Midwives are the lead healthcare professionals for women, taking care of their welfare during pregnancy, labour and into the early postnatal period.

In straightforward pregnancies, Midwives are responsible for planning, managing and delivering care. If a woman has a complicated pregnancy, or experiences a miscarriage or stillbirth, Midwives take on the role of care coordinator, ensuring she receives the necessary support from the appropriate health and social care services.

Extraordinary everyday

Watch the video below to hear from some Nurses and Midwives about their experiences and what matters most to them in their roles.

Registered Midwives work on antenatal, labour and postnatal wards as well as in neonatal units. They also work in the community, within GP surgeries or local clinics, provide care at home, or in midwife-led units providing antenatal, labour and postnatal care to women and their newborns.

Midwives help women and their families learn about pregnancy and the processes of childbirth, explaining what will happen and discussing any choices that need to be made. Ensuring a positive experience for mothers and their babies is one of the most important aspects of the job. As experts in childbirth, the role of a Midwife can be demanding and carries plenty of responsibility.

The duties of a Midwife typically include:

  • giving pregnant women advice on lifestyle choices, such as healthy eating or smoking cessation
  • planning, implementing and evaluating Midwifery care during pregnancy and childbirth
  • running antenatal classes
  • monitoring the baby during labour and birth
  • providing postnatal care for women and newborns

As a Midwife, you’ll need to be:

  • physically fit
  • able to work in a team environment
  • confident when carrying out procedures
  • patient and tactful
  • a good communicator, with excellent people skills
  • flexible in your approach to work
  • able to deal with emotionally charged situations
  • able to remain calm under pressure
  • able to cope with the demands of a large caseload and unpredictable workload while supporting colleagues

 Other essential skills and abilities include:

  • answering questions and offering advice
  • good oral and written communication skills
  • being compassionate and sensitive

Becoming a Midwife means undertaking professional education at degree level. All Midwives working in NHSScotland must be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), once they have graduated from an approved educational institution.

In Scotland, the list of NMC approved educational institutions includes:

To gain entry to a midwifery degree course, you are likely to need 4 SQA Highers at BBBC grade, including English and a science subject. A pass in National 5 English and Maths grade A - C may also be required, if these subjects are not achieved at SQA Higher grade.

Entry requirements vary depending on the university, college or provider. You are advised to contact each individual provider to find out more.

Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP) – Nursing and Midwifery (SCQF Level 6)

Some Midwives begin their career as a Healthcare Support Worker, such as a Maternity Support Worker, before going on to study for a registered Midwifery degree. The SWAP Nursing and Midwifery programme is for adults returning to education, perhaps changing career or seeking to gain the equivalent university entry qualifications needed for a Midwifery degree. There are no formal entry requirements, but applicants should have a good standard of general education and have been away from formal education for a minimum of 2 – 3 years.

Successful completion of the course could lead to:

  • A Midwifery degree by applying to universities that participate in the SWAP partnership programme
  • Entry to an HNC Social Care course
  • Entry to an HNC Additional Support Needs course
  • Entry to an HNC Care course

Please visit the Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP) website for more information.

Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme

To work as a Midwife in NHSScotland, you will be subject to occupational health checks and background checks, such as the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme, managed by Disclosure Scotland.

Once registered as a Midwife, there are on-going requirements for education and skills development and a host of opportunities to go further with your career and learn more. During your first year as a newly qualified Nurse, you'll get extra support and guidance through the Flying Start programme.

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

  • infection control
  • moving and handling
  • risk management
  • immediate life support
  • health and safety
  • obstetric and neonatal emergencies

With further training you could work in specific areas of Midwifery, such as ultrasound or neonatal care, caring for women with substance misuse issues or for teenage pregnant mothers. Others take up roles in management, Midwife education or research, sometimes in combination with ongoing practice as a Midwife.

Healthcare is constantly developing, technology improving, and the needs of the population changing. It's necessary to keep yourself up to date with health care issues and practice.

Midwives at all levels need to show leadership. Students and Healthcare Support Workers often look to junior Midwives for guidance and support, while at higher levels Midwives may lead teams of Midwives, whole departments or services.

You might become a Senior Charge Midwife (SCM). SCMs are responsible for ensuring that the highest standards of care are delivered in the way in which service users and the wider public expect. This includes motivating and empowering all their staff to place dignity, privacy and compassion at the centre of their practice.

A number of initiatives have been developed to support Midwives as they move forward in their careers, including Effective Practitioner, Early Clinical Career Fellowships, Leading Better Care and NHSScotland's National Leadership Unit. The Scottish Multi-Professional Maternity Development Programme (SMMDP) also supports further skills development and promotes best practice. See www.scottishmaternity.org for details.


Revalidation is the process which Midwives need to follow to maintain their registration with the NMC every 3 years.

The requirements for revalidation are:

  • 450 practice hours
  • 35 hours of CPD including 20 hours of participatory learning
  • Five pieces of practice-related feedback
  • Five written reflective accounts
  • Reflective discussion
  • Health and character declaration
  • Professional indemnity arrangement
  • Confirmation

Revalidation is an ongoing process throughout your career and aims to promote good practice and to maintain and strengthen public confidence in the profession.

Find out more information from these professional and regulatory bodies:

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

The Nursing and Midwifery Council is the governing body for Nurses and Midwives, and exists to protect the public. The NMC also make sure that Nurses and Midwives keep their knowledge and skills up-to-date through revalidation.  Registered Midwives must renew their professional registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council every three years.

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.