National Childbirth Trust

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The National Childbirth Trust (NCT) is a UK-based charity with registered charity number 801395.[1]

The National Childbirth Trust is the leading charity offering information and support in pregnancy, childbirth and early parenthood.


The National Childbirth Trust, originally called The Natural Childbirth Trust, was founded in 1956 as the result of an advertisement placed in The Times by Prunella Briance. Briance was inspired by the writings of British obstetrician Grantly Dick-Read, who is regarded by many as the father of natural childbirth, and became the first president of the NCT.[2] At that time the rules of childbirth dictated that women did as their doctors told them. Very little information about pregnancy and birth was available. The resulting ignorance bred fear, and fear led to pain and a lack of support in childbirth and early parenthood.

Briance's advertisement announced "A Natural Childbirth Association is to be formed for the promotion and better understanding of the Dick-Read system. Anyone interested write Box...". The inaugural meeting was held on January 29, 1957 at Caxton Hall with Grantly Dick-Read as one of the speakers. The NCA became the Natural Childbirth Trust in 1958.[3]

Key dates[edit]

  • 1961 renamed the National Childbirth Trust, given charitable status. Begins publishing leaflets.
  • 1967 Breastfeeding Promotion Group and Teachers' Panel formed, setting training standards and services. NCT lobbies Government to research techniques thoroughly and end the overuse of interventions.
  • 1980 Postnatal Committee set up, leading to Parentability (support group for disabled parents) and other support groups.
  • 1989 NCT becomes a Company Limited by Guarantee
  • 1991 NCT gives evidence to Winterton Committee based on its own research
  • 1994 Report of the Expert Maternity Group, on which Eileen Hutton, NCT's then President, was a member, is adopted as Government policy for England and Wales
  • 1995 NCT Publishing established
  • 1997 Antenatal teacher training was now validated by the University of Luton
  • 1999 Parentability becomes an independent organisation, the Disabled Parents Network.
  • 2001 National Breastfeeding Line and NCT website launched
  • 2005 NCT website revised and updated to
  • 2008 NCT launches a new logo and website
  • 2008 NCT changes class bookings system from volunteer- to employee-run service - other volunteer-run services remain unchanged


The Trust's activities include parentcraft classes (ante-natal and in some areas post-natal), breastfeeding support and information and organising nearly new sales. Local branches pursue a wide variety of projects on a volunteer basis, from publishing newsletters with local content for parents, to running major fundraising events such as sponsored toddles and charity balls. A quarterly magazine, NCT Matters, published by Axon Publishing, communicates its activities to all members.

Courses for parents[edit]

NCT runs courses for parents-to-be and new parents all over the UK and the Channel Islands. These courses are facilitated by diploma-trained professionals, and focus on providing evidence-based information about pregnancy, birth, and early parenthood. Class groups are kept intentionally small - both to promote interactivity and to allow parents to develop a social support network.

Whilst the NHS offers equivalent courses for free, NCT courses are priced per hour, and the hourly rate depends on:

The number of hours in the course The price band of the location of the course

The course price is then rounded up to the nearest pound. A typical 16-hour NCT Signature antenatal course will cost £156+ and charges for the shorter essentials classes (if available) are higher if both parents (or a birthpartner) attend. Courses available vary largely from location to location.

Courses are open to all, including disabled parents, surrogate parents, single-sex couples, single parents, adoptive parents, and indeed anyone with or expecting a new baby. The charity offers concessions to those on low incomes, and has also provided courses to parents who cannot join in normal classes, for example mothers in prison.

NCT offers the following types of course:

  • Antenatal - courses aimed at parents expecting a baby - also covers looking after a new baby
  • Early Days - a discussion-based, facilitated course for parents of babies 1–6 months old
  • Perinatal - Antenatal and Early Days courses combined into one course for the same group of parents

In some areas, NCT can offer workshops on specialised topics such as homebirth and weaning.

In April 2012, NCT launched NCT helpline, a single number which allows parents and parents-to-be to access information on pregnancy, feeding and all their course information. NCT helpline is 0300 330 0700.

The NCT also has a free online peer support community within HealthUnlocked.

Nearly New Sales[edit]

Nearly New Sales (NNS) help raise funds for the charity and mean that parents have somewhere to buy inexpensive but decent equipment, toys and clothes. NNS also enable parents to pass on their children's toys and clothes to good homes. The (NNS) sales are organised by local NCT branches.

Bumps and Babies TM[edit]

Bumps and Babies groups organised by the charity bring together mothers with babies of a similar age for support and socialising. A chance to have a cup of tea and talk to other mums in your area, and encourage your child/children to play.

Speed Bumps TM[edit]

These events are for those in early pregnancy and their partners. Like speed dating parents get a chance to meet others who live nearby and are expecting a baby.

NCT Active[edit]

The NCT campaigns on issues such as improving services for those expecting a baby, providing support for parents who want their baby to be breastfed, and for issues affecting those caring for a child under 2 years old.

The NCT is also a supporter of the Nestlé boycott.

NCT Online[edit]

The National Childbirth Trust's trading arm raises funds for the charity through its online shop, offering a wide selection of products and information for pregnancy, birth and early parenthood. All profits go to the charity to support its work.

NCT Babychange App[edit]

The National Childbirth Trust's award winning NCT Babychange app, produced by Axon Publishing, helps parents find their nearest babychanging facilities. The app is available on both iOS and Android platforms.


In January 2013, Kirstie Allsopp, presenter of property-related television shows, sparked press comment when she tweeted, "Lots of people have good NCT experiences, but many don't. This is a very politicised, dogmatic, and in my experience scary organisation."[4][5] There was further press criticism in the UK's Daily Telegraph when the TV series In the Club, featuring an antenatal class, premiered.[6]


External links[edit]