maternity nurse

The role of a maternity nurse is to provide care for the pregnant mother throughout the pregnancy and for up to four weeks after. The nurse generally performs this in a hospital clinic setting or community health center or in physician’s offices.

Maternity Nurse Job Description & Scope of Practice

The maternity nurse helps assure that the mother remains health throughout the pregnancy. Nurse practitioners midwives may delivery babies as well. The midwife nurse will normally see patients in her office and may perform home deliveries.

The maternal nurse helps the mother become accustomed to her child in the first few weeks after delivery.  Her focus may be divided between the mother’s health before the baby is born and the mother’s recovery as well as the newborn’s health.

The maternal nurse will normally provide care and instruction for the mother but as necessary instruct other family members in the care of the baby.


How to Become a Maternity Nurse

The path to becoming a maternity nurse is usually to receive a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Some maternity nurse/maternal nurses have also had experience in newborn nurseries. The maternity nurse/maternal nurse may also choose to receive certifications in OBGYN or labor and delivery. Advanced degrees such as a clinical nurse specialist or Nurse Practitioner can open the door to even better paying jobs with more autonomy for the nurse.

Communication is a vital tool for the maternal nurse. These nurses must communicate effectively with a variety of people from all social economic levels and educational backgrounds. The maternity nurse must provide instructions and help which is culturally sensitive. Whether the maternity nurse meets her patients in a hospital setting, her own office or that of a physician, the nurse must be able to establish a rapport with the patient and help explain necessary treatments or medications. The maternity nurse may also help the mother learn to care for the newborn and will be alert for signs of post-partum complications. Whether the maternity nurse is a midwife, an office nurse or a community health nurse they help the mother remain healthy throughout their pregnancy.


Maternity Nurse Education Requirements, Certification, and Schooling Programs

  • Graduation from an accredited four year nursing program is normally required
  • Pass the licensing examination for RNs
  • The RN who plans to continue her education will be required to complete the 4-year RN classes, and then accrue 2 years in OBGYN or labor and delivery before entering the Master of Science in Nursing with a midwife specialty.
  • After graduation, the Nurse Practitioner can apply to take the certification examination to practice as a midwife.
  • There are no certifications offered for maternity nurses, but other certification such as Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), and International Lactation Consultant Certified (ILCC) might help maternity nurses further enhance their education, connections and careers. Maternity nurses belong to a variety of nursing associations including the American Nurses Association (ANA), Association of Women’s Health Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), and the American Society of Registered Nurses (ASRN).


Maternity Nurse Salary and Career Outlook

The career outlook for a maternity nurse (maternal nurse) or midwife is bright. The demand for nurses of all specialties is predicted to grow at the rate of 21% through the next 8 years.  The salary of a maternity nurse is around $73,000 per year up to around $86,000 per year depending upon the nurse’s education and location.