Regardless, from a lay person's point of view, the focus on c-sections is a bit misplaced. The focus ought to be on finding a doctor that you are comfortable with and whom you trust and then relying on him/her to advise you regarding the safest and most "comfortable" way to have a baby, both for the mother as well as for the baby. Depending on what's going on, a c-section will sometimes be the safest and the most "comfortable" way to do so and in many times it won't. As a lay person, you'll be best served by selecting the doctor that's right for you and then relying on him/her to make the right decision.
As someone who is about to give birth any day and has recently done a lot of research on the subject, I have to chime in. While I agree that finding a doctor or midwife you trust is key, I wholeheartedly disagree that allowing him/her to make decisions for you is the best approach. Mothers can and should be the ones who ultimately make decisions in the care of themselves and their babies. There are several factors at play that influence the doctors' advice, and without getting into too much detail these include our litigious society, the desire to increase revenue for hospitals, and scheduling convenience (as mentioned by biomedeng). Doctors are practicing CYA - and I for one can't blame them given our history of malpractice lawsuits. Unfortunately, this does not necessarily translate to better care but more care, necessary or not, because a doctor is much more likely to be sued for not doing something than for doing something unnecessary.
I interviewed several doctors before selecting the OB I'm going with now. One of the actually told me "I won't let you go past 41 weeks without inducing you" (never mind that the average gestation period for a first time mother is 41 weeks, 1 day). She never bothered to inform me that interventions often lead to a cascade of other interventions, or that by being induced, my chances of a c-section would increase by over 25%, or that side effects of Pitocin, the drug used for inductions, can include fetal distress, uterine rupture, cardiac failure, hallucinations, and (much less commonly) maternal or infant death. She also implied with her statement that she has the right to make all decisions with respect to my care. In fact, mothers can refuse any treatment at any time. Doctors give advice, not orders.
I found an OB that I like a lot better and is much more natural birth friendly, but I still do not completely trust her to make decisions for me. If she recommends any interventions while I'm in labor, I'll ask her the pros and cons of the interventions, have her describe any alternatives, and then ask her to leave the room for a few minutes while I discuss it with my husband and we ultimately decide how we want to proceed. I also plan to go to the hospital only after laboring at home for several hours, because I know that my 24-hour count down to a "mandatory" c-section will begin the moment I walk in.
Here is an article written by a woman who decided to trust her doctor to make decisions for her during labor.
It's very long, so for those who don't want to read it I think the caption summarizes it: "My first birth was traumatic," writes Taffy Brodesser-Akner, seen here with her son, "and although my son and I emerged fine, I lost a year seeking treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and all the depression, fear and anger it brings."