The nursing field is growing constantly as nurses take larger and more substantial roles in delivering patient care. Colleges and universities offer a variety of specialized training and degree programs for nurses who want to work in particular fields like pediatrics, gerontology or as labor and delivery nurses in maternity care. Students in high school can prepare for these programs by taking core science courses like chemistry and biology, or they may be able to start their associate’s degree coursework while completing their high school diploma.

Labor and Delivery Nurse Qualifications

Nurses who help pregnant women through labor and delivery are specialized in maternity care. These nurses often take courses concentrating in maternity, prenatal and women’s health care while in their associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree programs. Maternity nurses not only need a scientific background in physiology, genetics and pharmacology, but also need a broad background in the humanities and social sciences to deal with the ethical, psychological and legal considerations of maternity nursing. High school students can take classes in history, literature, and sociology to gain the analytical skills needed to succeed.


Specialization in maternity nursing requires coursework in biochemistry and pharmacology as well as clinical skills in handling and administering pharmaceuticals. All of these courses require a comfort with basic chemistry. High school students can prepare for the introductory chemistry class that is a prerequisite for most nursing degrees by taking chemistry classes that help them learn to balance equations, understand how chemical reactions work and how to handle chemicals in a laboratory environment.


Biology is a prerequisite for other nursing program classes like physiology and anatomy. Maternity nurses take specific courses that draw upon basic biology principles such as prenatal development and reproductive health. High school students can take biology classes that help them build a base of knowledge in cellular and molecular biology and physiology. Biology classes in high school can also introduce students to laboratory work and biological research.

Associate Degree Courses

Some colleges and technical schools allow students to take classes in an associate degree program before they graduate high school. These courses go on a student’s permanent college transcript and can be applied to a degree program once the student graduates. This allows students to specialize in their area of interest early and take more advanced courses in maternity care earlier in their undergraduate degree program.

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