Maternity support workers are the frontline of a family's journey through pregnancy, childbirth and the first few days of birth.

Working life

As a maternity support worker, you'll work under the supervision of a registered midwife. They are sometimes also known as maternity healthcare support workers or midwifery assistants.

You'll be:

  • helping to care for mothers and babies
  • making routine observations (temperature, pulse, blood pressure, breathing, etc)
  • updating records and other admin tasks
  • educating parents one-to-one or in groups
  • taking blood samples for testing
  • ordering stationery and equipment
  • preparing equipment
  • promoting breastfeeding
  • reporting problems to a registered midwife or nurse

They work in:

  • the community
  • post-natal wards
  • maternity theatres
  • delivery suites
  • midwifery led units

You need to be able to cope with emergency situations and straightforward labour and birth.

Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements. Employers expect a good standard of numeracy and literacy and may ask for GCSEs or equivalent. They may ask for a qualification in health and social care, nursery nursing or childcare such as CACHE, NNEB, BTEC or NVQ.

Employers usually ask for experience of working with children and families. This can be either or paid or voluntary work. There are often posts advertised for midwifery assistants and maternity healthcare assistants. These could enable you to gain experience to apply for positions.

If you're applying for a role in the NHS, you'll be asked to show how you think the NHS values apply in your everyday work.

Skills and personal characteristics needed

You'll need to be:

  • caring and patient
  • able to work with people from all walks of life
  • accepting of other peoples lifestyles
  • physically fit
  • flexible and adaptable to deal with unpredictable situations
  • able to follow instructions and procedures
  • willing to be present at childbirth
  • able to work under pressure
  • able to deal with other people’s emotions

You'll also need:

  • excellent communication skills
  • organisational skills

Training and development 

You will get the training you need to do the job. This includes an introduction to the department, how to use the equipment and the procedures to follow.

You may be offered the chance to study for qualifications such as:

  • the NCFE CACHE level 2 Certificate in Healthcare Support Services
  • the NCFE CACHE level 3 Diploma in Healthcare Support
  • an apprenticeship as a healthcare support worker

You could join the Royal College of Midwives (RCM). The RCM runs courses, conferences and seminars where you can update their skills and network with others working in the same field.

With experience you could become a senior support worker. You could apply for other jobs in the wider healthcare team or you could apply to train as an assistant practitioner, nursing associate, midwife or nurse.

Pay and benefits

Your standard working week will be around 37.5 hours and may include a mix of shifts, such as nights, early starts, evenings and weekends. As a maternity support worker, you’ll be paid on the Agenda for Change (AFC) pay system, typically starting on band 2.

You’ll also have access to our generous pension scheme and health service discounts, as well as 27 days of annual leave, plus bank holidays, which increases the longer you’re in service.