Antenatal Classes with the National Childbirth Trust

These are small friendly groups for parents expecting babies. You will be with a group of parents to be whose babies are due at about the same time as yours. In the classes you will be given information and have a chance to talk through your feelings about labour, birth and life with a new baby.

The classes at taught by National Childbirth Trust trained antenatal teachers. Sometimes they are held in a house and sometimes in a hall or health centre.

The classes are usually each week for two hours (8 weeks altogether). Mostly they are in the evening but some are held at weekends. This is to make it easier for you and your partner to attend if you are working during the day. They are held in the last 3 months of your pregnancy

These are the sort of topics that will be covered:
[customlist icon=”ic-blue6″]

  • Pregnancy, what happens in labour and how the baby is born.
  • Choosing where to have your baby.
  • Body awareness, relaxation, breathing and massage.
  • Positions for labour and birth.
  • What is available for pain relief – natural and medical methods will be covered.
  • What complications might happen – caesarean birth for example.
  • What your partner can do to help.
  • What happens if your baby is early or ill.
  • Looking after a new-born baby and feeding your baby.
  • What it might be like when you become a parent and form your own family
  • Most classes have a reunion after all the babies are born. For many people the friends they make at their National Childbirth Trust class last for years.
  • If you want to have National Childbirth Trust classes you will need to book early in your pregnancy. These classes are very popular. There is a charge for classes.

Even if you cannot attend classes you may wish to join the National Childbirth Trust. The charity has many other services and is a good way to meet other new parents and find out what is happening in your area. Call us on 020 8992 8637 to find out how to book.

Experiences to share

For most the path to becoming a parent runs smoothly but some people have experiences that are a challenge. If you would find it helpful to talk to someone who has been through the same thing then do contact the National Childbirth Trust on 020 8992 8637. The National Childbirth Trust holds an experiences register of women who have come through difficult times and are happy to share what they have learned and how they coped with others going through a similar situation. If you feel alone with your experience of becoming a parent do call and we will do our best to put you in touch with someone to listen and share.

More free books

Two of the National Childbirth Trust range of books are being given away with “having a Baby” If you would like a third then join the National Childbirth Trust. The charity is giving one of seven books away free to new members who join in the next few months.

The special membership offer, which is a thank you to new members who join between now and the end of September 2000, gives readers a chance to sample a range of popular NCT books, worth £5.99 each, including ‘Potty Training’, ‘First Foods’, ‘Antenatal Tests’, ‘Postnatal Depression’ and ‘Safe Foods’.

Membership of the NCT also offers people an opportunity to campaign for key changes for parents within an organisation which has been leading the way in improvements in maternity care for the past 40 years.

Joining the National Childbirth Trust, which aims to enable all parents to have an experience of pregnancy, birth and early parenting which enriches their lives and provides a sound foundation for parenthood, cost just £36 a year for both individuals and couples.

As well as a free book, members also receive a lively quarterly magazine, a book of vouchers and eligibility for the Bank of Scotland credit card from which NCT receives a donation every time it is used.

Information on membership is available from:

The National Childbirth Trust

Tel: 020 8992 8637 (9.30 am to 4.30 pm).
The NCT website:

The ideal present for a friend

If you are looking for the ideal present for a millennium mum-to-be, why not try a year’s membership of the National Childbirth Trust?

Ideal for friends, relatives and colleagues going on maternity leave, the subscription to the Trust at just £36 for one or both partners is very good value.

Your gift will help to make their experience of pregnancy, birth and early parenting even more rewarding. The NCT offers antenatal classes and also it will help them to make friends with other new parents in their neighbourhood , as well as helping them to find out about social events through their local NCT network. In joining they will also become members of an organisation which has been at the forefront of improvements in maternity care for the past forty years.

The National Childbirth Trust aims to enable all parents to have an experience of pregnancy, birth and early parenting that enriches their lives and provides a sound foundation for parenthood. An added advantage of taking out a gift membership now is that there is a special free book offer to new members. There is a choice of one of seven free titles for new members signing up before the end of September 2000.

The NCT books worth £5.99 each are of vital interest to all new parents or parents to be and cover areas such as antenatal tests, first foods, crying babies, sleep, potty training and postnatal depression.

As well as a free book, the NCT also offers a lively quarterly magazine, vouchers, and eligibility for the Bank of Scotland credit card from which the NCT, a charity, receives a donation every time it is used.

To arrange a gift membership or for more information on the NCT call 0208 992 8637 (9.30 am to 4.30 pm). The NCT website is at


The National Childbirth Trust has over 600 breastfeeding counsellors. Their services are provided free to anyone whether they are a National Childbirth Trust member or not. You can reach a breastfeeding counsellor by calling our enquiry line on 020 8996 8637. Between 9.30 and 4.30 you will be given the name of your nearest counsellor so she can help you by phone or visit if necessary. At other time a list of breastfeeding counsellor phone contacts are provided. Breastfeeding counsellors are happy to help with any breastfeeding related issue – eg sore nipples or other feeding difficulties, returning to work and breastfeeding or mixing breast and bottles, feeding older babies, stopping breastfeeding and any worries you may have about finding it difficult to breastfeed or stopping feeding.

Midwives are very busy and do not always have time to sit with you in the first 24 hours after your baby is born so breastfeeding counsellors often take calls from women in the first few days after the birth of their baby. Our counsellors are all volunteers but love their vocation of supporting women who want to breastfeed so please, if you are worried in any way, do call.

Bras – being comfortable in pregnancy and while feeding

It can be hard to find a comfortable bra while your body is going through the changes of pregnancy and when feeding a baby. It is especially difficult to find the right size underwear if you are very small or very generously proportioned. Look no further. National Childbirth Trust maternity sales offer pretty and practical bras in sizes from 32A to 46J in a range of colours. Call us on 0141 636 0600 for your free catalogue or visit our website at Bras may be ordered on the phone, by fax or via the web. We also offer a fitting service if you would prefer. Pregnancy and Parenting Guides from National Childbirth Trust Publishing The following series of seven (soon to be nine) guides from National
Childbirth Trust Publishing/Thorsons are all available from NCT Maternity Sales on 0141 636 0600.
Each one costs £5.99, or you can choose one free when you join the National Childbirth Trust.

What should I eat now that I’m eating for two?

The NCT Book of Safe Foods is much more than just a list of what you can and can’t eat in pregnancy. It’s a 224-page nutrition handbook that anyone interested in diet will find really helpful. If you’re already pregnant, or thinking about becoming pregnant, you need it!

Written by the NCT’s Hannah Hulme Hunter, a practising midwife and
breastfeeding counsellor, and Rosemary Dodds, who is a nutritionist and research dietician, this guide is packed with helful information.

The book starts with basic nutrition and explains why it’s important to eat the right foods at all times. It lists all the vitamins and minerals your
body requires, where to get them and why they’re important. It explains why certain foods should be avoided during pregnancy and gives food hygiene rules to follow. To sum up, key points are listed at the end of every chapter.

There’s a full chapter on coping with morning sickness, with suggestions on what can help control feelings of nausea and when you need to seek further help. Putting on weight when you’re pregnant is also covered in detail, including a section on how to check for gestational diabetes.

Healthy lifestyle choices are explored in a chapter which covers drinking, smoking, drugs and looking after your body. Finally, chapters on your body after the birth and the best diet to follow while breastfeeding, give lots of helpful pointers.

NCT Book of Safe Foods, by Hannah Hulme Hunter and Rosemary Dodds, published by Thorsons in collaboration with NCT Publishing, 1998, £5.99.

Just discovered that you’re pregnant?

Confused by all the tests and what they can tell you? You’re not alone! ‘Antenatal tests can now tell parents more about their unborn baby than it has ever been possible to know before,’ says Mary Nolan, author of the NCT Book of Antenatal Tests and she knows how confusing that can be.

This little book gives a clear, detailed account of this very complex area. It covers whether or not to test, what tests mean and explains the difference between ‘screening’ and ‘diagnostic’ tests.

A full explanation of blood tests and what they screen for, is given, plus a description of ultrasound scanning, what it involves and what scans reveal. Diagnostic tests such as CVS and amniocentesis are fully explained.

Finally, questions of whether or not to terminate, are explored in full. A list of support groups and suggestions for further reading is included. As Mary puts it in her introduction: ‘No one should be asked to make decisions which could affect the rest of their lives without having all the information they need.’

This book puts all that information in your hands.

NCT Book of Antenatal Tests, Mary Nolan, published by Thorsons in
collaboration with NCT Publishing, 1998, £5.99.

Sleep! Sleep! Just let me sleep!

Small wonder that this is one of the most popular NCT titles of the series. Most new parents are desperate to get their little one to sleep through the night. The NCT Book of Sleep is just what they need.

Author Penney Hames goes into detail here, covering every aspect from ‘what is sleep?’ to ‘what does your baby need to sleep?’, including ‘when should I stop feeding at night?’ the question of dummies, where to sleep (pros and cons of bed-sharing), practical tips, coping with feelings, and getting support.

The section on behaviour management lists four methods of getting your baby to sleep alone, starting with simply ‘leaving him to sleep’ (which can be traumatic for all concerned) through ‘controlled crying’, the ‘kissing game’ (‘be prepared to give up to 300 kisses on the first night over a three-hour period… Most children are sleeping easily within a week’) and finally your fourth option – gradual withdrawal.

The book ends with a ‘beyond babies’ section which outlines the sleep problems of older children, and like all the books in this series, lists further reading and useful sources of support, such as how to find a
cranial osteopath. It also tells where to buy such useful bits of equipment as a swinging crib or three-sided cot.

Written in Penney Hames’ inimitable style, this book is the business.
NCT Book of Sleep, Penney Hames, Thorsons/NCT Publishing 1998, £5.99


‘All babies cry,’ points out Anna McGrail. ‘They have to. It’s their only way of communicating their needs.’

These crisp words come at the beginning of the NCT Book of Crying Baby and introduce a note of calm to parents who may feel close to breaking point.

‘Each tiny being comes programmed with an alarm system which sets our own responses of adrenaline into motion… Crying is a survival mechanism for babies: unable to do anything for themselves, they need to provoke someone into providing them with warmth, sustenance, comfort and affection,’ she explains.

Anna gives a calm, sympathetic and reassuring account of an issue that can drive new parents demented. No quick solutions are offered to stop a baby crying, but chapters cover looking after yourself, survival strategies, special situations (such as colic, twins, premature babies) and your
growing baby. Options explored include homoeopathy, herbal remedies, aromatherapy, cranial osteopathy (craniosacral therapy), reflexology and diet. The experiences of dozens of other parents are quoted.

As with all the other books in this series, sources of support are listed are at the end, together with suggestions for further reading.

NCT Book of Crying Baby, Anna McGrail, Thorsons/NCT Publishing 1998, £5.99

Feeling miserable – or know someone who is?

Everyone is supposed to be happy when they’ve just had a baby, but the reality isn’t always so great. In the NCT Book of Postnatal Depression, Heather Welford gives a clear account of this problem and its three different levels of seriousness:simple baby blues, deeper postnatal depression and the frightening puerperal psychosis.

This is a helpful, non-judgmental handbook, suggesting some of the causes of PND and listing all the many sources of help available, including medical treatment and support from other mothers.

As Denise Welch (Natalie Horrocks of Coronation Street) herself an ex-sufferer from postnatal depression, confesses in her introduction: ‘talking to other women who had suffered and recovered was a huge help to me’.

Heather Welford gives an idea of how long it will be before the PND
sufferer can expect to feel better and how the syndrome affects the rest of the family. Keypoints sum up the main issues at the end of each chapter and a full booklist for further reading, plus a list of useful organisations to contact, is included. The book ends with four real-life accounts that will reassure other women currently suffering from depression that they’re not alone – and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

NCT Book of Postnatal Depression, Heather Welford, published by Thorsons,1998, £5.99.

When, where, what, and how to wean?

Starting your baby on solid foods is a tricky area and this little handbook will help enormously. Ravinder Lilly’s NCT Book of First Foods shows how to increase the volume and variety of what your baby eats, starting with fruit and vegetable purees. Ravinder covers allergies, food intolerances to watch out for, and gives a rundown of basic nutrition information. Her ‘weaning-at-a-glance’ calendar makes it all easy. The second half of this book includes 90 pages of babyfood recipes.

NOTE: the National Childbirth Trust recommends not starting solid foods until your baby is about six months old.

NCT Book of First Foods, Ravinder Lilly, Thorsons 1998, £5.99 – or receive a free copy when you join the NCT.

Wet patches and worse

Are you at the stage of starting to think about encouraging your little one to move from nappies to the potty? There are lots of ways you can deal with this. The NCT Book of Potty Training by Heather Welford describes them all.

It discusses when and how to begin, coping with accidents and even special cases such as twins and children with special needs. Includes a long section on Frequently Asked Questions. This book will help you decide which is the right approach for you and your child.

At only £5.99 it’s a good value way to make life easier.
NCT Book of Potty Training, Heather Welford, first published by Thorsons, 1987 and now reprinted and updated 1998, £5.99.


NCT Book of Child Health

Dr Morag Martindale
A comprehensive A-Z of childhood ailments and how to treat them, from abdominal pains and allergies to warts and verrucas. Includes sections on First Aid, when to call the doctor, nursing a sick child and coping with stays in hospital. Written by Dr Morag Martindale, GP and mother of three, it includes an introduction to all the health service professionals who are here to help you.

NCT Book of Child Health

by Dr Morag Martindale, published by Thorsons in collaboration with NCT Publishing, 2000, £5.99.

NCT Book of Toddler Tantrums

Penney Hames
Another fascinating book by the funny, wise and very helpful child
psychologist Penney Hames, who examines every issue from the child’s perspective, as well as the exhausted parents’. Penney explains why tantrums are a necessary stage in a toddler’s growth and indicates ways of tackling the push-pull dynamic of desire for independence versus fear of separation. She includes lots of parents’ accounts that will reassure other parents, and gives detailed accounts of different ways of handling the problem.

As with all the other books in this series, sources of support are listed
are at the end, together with suggestions for further reading.
NCT Book of Toddler Tantrums, by Penney Hames, published by Thorsons in collaboration with NCT Publishing, 2000, £5.99.


NCT Complete Book of Babycare

(HarperCollins Illustrated)
256-page, fully illustrated with 300 colour photographs, £16.99
Written and edited, modelled and photographed by NCT people and their babies, the NCT Complete Book of Babycare covers every aspect of a baby’s life from birth to three years.

Designed in such a way that each double-page spread covers a single topic in detail, this book includes ‘step by step’ picture guides to swaddling, breastfeeding, how to change a nappy, make up a cot, put on a baby sling etc. and a sequence of real-life ‘our typical day’ accounts tells uncertain new parents what to expect.

This guide has largely been written by antenatal teachers and breastfeeding counsellors. Sections by child psychologist Penney Hames cover babies’ physical and emotional development, and include lots of fascinating information on how children learn to speak, to crawl and walk. It also covers starting solid food, potty training, and branching out to playgroup.

It would make a beautiful and useful gift for any new parent.

NCT Complete Book of Pregnancy

(published with Thorsons) 192-page, companion volume illustrated with 200 colour photographs, £14.99
The first section of the NCT Complete Book of Pregnancy covers the first three trimesters of pregnancy, with information on what to eat, what not to eat, antenatal tests, antenatal exercise, your rights at work, choosing where to have your baby, preparing for labour etc.

The second section covers labour and birth in detail and includes lots of photographs of actual births, which are informative and reassuring.
An extended section on ‘ You and Your New Baby’ follows which includes the physical and emotional repercussions of birth, beginning to breastfeed, choosing to bottle-feed, special needs babies and a long A-Z of pregnancy.

The book ends with nine actual birth stories, covering every type of birth, including four home births, waterbirths, a twin waterbirth, a planned caesarean, an emergency caesarean, an induction, and a VBAC – all
fascinating and informative.

Written by NCT people, all experts in their field, the book benefits from 40 years of NCT experience plus the latest up-to-date research-based


The ‘four core’ titles:

These four titles, first published in collaboration with Thorsons in 1998, cover the four corners of birth and parenting and cost £9.99 each.

These are not ‘how to’ books, but are gentle, authoritative, thoroughly researched accounts of how women move through the life-changing experience of giving birth. They give a lot of space to feelings, especially the contrasting feelings of different women. All illustrated with beautiful line drawings.

Being Pregnant, Giving Birth

Mary Nolan
A 226-page ‘feelings first’ guide to the experience of becoming a mother – from Chapter One, discovering that you are pregnant, through choosing maternity care, antenatal testing, preparing for labour, coping with pain in labour, fears and losses and the early days with a new baby.

All thoroughly researched by NCT antenatal teacher and health service trainer, Mary Nolan, and including useful section on resources and further reading.

You and Your New Baby

Anna McGrail
This account of life after childbirth won an award from British Medical
Association. A lovely book for people who enjoy comparing their own experiences with those of other mothers. 238 pages cover learning new skills, your postnatal body and feelings, re-drawing the relationship with your partner, you and your world, you and the future. Plus directory of support services and further reading.

Includes some practical information but concentrates largely on the
emotional side of becoming a mother.

Breastfeeding Your Baby

Jane Moody, Jane Britten, Karen Hogg
A encyclopaedic 234-page guide to breastfeeding, with 12 fully
comprehensive chapters covering everything from ‘Deciding to breastfeed’ to ‘How to stop’. Lots of space given to other women’s voices.
Illustrated with beautiful line drawings and answering all possible
questions you may have in lots of helpful detail.

Working Parents Companion

Teresa Wilson
An informative, 180-page guide to balancing work and home.
Written by an NCT antenatal teacher and breastfeeding counsellor, who also teaches childcare, this guide covers all the questions that need answering, from your maternity rights, planning your return to work, choosing childcare, carrying on breastfeeding while back at work and coping with the impact on your family. It also gives lots of space to other women’s contrasting experiences.


New Generations – 40 Years of Birth in Britain

Joanna Moorhead
In 1957, a small band of dedicated women got together to help new and expectant mothers find a voice in a world where childbirth was looked upon as a frightening and mysterious ordeal – and it was felt that the less
mothers knew about it the better.

It was even considered rather distasteful for an obviously pregnant woman to appear in public! We’ve come a long way since then.

Many of the improvements in maternity care are due to the tireless work of the National Childbirth Trust. Did you know that the NCT successfully campaigned for the presence of partners during labour; campaigned against mothers being parted from their babies after birth; encouraged the ‘breast is best’ movement and now works flat out to promote mother-centred maternity care?

Read all about it now! Joanna Moorhead’s account of the last 40 years of the NCT’s work is inspiring, empowering, touching, and sometimes hilarious. It has been called ‘the adventure story of how women are changing childbirth’.

New Generations – 40 Years of Birth in Britain

by Joanna Moorhead, published by NCT Publishing £9.99.

Disabled Parents – Dispelling the Myths

A National Childbirth Trust Guide by Michele Wates
In this book, disabled parents share their experiences of the issues surrounding their decision to have and raise children. It is a candid account of positive and negative aspects of the subject and details the obstacles many of these parents face and overcome- disapproval from others, dealing with physical restriction and, above all societies inability to recognise the role of disabled people as cares when they are so tightly pigeon-holed as dependants.

This is not ‘another book about heroines’ but a practical and positive insight into disabled parenting that will be invaluable to those working or studying within the health and social services profession and to people with disabilities who are interested in the subject.

“This book goes much further than any other in giving an insight into how disabled parents want to be treated”
Dr Ann McPherson, author of Diary of a Teenage Health Freak
The NCT website is at: