Nearly one in three pregnant women in the united states have a c-section delivery.
UT Chattanooga's Department of Ob/Gyn Chairman Dr. Garrett Lam says that's too many.
"There is actually an epidemic of caesarian sections in the united states right now," said Lam.
That's why new guidelines for the American College of Obstetrician and Gynecologists aim to lower that rate.
They urge doctors to wait longer in certain situations before performing c-sections.
Maternal Fetal Medicine Physician Dr. Bill Dobak says it could change the decisions doctors make in the delivery room.
"These new guidelines are meant to make us realize that we have more time allotted than we once thought and it's safe for the laboring mom and the unborn baby," said Dobak.
The guidelines include allowing women to push for at least two hours, three hours for first time mothers, before ordering a c-section.
It also changes the standards for when active labor actually begins.
"We've been taught in the past active labor starts at about four centimeters and so for most docs, if a woman is sitting there at four centimeters and not moving, that's a sign that she's failed and they'll do a c-section. What we're finding is that's not the case. It may be the rapid acceleration phase in labor starts labor at about six centimeters," said Lam.