I've been talking about it all week. 4 clients are toying with the idea at the moment - and all 4 feel torn between how nice it seems to be at home (for which read; not in an institution) and the FEAR they feel about the unknown.
So lets clear it up. If you are healthy, and your pregnancy is healthy, home birth is a perfectly safe option. It is rare, in birth, that events take a sudden, unexpected, mortally dangerous turn for the worst. When there are problems in birth, there is usually warning. Midwives are watchful & cautious and won't allow risk to unravel unchallenged.
Let's also remember that there are risks to birthing in hospital too. Intervention rates increase. Shifts change. You are less likely to have consistent 121 care.
Ultimately, of course, it's a completely personal and unique decision. The only person who can make it is you. And you can only make that decision if you have balanced, appropriate, non-judgemental information to hand. the problem is that we are culturally biased away from home and towards hospital (and that cultural bias is served with a doughy helping of fear and judgement).
My advice? If you think a home birth *might* be right for you, book one. Get the skinny from your midwife. Get your home birth box. Prepare. If, on the day, you want to transfer, do it. No judgement, no problem.
This picture is me. Home birthing Thing#3. Knowing she was my last (and having faced down the possibility of having to her away from home), I was determined to enjoy every last friggin' minute of this labour. And so I did. This is me, about an hour before she was born, surfing those waves, tuning into my body, completely uninterrupted, layers stripped away, listening to Dany Griffiths (on the phone next to me!).