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What Is Cervidil?

What is cervidil, and how will it be used in my induction?
ByAshley Roman, MD
OB-GYN
Updated
December 5, 2019
pregnant woman looking at sonogram
Image: Yuko Hirao

Cervidil is a vaginal insert that contains a type of medication called a prostaglandin. It helps jumpstart labor by softening the cervix and preparing it for birth. That’s why it’s typically used in women who need to have labor induced but whose cervix is closed or hasn’t “ripened” yet.

The insert is placed by your health care provider (it’s kind of like putting in a tampon!) and remains in place until your provider removes it. For the first two hours after you’re given Cervidil, you’ll need to stay in bed so baby’s fetal heart rate and your contractions can be closely monitored.

The main risk to Cervidil, as with all medications used for labor induction, is that the medication can cause too many contractions, which can affect baby’s heart rate over time. So, your OB will watch you and baby closely throughout your induction.

Once your cervix is ripe, you may be given another medication, Pitocin (aka oxytocin), which can cause contractions or make them stronger, to progress your labor.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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