Less than 1% of women in the U.S. currently deliver at home, but that number has increased by over 50% in the past 10 years. The evidence about safety is difficult to interpret and reliable data on outcomes in the US is somewhat limited.
In the UK, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends home birth for low risk women. However, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) warns that home birth is 2-3 times more likely to end in infant death. It makes you wonder, how could these two groups come to such different conclusions? For one, they are basing their recommendations on different data.
Home birth is much more common in many European countries. The largest study, by de Jong, compared birth outcomes at home and in the hospital in the Netherlands. Here’s what they found:
Do the results of the Dutch Study apply to home birth in the US? Here's why the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists doesn't think so.
There are many criticisms of the Wax study, but this is one of the big ones: