I have had three births. All in hospital. One stillborn (I was induced because he had already died) at term, one induced, and one without induction or pain relief. All have had short labours.
Firstly, I have to say that despite the outcomes, I far prefer the hospitals for the first and second deliveries than my last one. My first delivery was a simple one. No complications, no panic attacks. My second delivery I almost felt at home. It was a teaching hospital, and I had at least one midwife at all times, usually two and sometimes three. Of those attending, most times I had trainee midwives with the experienced midwife coming in on a regular basis. My husband was allowed to help (keeping monitoring equipment in place etc) and we were relaxed the entire time. My last delivery was also in a teaching hospital. I do have to say that I liked the midwife. He was good. It was the head midwife who kept coming in and making things difficult that I hated. My stress levels went through the roof. Mostly with the way she'd breeze in with a team of people and dart about like a panicked rabbit being chased by a dog. It made the atmosphere a very tense one, and actually made things harder for me. The only birth that I had any problems? My last one.
I was so tense that I ended up massively exhausted. My husband wasn't allowed to assist in any way, in fact they kept on shifting him away from me. The only complication was that the baby's shoulder ended up catching behind the pelvic bone. They refused to let me know what was happening, acted as though the baby was about to die, and then - to make things worse - refused to allow my husband to know anything either, and as such made me even more tense. It was only when I'd managed to find a way of ignoring the terrified rabbit woman and relax that I managed to get into a better position and actually deliver him without further incident.
I refuse to go back to that hospital for my next baby. If I could have a home birth this time, I would do. Through all of my labours, I have had absolutely no problems, except in that one case, where stress from being at the hospital actually exacerbated the problem. I have learned through experience that the hospital is not necessarily the best place to actually deliver a child, especially in cases where there are no potential issues, and all signs point to an event-free delivery. Believe it or not, it is actually standard practice in NSW for large babies to be forced to stay in hospital for repeated blood tests, even in cases where there is nothing untoward in the initial test results. Because of past experiences, I have trouble with staying in a hospital overnight, at least without having my husband with me. Hospital rules do not allow for that. As such, for at least one night (and likely longer) after giving birth, I will be forced to remain in the hospital,. Because of my stress levels, I cannot sleep. So, not only do I have to deal with exhaustion after delivery, but an extra 24 hours minimum without sleep. Not exactly the best for milk production.
Thus, there are actual reasons that people may prefer a home birth rather than a hospital birth. Just because someone would prefer to have a birth that is, for them, lower in stress doesn't mean that they're automatically doing it to endanger their babies life because of personal preference. If someone really IS that terrified of hospitals, it makes the risk factor during the actual delivery much, much higher, and can cause problems in their own right.