AIM: To critically examine the evidence for simulation based learning in midwifery education. BACKGROUND: Simulated Learning Programs (SLPs) using low to high fidelity techniques are common in obstetric professionals' education and focus on the development of team work, labour and obstetric emergencies. REVIEW METHODS: A systematic review incorporating critical appraisal approaches, setting clear objectives and a defined search and analysis strategy. Evidence from obstetrics, neonatology, technical and non-technical skills (teamwork) was included where it informed the development of midwifery curricula. Studies in English from 2000 to 2010 were included searching CINAHL Plus, OVID Medline, Cochrane, SCOPUS and ProQuest and Google Scholar. RESULTS: Twenty-four papers were identified that met the inclusion criteria. All were quantitative reports; outcomes and levels of evidence varied with two notable papers indicating that simulation had an impact on clinical practice. Benefits of SLP over didactic formats were apparent, as were the development of non-technical skills confidence and competence. The study outcomes were limited by the range of evidence and context of the reports which focussed on obstetric emergency training using a number of simulation techniques. CONCLUSION: There is evidence that simulated learning of midwifery skills is beneficial. Simulation learning has an educational and clinical impact and advantages over didactic approaches. Where clinical practice is infrequent i.e. obstetric emergencies, simulation is an essential component of curricula. Simulation enhances practice and therefore may reduce the time taken to achieve competence; however there is no evidence from the literature that simulation should replace clinical practice.