Maternity support worker

In 2019, there were over 49,500 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

Work placements and volunteering

You may find it helpful to get some experience of working in healthcare by doing a work placement. There may also be opportunities to volunteer. This could help you when applying to university, college or a new job with NHSScotland.

Apprenticeships

Foundation Apprenticeships

A Foundation Apprenticeship could give you the skills, knowledge and work experience you need to start your career journey as a maternity support worker.

Find out more about the Foundation Apprenticeship in Social Services and Healthcare.

Modern Apprenticeships 

Begin or continue learning the skills, knowledge and work experience you need to become a maternity support worker with a Modern Apprenticeship.

Learn more about the Modern Apprenticeship in Healthcare Support.

All Healthcare Support modern apprentices study the three mandatory units of communication, health and safety, and learning development. For maternity support worker, you will then choose your remaining units from the clinical pathway options.

The role

As a maternity support worker, you'll 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

You could 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'll 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

If you're an existed maternity support worker working in a hospital or midwifery setting, you could apply for the Certificate of Higher Education Maternity Care Assistant Programme. The programme is based at the University of the West of Scotland.

You’ll be provided with the learning tools and information about support, funding and resources on Healthcare Support Worker Central.

With experience, you could become a senior maternity support worker. This experience can be helpful if you decide you want to go to university to study to become a registered:

Learn more about becoming a healthcare support worker from NHS Education for Scotland's Healthcare Support Worker Careers Guidance leaflet