Using Your B.R.A.I.N | NCT Antenatal Class

Today is the third NCT Antenatal class, it is the first one for which I am truly exhausted and really not wanting to be there. Today’s class is broadly split into 2 topics; Options available when giving birth and establishing a newborn baby’s routine.

When it comes to giving birth we were told to use our BRAIN, just not in the common sense way you would think; someone at the NCT has come up with a super stupid acronym that surely no-one is expected to remember. I can hear you thinking, but Chris, I can see you have detailed what it means below so you must have remembered. Well, no. I had to google it. Between Jen and I, we couldn’t for the life of us remember what the NCT BRAIN acronym was. If you happened upon this post, because you too are after the reminder, allow me;

B – Benefits

R – Risks

A – Alternatives

I – Intuition

N – Nothing

As you can see, it is a simple risk analysis that yet another organisation has decided to overcomplicate. “Benefits” and “Risks” are helpful and useful things to remember; if a healthcare professional suggests something during childbirth, asking what the benefits and risks of the recommended course of action are is a very useful thing to consider. Don’t forget, it is your body and your needs are the most important.

Asking what alternatives are available is something that you might not consider asking, you could be told of one course of action, it doesn’t mean that it is the only one, so if you only take one thing from the BRAINS acronym offered by the NCT, I would suggest it be to consider the alternatives.

So far we have found that a BRA can be very useful, hell why couldn’t they have just stopped there? Rather than use your BRAIN, use your BRA, it stops things going tits up.

Back to the point at hand; being told to use our intuition is probably the most idiotic thing to do. We really shouldn’t leave potential life and death decisions about mother and baby up to; “our gut feeling.” If we are being told to do something by hopefully an impartial and trained healthcare professional, don’t choose to ignore them purely because your gut tells you to, last time I heard, the only thing we should trust our gut for is to tell us when we need to go to the toilet, and even then it sometimes fails us.

Sure, if you have more information than the doctor, use some common sense and discuss it with them, don’t just shut them out. If a mechanic tells you that your car needs new brakes, shows you that they have fallen off and explains that statistically 70% of people with this problem crash and die on the way home, you don’t say “na, you’re wrong” and drive off! Well, I hope you don’t.

The second half of the class revolved around routines, and that pretty much for the first few weeks, newborn babies don’t have the physical capacity to settle into a routine; they eat, sleep and poop whenever and wherever they want and it is our job to just be there. To illustrate her point, the course leader passed a bag of pictures of newborn babies with different facial expressions around, we had to choose one at random and say what we thought the baby needed (sleep, feed, nappy etc.).

As the bag went around, the guesses were added onto a board that represented each hour of the day. When the board was full, it was quite obvious that there was going to be very little time for the parents to do anything, let alone sleep. I have been “helpfully” informed by every parent we meet that we are not going to get any sleep, it wasn’t until now that we realised how little we could expect.

Class is over, the obligatory once around the room; State your name and one thing your learned in the class. As we finished, I realised one thing, after 3 classes and 9 hours with all these people, I didn’t know one person’s name, despite being introduced to everyone at least 6 times now. You might wonder how this is even possible; Easy, you are sat there practically shitting yourself trying to come up with a new and unique thing you have “learned” that you simply don’t pay enough attention as to what other people are saying.

Next week; breastfeeding. It appears most of the dads are reluctant to attend the class, we will see how many are dragged in kicking and screaming by their partners.