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Wirral University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Induction of labour

There are three methods of induction used depending on clinical examination and cervical assessment.

Cervical Ripening Balloon

This is a specifically designed catheter which is gently inserted through the cervix. The balloon is inflated with water to hold the device in place, for a minimum of 12 hours and maxim of of 24 hours.

 Prostaglandin Vaginal Pessaries/Tampons

  • This is an alternative method to the CRB and options will be discussed with you.Prostin tampon is inserted and left for up to 24 hours or until labour begins or
  • Pessary is placed behind the cervix, at the top of the vagina where it dissolves
  • Hormones in the pessary cause the cervix to soften and the uterus to contract
  • If labour has not begun 6 hours later, the process is repeated
  • A 3rd pessary is sometimes given the following day, if indicated

Artificial Rupture of Membranes and Oxytocin

Artificial rupture of membranes (ARM) is a further method if you meet a suitable criteria and is performed with a vaginal examination:-

  • A small, slim instrument is used to puncture the bag of membranes, releasing some of the fluid
  • Often this is sufficient stimulation for the uterus to start contracting and labour begins
  • An intravenous infusion of a hormone called oxytocin can be used to stimulate the uterus to begin contracting