Maternity support workers help expectant mothers to safely deliver healthy babies. They provide a range of healthcare services before, during and after childbirth. If you would love to help expectant mothers and their partners welcome their little bundles of joy into this world, you have a solid reason to become a maternity support worker.
What do maternity workers do?
Their duties include:
- Measuring vital signs, such as temperature and pulse rate, during the labor phase of a pregnancy
- Notifying midwives in case of any anomaly
- Giving assistance to midwives during childbirth
- Helping to transfer newborn babies from the delivery room to a nursery
- Advising new mothers and their partners on how to breastfeed and care for their young ones (providing antenatal education)
- Informing midwives about the condition of mothers and their newborns
- Ensuring the maternity room is clean at all times – this may include sterilizing delivery equipment
- Keeping records of births.
A delivery can occur at any time or any day of the week. This means maternity support workers work on a shift basis. In a week, they are usually on the job for 37.5 hours.
During a delivery, maternity support workers spend most of the time on their feet while taking instructions from midwives.
The job involves some travel, as these workers have a duty to visit mothers in their homes or in a community center and deliver parenting classes.
According to the National Career Service, maternity support workers pocket between £15,000 and £19,000. The experienced ones can make up to £22,000.
Although various NHS trusts have different entry requirements for maternity support workers, you generally need a General Certificate of Secondary Education (A-C) in math, English and a few other subjects, and some experience working in a hospital or any other healthcare facility.
If you wish to volunteer in a healthcare setting, visit the NHS Choices, Do-It and Volunteering in the NHS pages for information on potential opportunities.
If you wish to pursue some formal training to enhance your chances of finding paid work, you can:
- Pursue a maternity and pediatric support apprenticeship program
- Pursue a college course, such as the Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care.
You must also obtain a clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service.
The skills, interests and abilities that are typical of a competent maternity support worker include:
- A caring heart
- A passion for children
- Strong listening and clear speaking skills
- Good interpersonal skills
- Good teamwork skills
- Good practical and technical skills to use equipment for measuring vital signs
- The ability to think quickly in case of emergencies
- Good analytical, observation and problem-solving skills
- Good organizational skills
- A good level of physical fitness
- Emotional resilience to effectively cope with unfortunate childbirth events.
Once you are hired as maternity support worker, you will undergo on-the-job training to improve your knowledge of health and safety, infection control, breast feeding support, and other relevant issues.
Thereafter, pursue a Level 3 Diploma in Clinical Healthcare Support or Level 3 Diploma in Maternity and Pediatric Support to boost your competence.
The employers of maternity support workers include:
- The NHS
- Private midwifery clinics
- Hospitals and other healthcare facilities
- Children and family centers.
If you are ambitious enough, you can use this career as a springboard to jobs such as midwife or adult nurse.
The National Careers Service estimates that there will be about 250,000 new jobs in the caring services industry within the next five years. This is a good number, which promises plenty of employment opportunities for maternity support workers.
So if you are supporting and caring, this could be the career for you.