"In the United States, people who want to have a home birth have to fight the system," he said, explaining that there is a lack of support for a midwife who decides a patient is too high-risk for a home birth and should be transferred to a hospital.
"I think if you actually move to a system like that, it would be fine in the United States, because the evidence from other countries suggests that it is as well," said Declercq.
Looking at the numbers, he said, adopting such a system probably wouldn't lead to widespread home births in the United States. It would not climb to 30 percent like the Netherlands, but would be closer to the rise to 3 percent seen in the United Kingdom.
But for now, he said, it is likely to remain a highly charged issue, with some advocates of home birth irrationally opposing the choice of a hospital while opponents cite risks of home birth while ignoring complications that can happen at a hospital.
"The mothers who are having these home births are not crazy, unaware people," said Declercq. "They plan carefully, they think about this all the time. They think they're better off not having the interventions that they feel will happen unnecessarily at hospitals."