Home births presided over by trained midwives are as safe as hospital births. Yet many in the medical community present midwifery as dangerous.
While another profession might have the popular reputation of being the world's oldest, you can make a strong case that midwifery is a more realistic contender for that title. The tradition of caring for pregnant women and delivering babies in homes or community spaces is ancient the world over. And it's present today, in the providers who practice within an American medical culture in which 99% of births take place in hospitals, presided by OB/GYNs.
Jessica Mattingly, a doula from Blue Springs, MO, notes that midwifery-assisted home birth can foster the understanding that "birth is a normal, celebrated, empowering experience for a woman and her family." And, she adds, "This is not done at the sacrifice of safety for mother and baby, but at the enhancement of it. Midwives and mothers can be and are able to identify the rare cases when medical intervention is needed and can seek collaboration and assistance."