Maternity support worker

In 2018 there were over 51,000 births in Scotland. Maternity teams are not only responsible for the births, but also the care, protection and health improvement of mothers and their newborn babies.

Working under the supervision of a midwife, maternity support workers have a range of responsibilities in supporting women in pregnancy and childbirth. This includes assisting midwives with straight forward labour and births.

Starting your career

Choosing subjects at school

To become a maternity support worker, you'll need a good level of education, including:

  • English
  • Maths

Apprenticeships

An apprenticeship is a good way to start your career in healthcare.

Modern Apprenticeships

A Modern Apprenticeship in Healthcare Support (clinical) at SCQF Level 6 and 7 is a good opportunity for people interested in working in a clinical healthcare setting. You'll get the skills and experience you need as a healthcare support worker and work towards a qualification too.

Find out more about apprenticeships at apprenticeship.scot.

Work experience

If you’re at school, work experience could help you when applying to college, university or for a job in healthcare. You’ll learn new skills, improve your knowledge and discover what it’s like to work in the health service. Find out how to apply for work experience with the NHS.

The role

As a maternity support worker, you will help care for mothers, their babies and families before, during and after childbirth. You’ll provide information, reassurance and assistance to mothers and newborns, making sure they receive safe and high-quality maternity care. Maternity support workers do not make clinical judgements or decisions about mothers or their babies.

What you’ll do

Tasks include:

  • helping to deliver care plans
  • educating parents
  • supporting families in labour wards and maternity theatres
  • helping with parenting classes
  • taking blood samples
  • preparing equipment

You may also have to cope with unpredictable or emergency situations.

Top skills

You’ll need these skills:

  • caring
  • communication
  • listening
  • persuasion
  • problem-solving
  • relationship-building

Who you’ll work with

  • midwives
  • healthcare support workers

Working environment

You could work in:

  • the community
  • postnatal wards
  • maternity theatres
  • delivery suites
  • midwifery-led units
  • family homes

Useful information

To work as a maternity support worker in NHSScotland, you’ll need to:

Learning and development

You will receive induction training provided by the recruiting NHSScotland Board when you start, including:

  • infection control
  • breastfeeding support
  • risk management
  • child protection
  • health and safety

You may be encouraged to work towards further education qualifications. This includes:

Certification of Higher Education Maternity Care Assistant Programme

The Certificate of Higher Education Maternity Care Assistant Programme is designed to develop the knowledge and skills of existing maternity support workers who already work in a hospital or community midwifery setting. It is based at the University of the West of Scotland.

Another useful website you can browse is Healthcare Support Worker Central. You’ll be provided with the tools to learn as well as information about support, funding and resources.

With experience, you could become a senior maternity support worker. You may also apply to become a registered midwife or nurse.