Maternity Support Worker

Maternity Support Workers (MSWs) help midwives to care for mothers, their babies and families before, during and after childbirth.

Working under the supervision of a midwife, MSWs help ensure the best level of maternity care is provided by following instructions and procedures. MSWs assist with straight forward labour and births, but must also be able to cope with unpredictable or emergency situations.

The Role(s)

Maternity Support Workers (MSWs) have a range of responsibilities in supporting women in pregnancy and childbirth. 

These tasks are done under the supervision of a qualified midwife and can include:

  • taking blood samples for testing
  • making routine observations (such as temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and breathing)
  • maintaining accurate records and other administrative duties
  • maintaining stock levels of stationery and equipment
  • preparing equipment
  • clearing up after sessions

They work in a variety of settings including:

  • community health services
  • acute post-natal wards
  • maternity theatre
  • delivery suite
  • midwifery led units

They need to be able to cope with emergency situations as well as more straightforward labour.

Skills, Interests and Abilities

Useful skills include

  • verbal and written communication
  • pleasant attitude
  • an ability to work a varied shift pattern 

Relevant interests include

  • health
  • babies and children 

Entry Requirements

To apply for a job as a maternity support worker (Band 2), you are likely to need a good standard of general education, including English and Mathematics. The specific entry requirements will depend on the Agenda for Change band (2, 3 or 4) for the job.

The qualifications asked for will also vary depending on the requirements of the recruiting NHSScotland board. You are advised to contact each individual board to find out its specific requirements.

Experience of working with children and families is beneficial. This can be either or paid or voluntary work in a hospital or other healthcare setting. You may also require or be encouraged to work towards an SQA SVQ Level 2 or 3 Healthcare Support (Clinical). Find out more about these qualifications on the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) website.

You will also need to be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme managed by Disclosure Scotland.

Modern Apprenticeships

Modern Apprenticeships offer those aged over 16 paid employment with the opportunity to train for jobs at craft, technician and management level.

The Modern Apprenticeship in Healthcare Support (clinical) at SCQF Level 6 and SCQF Level 7 is a framework for people interested in working in a clinical healthcare setting.

For more information about this Modern Apprenticeship framework, look at:

Contact your local NHSScotland board to find out if this Modern Apprenticeship is available in your area.

Learning and Development

Induction training will be provided by the recruiting NHSScotland board when you start. Additional training normally covers the following:

  • infection control
  • breast feeding support
  • risk management
  • child protection
  • health and safety

Working closely with midwives and experienced support workers, and by completing a supervised programme of training will allow you to develop your skills. You may also be encouraged to work towards further education qualifications, such as SQA HNC Healthcare or the Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP) – Nursing/Nursing and Midwifery. With experience and further training, you could apply to become a registered midwife or nurse.

Professional Bodies

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

The Nursing and Midwifery Council is the governing body for nurses and midwives, ensuring their knowledge and skills are up to date. The NMC website also contains information about registration, training and professional standards for nurses and midwives in Scotland and the rest of the UK.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM)

The Royal College of Midwives is a professional organisation dedicated to midwifery. It provides work place support and advice, clinical guidance and information on learning and career development. Find out more on the RCM website.