[*DISCLAIMER* Please do not feel judged or condoned by this information. This is an issue in which I fall very far onto the "crunchy" side of things. My intention is to share facts to help those who want to birth their babies in a different way or heal from past deliveries. If you are happy with your birth then no worries!]
HERE is a really neat article from this week in the LA times. It reviews the very popular trend in our country of induction. Many times inductions are elective, even before the Estimated Due Date (EDD). This puts mom and baby at an increased risk. An excerpt:
When the cervix is optimal (it must be opened and thinned out enough to allow the baby's head to pass through the vagina), labor averages about nine hours in a first-time pregnancy, according to Intermountain. If the cervix is not ready, however, an average labor is about 22 hours. The guidelines (to only induce under certain criteria) have reduced rates of elective labor inductions performed before 39 weeks gestation from 28% in 1999 to 3.4% in 2006. The percentage of first-time moms with an elective induction has fallen from 15% in 2003 to 4.7%.
Some hospitals have csections rates as high as 50%!! (average rate in the US is 25%) There is NO way that many women need a csection. Most Dr.s wont even let women attempt a vaginal-birth-after-cesarean because of fear of being sued. Many women are scared of the stories they hear about uteran rupture but its in fact very rare and not any more common than complications from a cesarean.
According to this study from the College of Midwives, inducing women who have had a previous csection greatly increases the risk of uterine rupture. Women who go into labor spontaneously post-cesarian actually have less of a risk of rupture than those who have an elective repeat csection or are induced. (study)
From a study done Feb of this year, 2007
A study published in the 13 February 2007 issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that women that have planned caesareans had an overall rate of severe morbidity of 27.3 per 1000 deliveries compared to an overall rate of severe morbidity of 9.0 per 1000 planned vaginal deliveries. The planned caesarean group had increased risks of cardiac arrest, wound haematoma, hysterectomy, major puerperal infection, anaesthetic complications, venous thromboembolism, and haemorrhage requiring hysterectomy over those suffered by the planned vaginal delivery group. 
My issue is not with personal choices but with the lack of education many women today have regarding their own bodies and the safety of commonly practiced medical interventions. Many women think cesarians are so common that they must be safe. Ive heard women say they want an elective cesarian just to avoid the whole pain of labor. They are obviously missing a big piece of the picture to think that a major abdominal surgery is a better choice than a few hours of pain.
I am a doula and attended the birth of a friend yesterday. She had studied hypnobirthing as I did for my last two (drug-free) deliveries. She has a VERY fast, very beautiful and natural delivery. She was calm and collected and didnt even make a peep as she pushed her baby out in two contractions! I am so happy for her that she got to experience the thrill of letting your body birth babies as God has designed us too! I want this for every woman who wants it for herself :) (and thats why Im a doula!)
more to come on this .....