Maternity Nursing and The Role Of The Maternity Nurse

If you like working with infants and enjoy helping mothers, you should consider entering the field of maternity nursing. Maternity nursing can be a rewarding career choice. It is an area where an intensive working relationship develops between the maternity nurse and her wards: the mother and newborn child. It is also a demanding career. In maternity nursing, you must be prepared to be on call 24 hours a day for 7 days of the week.

What is Maternity Nursing?

Maternity nursing is a form of intensive, informative and knowledgeable care provided by a maternity nurse. In most instances, the maternity nurse provides 2 related and integrated services. The first one is pre-birth care. The maternity nurse is there to help the mother and the family during their pregnancy and afterwards. In maternity nursing, the provider prepares the family for the entire birthing experience. The second responsibility of the maternity nurse is post birth. The nurse is also there after the birth. In this role, he or she advises mothers on such things as post natal care of themselves and their newborns.

What do You do in Maternity Nursing?

Overall, maternity nursing focuses on the well-being of mother and child. The focus of a maternity nurse is on the emotional and physical well-being of both their patients. They provide advice and health care. They are there for emotional support as well as providing physical care for both mother and infant.

In maternity nursing, you learn how to:

  • Help mothers feel comfortable handling their infant.
  • Show first time mothers how to wash the baby.
  • Show mothers how easy it is to feed, change and dress the newborn
  • Organize the clothing, toys and other accoutrements of the baby
  • Prepare necessary meals
  • Pass on knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses and pros and cons of baby care issues, e.g., Cloth diapers versus pampers, bottle feeding versus breast feeding.
  • Wash and sterilize bottles


Maternity nursing does focus on the primary unit of mother and child. Yet, the maternity nurse must also know how to interact with the other members of the family. In modern times, it is not only the mother who feeds, dresses and bathes the child. The father is increasingly playing a more significant role. In maternity nursing, this involves educating the father as well in the different aspects of child care.

Educational Requirements

It is not difficult to enter the field of maternity nursing. In fact, there are several ways you can become a maternity nurse. It depends upon the system operating in your country, province or state. You need to check out the regulations and licenses you may require before operating in this field. That said, the educational qualifications can be any or all of the following:

  • Registered Nursing degree - approximately 4 years
  • Associate Degree in Nursing - 2 to 3 years in college
  • Diploma in nursing - 3 years in a nursing training program
  • Diploma or other in midwifery
  • Other diploma or degree in related nursing fields.


In the United Kingdom, you can become qualified in maternity nursing if you are a

  • Registered general nurse (RGN)
  • Registered Sick Children’s Nurse (RSCN)
  • Registered Midwife (RM)
  • Registered Health Visitor (RHV)
  • Cache Diploma in Nursery Nursing
  • BTEC and NVQ in Childcare
  • Maternity Practitioner Award (MNT)

The path to maternity nursing, therefore, is a varied one. In fact, you may not have a specific educational degree or diploma in nursing to become hired by an agency. You can take an alternative path.

UK Maternity Nurse

(c) metronews.co.uk
(c) metronews.co.uk

Alternative Paths to Maternity Nursing

In the past, there has been more than one route to becoming involved in maternity nursing. One of the most common is experience as a Nanny. You could become a maternity nurse if you had been a Nanny for a minimum of 3 years. Agencies, in fact, preferred candidates for maternity nursing roles to have between 5 and 9 years experience as a Nanny.

Other Qualifications to Enter Maternity Nursing

If you want to become a proud member of the field of maternity nursing, you need to examine your own personal attributes. Maternity nurses are individuals who must work on their own. They are agents hired by clients through an agency. They must perform to the best of their ability a number of varied mother-infant-family functions. In order to successfully and satisfactorily carry these out, he or she must be possessed of several innate and learned characteristics.

At the top of the list are communication skills. In maternity nursing, it is just as if not more important to listen as to speak. It is easy to offer advice, but you must also be really listening to what your client is telling you. You need to be able to communicate clearly to the family and the mother. You must also be able to hear what they are saying. This includes the as yet inarticulate messages given by the infant. In maternity nursing, you must also be able to quickly grasp what is really being said and distinguish it from what you think is being said.

In maternity nursing, you have to be oriented toward the needs of the female of the species. You have to be encouraging. You must be aware of her needs. You must also be committed to fulfilling their needs and meeting the high expectations of child and mother care.

If you enter the field of maternity nursing, be sure you have or develop a self-assuredness. You must be confident in what you are doing. You must be able to radiate this aura to your patients. They must look at you as the expert. You must assert this aspect of your personality. Never abuse it, but make it clear that you are here to perform your job.

Maternity nursing is a profession. You need to act as a professional at all times on the job. Do not forget your training. Do not forget your purpose. Never let yourself feel you are not a professional. Do not let your clients or an agency treat you in any other fashion.

Final Words

In the field of Maternity nursing, you work for an agency. They hire you. They then sell your services to a family. Be careful when selecting your agency. You deserve respect for your profession. You also require adequate remuneration for the long hours you put it on the job. If you choose wisely, you will be highly paid for a job requiring high levels of commitment and even higher standards.

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by Julie-Ann Amos, professional writer, and owner of international writing agency www.ExquisiteWriting.com

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20 comments

ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

There are a lot of male maternity nurses in the UK these days.


BEAUTYBABE profile image

BEAUTYBABE 6 years ago from QUEENSLAND AUSTRALIA.

I loved your story on maternity nursing.I have just become a hubber and have had an amazing time reading different hubs and they are so interesting, intriguing, heartfelt and inspiring. I am not a writer, in fact , I have a terminal illness and joined hubpages to give myself something to fill up my hours in the day because I am not able to work. I was a nurse and was in the Royal Australian Air Force. I had the pleasure of delivering a baby while I was in the Air Force. The woman came to the hospital because her husband was on a camp and she was worried. She was so far into her labour that by the time she got to the Hospital, it was very obvious that the baby was going to be delivered very soon and I was there on my own with no one to help me to deliver this baby. I was so scared that something would go wrong. I had only just finished my nursing training, just basic, not even any midwifery training and here I was delivering a baby. What a thrill it was though. All my mates were jealous, especially the one that had swapped places with me, because she wanted to be a midwife when she left the Air orce . She was so jealous that she was almost "green with envy only kidding , she was actually my best friend. Thank you for a great memory boost. I will read more of your hubs Julie. I will also become a fan of yours too. I know I can learn a lot from people such as yourself, as you are a writer and have a lot more experience. Thanks again Julie. BB


J  Rosewater profile image

J Rosewater 6 years ago from Australia

I have never had the inclination to nurse, but I do so appreciate the nurses who were so caring and professional when I had my babies all those years ago. They make the difference between a great hospital experience or a really disappointing one, and I had marvelous experiences all round. But it would not have been the same without the highly trained women and men that made up the maternity team.


Ali Durban 6 years ago

I just wanted to say how important it is that if you are interested in maternity work that you think seriously about one of the qualifications above. I run a busy agency, and am always surprised by candidates who have 'babysat' and feel that it is enough of a qualification to look after a newborn. New mothers and small baby are very vulnerable, I feel it is really important that they are cared for by nurses who have the right experience and knowledge.


Cherie 6 years ago

Hello, I'm searching for nursing related blogs like mine http://nursingcrib.com and I stumbled your site, nice blog!. I hope you could also include me in your blogroll.

By the way, you have a very good writing skills here. Keep up the good work.


Maternity Clothes 6 years ago

so helpful your story. thanks :)


nicole 6 years ago

im 13 and i have always wanted to be a maternity nurse so that's why i am learning all i can i love kids!


rahuljain 6 years ago

I think it is the very tuff job in nursing to look after just borne kids.

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Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

Interesting topic and impeccably written but NO THANKS!! Having just watched my son born into this world thru my wife and an endearing gaggle of nurse doctors at St.Mary's in Madison, I say, "no way". Men couldn't do it, I just don't think we have the sympathy for it.

Great article, and grateful for people who choose the maternity nurse profession, great topic Ms. Amos

Ben


C .CANDY 6 years ago

maternity nursing job is very challenging, but for those ahow just had a training like in mnt or nest, when you registered with an agency they are really helping you build your career, they will make excuses like they are checking references but the truth is they don't acknowledge you, they don't know what are they missing to those newly qualified maternity nurse,and there is no single agency in uk helping those newly qualified maternity nurse, some agencies has had a lot of vacacy on their website but they cant eve offer you one job, very disppointing,


C. Yang 5 years ago

I love all this information!!! As a sophmore in high school I've experienced thousands of doubts on what I want to be when I grow up and this article has strengthened my hold on being a Maternity Nurse/CNM. All the classes I've taken so far will pay off!!!


Rachel 5 years ago

Im in 6th grade and im very happy trying to prisue my dreams of being a maternity nurse Thanks :)


Wait4myfather 5 years ago

Nursing is one of the most precious profession concerning to the well being of the patients relative to the other related medical professions in providing holistic health care of the patients as much as possible. Just I proud it!


blairtracy profile image

blairtracy 4 years ago from Canada

Wonderfully written hub! I was interested in reading it as I am hoping to work as a maternity nurse. I shall see how it feels in a few weeks when my nursing class does our practicum on the maternity ward.


katelyn 4 years ago

that was really good advice. iv been searching for some good info on maternity nursing and now iv got it. as a 15 year old i cant wait to finish school to live my dream of a maternity nurse thanks


Childcare Training 4 years ago

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thecnatraining profile image

thecnatraining 4 years ago from Vancouver

wow, i hope maternity nurses get paid well! They must be on call 24/7! Also it must be very rewarding helping bringing in a new life into the world. I think the toughest part is probably during labour when the mom is screaming lol Good job maternity nurses!!


KySmith profile image

KySmith 4 years ago from Milwaukee

Great hub! Very informative. I am currently in nursing school and I am thinking about what my specialty will be. Maternity nursing is at the top. This hub was really helpful. =)


aDayInMyLife1 profile image

aDayInMyLife1 4 years ago from CA

Great Hub. I am a Labor and Delivery Nurse in the US. It was interesting to read about some differences in the UK.


sivklemets 3 years ago from Los Angeles

Learning about the UK system is interesting do they have Doula's also? I ask because a friend from the UK had never heard of them?

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