Maternity support workers work together in a team with midwives and health professionals within the occupational fields of nursing and midwifery. They assist midwives and women in childbirth by providing the necessary support, care and advice during pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period, assist births and assist in providing care for the new-born.
The duties of a maternity support worker include, but are not limited to:
- Performing prenatal care including administering routine tests, monitoring the patient’s health, and educating the patient about pregnancy issues
- Helping with childbirth by preparing the birthing room, sterilizing equipment, and assembling supplies for the birth
- Making sure patients are comfortable during labor by administering medication as ordered by the physician
- Recording information about the patient’s condition at regular intervals during labor and delivery
- Maintaining medical records on each patient’s progress during pregnancy and after birth
- Providing emotional support to the mother during labor through massage or other techniques designed to help her relax
- Assisting with medical procedures such as taking blood samples or monitoring the mother’s heartbeat during labor
- Preparing the mother for labor by explaining what to expect during labor and delivery
- Providing support and information to the father during labor and delivery
The following job titles also refer to maternity support worker:
maternity healthcare assistant
maternity care assistant
assistant to midwife
midwifery care assistant
midwife care assistant
maternity support employee
Maternity support workers work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, physician’s offices, and birthing centers. They typically work 40 hours per week, but their hours may vary depending on the needs of their patients and the policies of their employer. Some workers may be on call 24 hours a day, and they may be required to work nights, weekends, and holidays.
Maternity support workers must be able to handle the physical demands of the job, which include lifting patients, standing for long periods of time, and being exposed to infectious diseases. They must also be able to deal with the emotional stress of the job, which can be demanding and sometimes heartbreaking.
Most maternity support workers have at least a bachelor’s degree. Some workers choose to earn a master’s degree in midwifery or nursing. These degrees provide them with a strong foundation in the medical field and prepare them for a career in midwifery.
Most maternity support worker’s training will take place on the job. Training may include shadowing a maternity support worker, or a midwife, learning about the facility and how to perform certain tasks. Training may also include learning about the computer software and databases the practice uses.
ISCO skill level
ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:
- the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
- the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
- the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.
Maternity support worker is a Skill level 3 occupation.
Maternity support worker career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to maternity support worker.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of maternity support worker. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of maternity support worker with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential knowledge and skills
This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of maternity support worker.
- Hygiene in a health care setting: The procedures related to maintaining a hygienic environment within a health care setting such as hospitals and clinics. It can range from hand washing to cleaning and disinfection of medical equipment used and infection control methods.
- Childbirth: The process of delivering a baby, the symptoms and signs of labour, the expulsion of the baby and all the related steps and procedures, including the ones related to complications and pre-mature birth.
- Pregnancy: The process related to conception and development of the fetus in the mother`s womb, the symptoms of pregnancy, risks and complications, diseases and timing of childbirth.
- Health education: The factors affecting health and of the educational approach to assisting people to make healthy life choices.
- Human anatomy: The dynamic relationship of human structure and function and the muscosceletal, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, endocrine, urinary, reproductive, integumentary and nervous systems; normal and altered anatomy and physiology throughout the human lifespan.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of maternity support worker.
- Contribute to continuity of health care: Contribute to the delivery of coordinated and continuous healthcare.
- Examine the new-born infant: Perform a neonatal examination to identify any danger signs, to assess the normal adaptations of a newborn after birth and to identify birth defects or birth trauma.
- Empathise with the healthcare user: Understand the background of clients` and patients’ symptoms, difficulties and behaviour. Be empathetic about their issues; showing respect and reinforcing their autonomy, self-esteem and independence. Demonstrate a concern for their welfare and handle according to the personal boundaries, sensitivities, cultural differences and preferences of the client and patient in mind.
- Provide basic support to patients: Support patients and citizens with activities of daily living, such as hygiene, comfort, mobilisation and feeding needs.
- Provide pre-natal care: Monitor the normal progression of pregnancy and development of foetus by prescribing regular check-ups for prevention, detection and treatment of health problems throughout the course of the pregnancy.
- Identify abnormalities: Identify what is normal and abnormal concerning the well-being of patients, through experience and instruction, reporting to the nurses what is abnormal.
- Advise on family planning: Provide advice on the use of birth control and methods of contraception available, on sexual education, prevention and management of sexually transmitted diseases, pre-conception counselling and fertility management.
- Empathise with the woman’s family during and after pregnancy: Demonstrate empathy with women and their families during pregancy, childbirth labour and in the post partum period.
- Advise on pregnancy: Counsel patients on normal changes occurring in pregnancy, providing advice on nutrition, drug effects and other lifestyle changes.
- Deal with emergency care situations: Assess the signs and be well-prepared for a situation that poses an immediate threat to a person’s health, security, property or environment.
- Support nurses: Support nurses with the preparation and delivery of diagnostic and treatment interventions.
- Work under supervision in care: Work under delegation and supervision of nurses to support nursing care and administration.
- Communicate with nursing staff: Communicate with nurses and other health professionals ensuring the delivery of quality and safe patient care.
- Follow clinical guidelines: Follow agreed protocols and guidelines in support of healthcare practice which are provided by healthcare institutions, professional associations, or authorities and also scientific organisations.
- Provide postnatal care: Provide care to the mother and the new-born child following birth, ensuring that the new-born and the mother are healthy and that the mother is capable of taking care of her new-born.
- Comply with quality standards related to healthcare practice: Apply quality standards related to risk management, safety procedures, patients feedback, screening and medical devices in daily practice, as they are recognized by the national professional associations and authorities.
- Comply with legislation related to health care: Comply with the regional and national legislation that is relevant to one`s work and apply it in practice.
- Listen actively: Give attention to what other people say, patiently understand points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times; able to listen carefully the needs of customers, clients, passengers, service users or others, and provide solutions accordingly.
- Apply health sciences: Apply a broad range of bio-medical, psycho-social, organisational, educational, and societal aspects of health, disease, and healthcare to improve healthcare services and to improve quality of life.
- Advise on pregnancies at risk: Identify and provide advice on the early signs of risk pregnancies.
- Care for the new-born infant: Take care of the newly born baby by performing actions such as feeding him/her at regular hours, checking his/her vital signs and changing diapers.
- Work in a multicultural environment in health care: Interact, relate and communicate with individuals from a variety of different cultures, when working in a healthcare environment.
- Work with nursing staff: Work together with nurses and other health professionals in supporting the delivery of basic patient care.
- Interact with healthcare users: Communicate with clients and their carer’s, with the patient’s permission, to keep them informed about the clients’ and patients’ progress and safeguarding confidentiality.
- Ensure safety of healthcare users: Make sure that healthcare users are being treated professionally, effectively and safe from harm, adapting techniques and procedures according to the person’s needs, abilities or the prevailing conditions.
- Monitor basic patients signs: Monitor basic patient vital signs and other signs, taking actions as indicated by the nurse and report to her/him as appropriate.
- Assist on pregnancy abnormality: Support the mother in case of abnormality signs during the pregnancy period and call the doctor in emergency cases.
- Work in multidisciplinary health teams: Participate in the delivery of multidisciplinary health care, and understand the rules and competences of other healthcare related professions.
- Advise on control of conception: Provide advice on the various types of methods used to prevent pregnancy such as contraceptives or condoms.
Optional knowledge and skills
This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of maternity support worker. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Microbiology-bacteriology: Microbiology-Bacteriology is a medical specialty mentioned in the EU Directive 2005/36/EC.
- Analgesics: The types of medication used to relief pain in various medical cases.
- Neonatology: The branch of paediatric medicine concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of the new-born.
- Postpartum period: The changes and possible problems that can occur in the six week period after birth.
- Preparation for parenthood: The changes, such as the psychological aspects, affecting the parents after childbirth.
- Sex education: Provide information and advice related to human sexual reproduction, emotional relations between sexual partners, birth control and human sexuality in general.
- Embryology: The normal development of the embryo, the aetiology of developmental anomalies such as genetic aspects and organogenesis and the natural history of abnormalities diagnosed before birth.
- Preparation for child delivery: The procedures to follow for delivering babies and the needed technical equipment in obstetrics.
- Anaesthetics: Anaesthetics is a medical specialty mentioned in the EU Directive 2005/36/EC.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of maternity support worker. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Use different communication channels: Make use of various types of communication channels such as verbal, handwritten, digital and telephonic communication with the purpose of constructing and sharing ideas or information.
- Assess the course of breast-feeding period: Evaluate and monitor the breast-feeding activity of a mother to her newly born child.
- Provide health education: Provide evidence based strategies to promote healthy living, disease prevention and management.
- Monitor pregnancy: Carry out the examinations necessary for the monitoring of normal pregnancy.
- Promote health and safety: Promote the importance of a safe working environment. Coach and support staff to participate actively in the continuous development of a safe working environment.
- Distribute meals to patients: Provide meals to patients or residents, following the dietary requirements and medical prescriptions.
- Have computer literacy: Utilise computers, IT equipment and modern day technology in an efficient way.
- Apply context specific clinical competences: Apply professional and evidence based assessment, goal setting, delivery of intervention and evaluation of clients, taking into account the developmental and contextual history of the clients, within one`s own scope of practice.
ISCO group and title
3222 – Midwifery associate professionals
- Maternity support worker – ESCO
- Maternity support worker | Health Careers
- Midwife Assistant Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More – Climb the Ladder
- Featured image: Photo by Jonathan Borba from Pexels