Free Birth and Beyond courses in Reading and Chester

While you probably know that we run paid-for antenatal courses across the UK, you may not know that we also run free antenatal courses.

Contracts in Reading and Chester

Our Programme Delivery team currently has two antenatal contracts where NCT Practitioners work in partnership with the NHS Foundation Trust to provide antenatal education for expectant parents in the area.

We deliver six hour preparation for Birth and Beyond courses, sessions which are free for the parents as they are paid for by the NHS commissioners.

We have two contracts one in Reading with the Royal Berkshire hospital that we have been delivering since March 2016. The other is in Chester with Countess of Chester Hospital which has been delivered since February 2009.

Planning the courses

Delivering all the content onto six hours is challenging

On both contracts we work closely with the Infant Feeding and midwifery teams to set the content of courses, the format and to plan dates for the sessions.

In Chester the Infant feeding team at the hospital book couples onto courses. Whereas in Reading we have a NCT bookings administrator to place women onto courses.

Delivering all the content in six hours is challenging, but our practitioners have worked to put together a framework so that they deliver consistent good quality content in an engaging way.

Online sessions

Since the first lockdown, all sessions have been via Zoom. This has given us the opportunity to work closer with clients, communicating via WhatsApp and creating small bubbles of support for them.

The parents attending the groups have benefited from additional information and support from their NCT practitioner and a wider support network. They also haven’t felt as isolated. Some of these groups have gone on to support Walk & Talk events, as well as local community organisations throughout lockdown.

Some of the feedback from parents attending the groups has been fantastic.

“Thank you so much for yesterday, it was definitely helpful! It was lovely to meet you all, hope you’ve had a good weekend.” Juilitta & Fabio

“The course helps you feel comfortable and not alone during the whole pregnancy process. This is really important for a parent-to-be.” Anonymous feedback from our evaluation forms.

“We’re now a lot clearer about our birth choices and more confident about how to look after baby.” Anonymous feedback from our evaluation forms.

More info

We also offer a Birth & Beyond Community Support programme (BBCS). We train local women who want to become volunteer peer supporters in order to help mums during the all-important first 1,000 days. Find out more.

Our Infant Feeding Support line is open seven days a week, every day of the year, from 8am to midnight. Call 0300 330 0700.

There’s also lots of articles and videos to support feeding on our website.