There is an excellent post on Birth Unplugged entitled "How Homebirth Benefits Babies." It brings to mind ACOG's position on women who choose homebirth. They basically have accused women of trying to be trendy by following the example of Ricki Lake, or of putting their own birth experience ahead of the well-being and safety of their babies. I love this post because Brittany does a great job of pointing out that research shows babies, not just their mothers, are much better off being born at home. They have fewer complications, less birth trauma, and higher success rates with breastfeeding. Of course, I should mention that this research assumes the mother and baby are low-risk and using qualified attendants.
One statistic I've had first-hand experience with. That is that homebirthed babies are less likely to require resuscitation at birth. With my second daughter who was born in the hospital, she needed a whole resus team to get her breathing--on a table on the other side of the room. I couldn't see what they were doing but my husband said they were basically slapping her all over her body including her face. (No wonder that when she did start breathing, she started screaming at the top of her lungs and didn't calm down until after about 10 minutes of nursing, poor thing. Also another instance of the stupidity of immediate cord-clamping.) The whole reason for that delayed breathing had to do with the drug Nubain that I succumbed to receiving during transition. Wouldn't have happened at home.
One other research finding I found really interesting was that babies "had better outcomes for homebirths when comparing between home and hospital births with the same cohort of midwives." So much for the idea that we can have the "best of both worlds" by utilizing the superior midwifery model of care in the "safer" environment of the hospital. The fact is that hospitals have all their restrictive protocols and ways of doing things that are really just for the convenience of the OB's and nurses, and not usually in the best interest of mom and baby. I learned that when planning a hospital birth with a CNM. She was subject to the same legal restrictions and attitudes the OB's were. It would take such dramatic changes in hospital policies and staff attitudes (nearly impossible in today's legal climate) to negate the risks of unnecessary intervention, that I honestly can't see that ever happening, at least in the US.
Anyway I highly recommend reading her post. It's well-researched and a direct contradiction to the propaganda ACOG and the media try to shove down our throats. And Brittany is much more tactful and unoffensive than I am. (Sorry--I feel so passionate about this topic, I just can't help myself.)