Just as Tuesdays are currently dressmaking nights, Mondays are NCT Essentials night. This week was our second session out of five before Pickle arrives, but it was LPD’s first as he missed last week due to his skiing holiday. You can read about our first session here. I was so excited to see how he found the session, and was looking forward to seeing how he’d fit in with the other Mums and Dads. Bless him, it was quite easy for him to chat with the other Dads as his arm strapped up in a sling was an easy conversation starter!

This week’s class mainly focused on the birth. The bit we’re all dreading. We did quite a bit on breathing techniques, allowing us to try and figure out what might work best for us and help us get through contractions the easiest. We tried:

  • Just taking deep breathes
  • Counting each deep breath to see how many are within a contraction
  • Counting down during the contraction from a high number e.g. 125 or counting back in threes from 333

Our course leader shook a rattle to give us an idea of how a contraction might build which was quite distracting but did make me think about how the pain would be distracting in a similar way – it’s going to be difficult to focus on the techniques when pain is in the mix! I found counting down from a high number made the minute-long contraction go much quicker than the other techniques so definitely one to try when the time comes.

New Parents pregnancy birth labour

The Dads had to think about what qualities make for the ideal birth partner.

This week, the Dads were tasked with writing a ‘job description’ for the ideal birth partner. LPD took this task quite literally and most of his suggestions sounded like they came straight off a corporate job description, including:

  • Good team player
  • Ability to work well under pressure
  • Punctual
  • and my favourite… Target driven

I think he was pretty pleased with himself! He was fairly overwhelmed when we discussed the various stages of labour and how he could be a support in different stages. Whilst I’m very envious of Dads because they don’t have to endure the physical pain of childbirth, I do feel for them. It can’t be easy watching someone you love in so much pain and discomfort and feeling powerless to help. I especially know LPD will struggle with this.

NCT Essentials stages of birth

We mapped out the various stages of labour and how our birth partners might support during each different stage.

We tried out a few different labouring positions – some we couldn’t quite do properly with LPD’s arm in his sling but I found kneeling in front of a birthing ball ESPECIALLY comfortable. I hadn’t really considered a birthing ball before, but now it’s definitely on my to-buy list. I’d really recommend other mums-to-be testing out a few different positions beforehand to see what feels comfortable as everyone’s different – get your partner involved so they can practice giving you a back rub too!

NCT Essentials labour positions

We were given a hand-out with some of the positions on to try. I’m definitely going to be kneeling labour-er I reckon!

Next week we’re going to start looking at feeding options and we’ve all been asked to think about how we were fed as a baby and how that might influence our decisions. I can’t say I really know how I was fed… all I ever get told about being a newborn was how tiny I was! Time to get chatting to my own Mum I think. Another NCT Essentials session under our belts – another three to go hopefully before Pickle arrives!