although different ideas on natural birth have been around for centuries, Marie Mongan coined the word hypnobirthing in her 1989 book, Hypnobirthing: A Celebration of Life.
Hypnobirthing comprises holistic techniques taught to expectant parents to prepare them physically and mentally for a calm and peaceful journey through pregnancy and birth while maintaining a sense of positive well-being.
Class teachers are qualified birth and hypnotherapy professionals, teaching small groups or individuals 1:1. The length and number of sessions depend on the individual teacher. Still, although there is no centralised ‘syllabus,’ most practitioners usually focus on the following subjects.
● Nutrition and body tone
● Breathing and relaxation
● Meditation and visualisation
● Positive affirmations
There is considerable documented evidence of the benefits hypnobirthing brings to mum and baby, such as less anxiety during pregnancy and a more positive outlook on labour and the birthing process.
The easy answer is yes, they can.
The NCT website contains a whole page devoted to information about Hypnobirthing.
Furthermore, some NCT courses include hypnobirthing practices, such as breathing techniques and relaxation in preparation for labour. Check your local NCT ante-natal group for more details.
However, there are some things you might want to consider before taking on both the NCT and hypnobirthing together.
● NCT is a registered charity, and a central body regulates its childbirth classes.
By contrast, although teachers are highly qualified in their subject, hypnobirthing courses are still taught primarily by individuals for profit.
● The NCT actively promotes social groups of expectant parents leading to lifelong friendships.
Hypnobirthing generally works with very small groups or individuals, with the main focus of support on the techniques learned rather than the people.
● An NCT antenatal course price is fixed at £239 (October 2022). Discounts may be available depending on an individual’s household income.
Most hypnobirthing courses are available privately, with payment made directly to the course teacher. Prices may vary according to what package of support you want.
● The NCT focuses on more traditional ante-natal classes, which discuss the whys, the wherefores, and the physical aspects of childbirth.
Hypnobirthing focuses on relaxation, calm, and creating a positive birthing environment and mindset based on specific learned techniques.
Whichever you choose to attend, or even both, have a good look around at what’s available in your local area.
Both NCT and hypnobirthing teachers recommend that pregnant parents start attending antenatal classes at around 12 weeks, the end of the first trimester. Classes fill quickly, so start searching in plenty of time, so you don’t miss out.