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How to become a maternity support worker

You can become a maternity support worker through a Modern Apprenticeship or by applying for a vacancy on our recruitment website.

What is a maternity support worker?

Maternity teams are responsible for the care, protection, and health improvement of mothers and their babies.

Supervised by midwives, maternity support workers care for women during pregnancy and childbirth. This includes assisting midwives with straightforward labour and births.

Starting your career as a maternity support worker

Choosing subjects at school

To become a maternity support worker, you'll need a good standard of education. There are no specific entry requirements, but useful subjects include:

  • English
  • Maths

Speak to your guidance teacher about subjects offered at your school.

Work placements and volunteering

You may find it helpful to get some healthcare experience by doing a work placement or volunteering. You’ll get training, increase your knowledge, and learn new skills. This could help you when applying to university, college or a new job with NHSScotland. 

Modern Apprenticeships

A Modern Apprenticeship will help you get the knowledge, skills, and experience you need to reach your career goal.

Learn about the Modern Apprenticeship in Healthcare Support.

All Healthcare Support Modern Apprentices study 3 mandatory units:

  • communication
  • health and safety
  • learning development

You'll choose your remaining units from the clinical pathway options for midwifery.

Get to know the role

As a maternity support worker, you'll help care for mothers, their babies and their families before, during and after childbirth.

Maternity support workers do not make clinical judgements or decisions about mothers or their babies.

Instead, you’ll provide information, reassurance and assistance to mothers and newborns, making sure they receive safe and high-quality maternity care. 

Tasks include: 

  • help to deliver care plans
  • educate parents
  • support families in labour wards and maternity theatres
  • help with parenting classes
  • take blood samples
  • prepare equipment

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

You'll need these skills:

  • caring
  • communicating
  • motivating and persuading people
  • problem-solving
  • relationship-building
  • teamwork

Maternity support workers work with other healthcare professionals, including: 

  • midwives
  • healthcare support workers

You could work in: 

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

Learning and development

You'll receive induction training provided by the recruiting NHSScotland Health 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:

  • SQA HNC Healthcare Practice
  • Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP) – Nursing Nursing and Midwifery
  • Certification of Higher Education Maternity Care Assistant Programme

Certificate of Higher Education Maternity Care Assistant Programme

If you're an existing maternity support worker 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 receive the learning tools and information about support, funding and resources on Healthcare Support Worker Central.

Career progression

With experience, you could become a senior maternity support worker. Healthcare experience will be helpful if you decide to go to university and study to become a registered midwife or nurse.

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