It is planned to make it illegal for people to provide birth services in South Australia unless they are a registered midwife or medical practitioner.

The legislative change is a response to recommendations of a coronial inquiry into the deaths of three newborns in homebirths between 2007 and 2011.

SA Health Minister Jack Snelling said people who offered themselves as midwives without registration could face a fine of up to $30,000 or up to a year in prison.

"This Government won't compromise when it comes to the safety of mothers and their babies and what the current legislation doesn't prevent is someone doing what a midwife would do at a birth, even though that person is not a doctor or a registered midwife," he said.

"This will limit potential harm that could come from someone who may not have appropriate training and qualifications to provide these services."

Mr Snelling said registered practitioners had to provide women with accurate information on birth risks to ensure they could make an informed decision about their care.

"This is not about denying women a choice about where they give birth. It is a way to guarantee that whether a woman chooses to deliver in a hospital or at home, they are provided with safe and appropriate care by a registered, qualified professional," he said.

The legislation will not affect anyone who gives a pregnant woman assistance during a birth emergency.

The Government is hopeful its changes can be in force by the end of the year.

 

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