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Induction of labor is a common obstetric procedure, and approximately one-fourth of pregnant patients undergo the procedure. Although exercise and nipple stimulation can increase the likelihood of spontaneous labor, sexual intercourse may not be effective. Acupuncture has been used for labor induction; however, it has not been shown to increase vaginal delivery rates. There is strong evidence that membrane sweeping can increase the likelihood of spontaneous labor within 48 hours. Cervical preparation or ripening is often needed before induction. Some evidence shows that the use of nonpharmacologic approaches such as osmotic dilators and cervical ripening balloons reduce time to delivery. The effect of amniotomy on labor is uncertain. Pharmacologic intervention with oxytocin or prostaglandins is effective for cervical ripening and induction of labor. Combining a balloon catheter with misoprostol is a common practice and has been shown to decrease time to delivery in a small study.


Vernon Wheeler, Ariel Hoffman, Michael Bybel. Cervical Ripening and Induction of Labor. American family physician. 2022 Feb 01;105(2):177-186

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PMID: 35166491

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