Methods of cervical ripening

Medication methods


The two most commonly used drugs your doctor or midwife may suggest for you are both containing substances called prostaglandins, you may also hear your clinician use terms dinoprostone or misoprostol.

Prostaglandins are hormones which process softening of the tissues of the cervix, causing it to become ripened and therefore ready for the labour. Uterine cramping and contractions are quite common with medications, but these are unwanted side effect at this stage!

You will most likely have a monitor on to watch your baby’s heartbeat, as it can be influenced by the medications and you might feel contractions for several hours after you receive the medication.


Prostaglandins can be given to you in a form of a pill you will swallow, or the pill may be placed directly in the vagina, behind your cervix, or in a form of gel, applied directly in your vagina near the cervix. 

You will be given this pill or gel about every 4-6 hours for up to 4 doses.

vaginal tampon in hands

Prostaglandins can also be in a form of a vaginal insert, which looks like a flat tampon.

The pessary is placed in your vagina, behind the cervix, and stays in place for 12 up to 24 hours, depending on the country's protocol. 

Ikona, question mark

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