Prostaglandin E2 Gel for Cervical Ripening in Patients with an Indication for Delivery

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Objective: To determine if labor can be induced safely and efficiently in patients with a medical or obstetric indication for delivery before 41 completed weeks of gestation by pre-induction cervical ripening with prostaglandin (PG) E2 gel.

Methods: One hundred eighteen women with confirmed indications for induction of labor before 41 completed weeks were randomized in a double-blind fashion to either intracervical PGE2 gel or placebo before induction by a standard oxytocin protocol. Data regarding the change in Bishop score, interval to complete dilation, maximal oxytocin dose required to establish labor, and route of delivery were collected. Apgar scores and umbilical artery pH were also recorded.

Results: The maximum oxytocin dose required to establish progressive labor was significantly lower in the PGE2 group (10.06 ± 8.50 versus 13.35 ± 9.27 mU/minute, P = .014). The cesarean rate was also significantly lower in the PGE2 group (13.1 versus 31.6%, P = .016).

Conclusion: Pre-induction intracervical deposition of 1 mg PGE2 gel decreased the amount of oxytocin required to induce progressive labor and decreased the cesarean rate in patients who had medical or obstetric indications for delivery before 41 completed weeks. This was accomplished without negative effect on Apgar score or umbilical artery pH.

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