I wanted to take an opportunity to write a review to say how great I found the Doctor and Daughter antenatal course.
This is my first pregnancy and I have read a lot of books in preparation but I also wanted to do antenatal classes with my husband so that he feels more involved, prepared and clued up about all the changes that will occur in my body and in our life as we know it.
The classes were recommended to me by a friend and so we signed up without hesitation and have no regrets as we both got a lot from it.
This course of antenatal classes are very different to others I have heard of as they are neither run by militant mums nor lactivists. The Doctor and Daughter course is instead run by Roger, a leading obstetrician with over 40 years experience, and his lovely daughter Rebecca, a mother of two. Whilst Roger provided expert knowledge on the practical and medical side of pregnancy, labour, and the postnatal period, Rebecca was very open and honest about the realities of motherhood and birthing. I felt it really the best of both world’s as in every session you felt you had your best friend’s point of view and personal experience alongside that of a very trustworthy doctor who’d seen and experienced every type of labour- with a lighthearted approach given by both parties!
We loved the rapport between father and daughter- this made the classes all the more enjoyable for us. Both were extremely approachable and knowledgeable plus fun to listen to, even when the subject matter was not always the nicest. We felt the class was also very non-judgemental about people’s choices and very supportive. I mentioned my desire for a homebirth and was immediately given a plethora of resources to look into and told honestly about the transfer rate, which was invaluable to me and has made me very open-minded about the whole thing!
The course consisted of 6 sessions and most lasted around 2 hours, with a short tea break in between. The classes were extremely well- structured and throrough covering all from exercise and diet in pregnancy, issues that could occur in pregnancy, the labour and our birth options, pain relief, breasfeeding, baby care and additional resources and help. Guest visitors included a doula and hypnotherapist, a bra fitting expert, a midwife and a pilates teacher.
Handouts were given out at the end every session for us to keep and refer to in our own time and were written in a very disgetable manner. The amount we covered in such a relatively short space of time was great and something new was learnt in every class.
I had also signed up to do NCT prior to hearing about Dr and Daughter and the experience was quite different.
At NCT we found a lot more time was given to group activities and role-play to allow for bonding with other parents.
The course content was also very good but all was delivered by a well-meaning mum of one who’s experience and expertise was more limited and no match to the Roger & Rebecca duo! Classes were very slow paced in comparison as subjects were largely covered in group discussion- with various break out groups and games. Hand outs were given after class but were mostly photocopies of textbooks, not personalised as per Dr & Daughter.
At NCT we also covered pregnancy issues, labour, breastfeeding and perhaps a little more on parenting and partner communication once baby arrives. I think many courses can teach you the ‘realities of birth’ over a ‘positive birth’ experience and I felt our NCT class covered both, whereas Dr & Daughter focused more on the realities of birth.
Our NCT teacher was very unbiased -which was a nice surprise- but our NCT breastfeeding session was run by an expert who was very militant in extolling the virtues of the breast without covering much of the practical side of things, and quite honestly made me feel more confused and frustrated than informed on the subject.
NCT can feel like you are in a classroom environment being forced to make friends and agree on the benefits of a natural labour and breastfeeding over anything else. Dr and Daughter never felt this way- the focus was very much on the course content- delivered in a very digestable way and covering all types of labour, your choices and potential issues. The breaks were very short and bonding with other parents was (in our group) done out of class with pub meetings and a whatsapp group – this worked better for us as nothing felt forced. I also felt the type of people met at Dr and Daughter were much more on our wavelength than at NCT. The things learnt at Dr and Daughter also made me feel calmer about the birth- no matter what the final outcome might be…
Another virtue of Dr and Daughter was that it was taught in the evenings after work, whereas at NCT we were only given weekend and weekday options, meaning time had to be taken off work for various sessions and many felt too long for the subjects covered. NCT had free tea and coffee but Dr & Daughter also included a lot of nice extras, not only with great guest speakers but with snacks including popcorn, biscuits, nice cordials and teas , a bra fitting session, a kegels class and a hypnotherapy session to boot so by the end of the course you had an idea of what you might like to do to prep for labour. In addition we were all given plus a very, very generous goody bag full of samples and discounts.
Overall I have to say for us Dr and Daughter felt like it was more what we wanted- a great antenatal class that leaves you feeling more educated and prepared for the impending birth without any of the activism, role-playing or silly games just sympathetic, impartial and expert advice from not one but two great people.