For generations, homebirth was the standard in the United States. During the last century birth moved from being a home-based, normal right of passage to a hospital-based, highly medicalized experience. It is true that advances in maternity care have decreased many risks associated with childbirth and have reduced rates of maternal and infant mortality. It is also true that medical interventions in an otherwise normal birth process carry risks of their own. There is no universal right place to birth or right amount of intervention. Each person and baby and family is unique, and it follows that there is a unique answer for each person.
Homebirth is not the desire of every person, nor is it the safest choice for all people. Low-risk people who are supported by a trained attendant and choose to birth at home have births that are statistically as safe as those same low-risk people who choose to birth in the hospital. What is different is the risk of intervention. Though CPMs are trained to manage complications and certain emergencies at home and to transport for additional care when necessary, CPM training is focused on normal birth. This unique training model combined with laboring at home means people who plan a homebirth are statistically less likely to experience a cesarean section, instrument assisted birth, episiotomy, or an induction of labor.
Welcoming a baby is one of the most intimate things a person and family will ever do. Many people are led to homebirth through a desire to create a familiar, comfortable, and relaxed environment to labor and birth. Homebirth allows people the freedom to labor based on instinct and not protocol. It allows them to choose their support people based on personal connection and not on-call schedules. It allows them to be the drivers of their experience, and ultimately to feel more control and more ownership of their birth.