I reported before on a study by Ellen Hodnett that found that replacing hospital beds with couches or regular beds encouraged women in labor to move around and let gravity help push the baby out. The pressure of the baby's head on the cervix when the woman is upright also induces the spurts of oxytocin that create contractions to move the baby down the birth canal.
This article by Sharon Kirkey of CanWest Media examines this and other practices that hospitals can use to reduce the rising number of C-sections there.
According to the article, The Key to Changing C-Section Trend,
In rooms where a regular bed with comfy cushions replaced the hospital bed in the center of the room,