The findings echo those of a Dutch study published in July that found that a planned home birth is as safe as a planned hospital birth, provided that a well-trained midwife is available, a good transportation and referral system is in place, and the mother has a low risk of developing any complications.
[Homebirth] outcomes were ... compared with ... 4,752 hospital births attended by the same midwife group and those of 5,331 physician-attended hospital births.
Janssen and colleagues report that the infant death rate following planned home birth attended by a registered midwife did not differ from that of a planned hospital birth.
The infant death rate per 1000 births was 0.35 for planned home births compared to 0.57 for midwife-attended hospital births and 0.64 for physician-attended hospital births.
In other words, the safest place of birth for the baby is home. The safest birth attendant for the baby is a midwife.
In addition, women in the planned-home birth group were less likely than those in the midwife-attended hospital birth group to have electronic fetal monitoring, assisted vaginal delivery, significant tearing around the birth canal, and bleeding after delivery. Similar findings were seen when home births were compared with physician-attended hospital births.
... this study "makes an important contribution to our knowledge about the safety of home birth."