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.

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

As part of a team, MSWs may work in midwifery-led units, delivery suites, postnatal wards and within the community. MSWs provide information, guidance, reassurance and assistance to mothers and newborns, ensuring that they receive appropriate, safe and high-quality maternity care.

MSWs must have excellent communication skills and be able to work with people with different backgrounds and lifestyles. Typical duties include:

  • helping to deliver care plans
  • educating parents
  • supporting families
  • helping with parenting classes
  • keeping records up to date
  • taking blood samples
  • preparing equipment

As a Maternity Support Worker, you will need to be:

  • physically fit
  • able to work in a team environment
  • confident
  • tactful
  • positive and enthusiastic
  • good oral and written communication skills
  • good problem-solving skills
  • pleasant attitude

Abilities include:

  • patience and understanding
  • able to remain calm under pressure
  • compassion and sensitivity
  • ability to work a varied shift pattern

To apply for a job as a Maternity Support Worker, you are likely to need a good standard of general education, including English and Maths. Previous voluntary or paid work experience in a healthcare setting would be an advantage.

The specific entry requirements will depend of the Agenda for Change (AfC) band (2, 3 or 4) for the job. The qualifications asked for may also vary, depending on the recruiting NHSScotland board. You are advised to contact each individual board to find out its specific requirements.

You may also require or be encouraged to work towards an SVQ Healthcare Support (Clinical) at SCQF Level 6 and SCQF Level 7 qualification. Find out more about qualifications for healthcare support workers on the SQA website.

Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme

When applying to become an MSW, you’ll need evidence of your good health and character, and background checks, such as the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) managed by Disclosure Scotland.

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.

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

Career development

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.

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.