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Obstet Gynecol. 1995 Dec;86(6):880-5.

A randomized trial of two preparations of vaginal prostaglandin for pre-induction cervical ripening.

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University of Sydney, Westmead Hospital, Australia.



To compare two prostaglandin (PG) E2 preparations for pre-induction cervical ripening in a randomized clinical trial.


Two milligrams of vaginal PGE2 gel was compared with a vaginal PGE2 3-mg tablet in 200 nulliparous women. Outcomes assessed were induction failure, need for labor augmentation, pain relief requirements, fetal heart rate (FHR) abnormalities, operative delivery rate, induction-to-delivery interval, neonatal condition, and occurrence of uterine hyperstimulation.


There was no statistical difference in pre- and post-dose cervical scores. Compared with the tablet group, women in the gel group were more likely to have significant FHR abnormalities in early labor (odds ratio [OR] 4.77, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.15-19.5) requiring cesarean delivery. Fetal heart rate tracings in the active phase of labor were also more likely to be abnormal in the gel group (chi 2 = 4.31, P < .05). Compared with the gel group, women in the tablet group were significantly more likely to require operative delivery for poor progress in labor (OR 2.83, 95% CI 1.20-7.24). Other clinical outcomes were identical, with no significant differences in the overall rate of failed induction, cesarean delivery, rate of assisted delivery, requirement for oxytocin infusion, induction-to-delivery interval, pain relief requirements, or neonatal condition.


When compared with the PGE2 tablet, the use of PGE2 gel for cervical ripening and labor induction in nulliparous women did not result in significant improvements in labor outcome. Whereas the gel was associated with an increase in significant FHR abnormalities, the tablet was associated with an increase in the rate of operative delivery for poor progress in labor.

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