Induction with Cervidil: Tips from a doula and childbirth educator
What is Cervidil:
Cervidil is a medication used in the induction of labor. In the most basic of descriptions it looks like a tampon with gel on the end of it. Its generic name is dinoprostone.
When is it used:
Care providers will often use Cervidil as the first step in an induction. If a woman’s cervix is not dilated or dilated only a little, cervidil can be used.
How does it work:
Cervidil is inserted vaginally. Some women report a discomfort with this process. It stays in and is usually removed 12 hours later or if regular labor contractions begin. Sometimes it will fall out. Usually moms stay in bed or in a chair during the 12 hours, but can get up and go to the bathroom. Most care providers monitor women while they have cervidil (this means contraction and fetal monitoring). In some areas of the world, providers have sent women home with cervidil inserted and have them return for removal (this doesn’t seem to be the norm).
Tips and other information
- Most care providers insert the cervidil at night so that mom can sleep for the 12 hours that it is in. It is important to eat a good dinner before you arrive at the hospital for the insertion.
- Sometimes cervidil causes regular labor contractions. (yahoo! This is the goal of an induction. If you have a doula, give her an update!)
- Sometimes cervidil does nothing. This means the cervix is the same before and after the cervidil. (very annoying to most women)
- Sometimes cervidil dilates the cervix a bit. (yahoo! This means mom is closer to the goal of 10cm)
- Usually cervidil only softens the cervix. This means that a woman’s cervix is more effaced/thinned after cervidil. (in my experience this happens most of the time)
- Occasionally cervidil causes extreme contractions (uterine hyperstimulation) that are right on top of each other. In this case you should alert your nurse and care provider. They usually can remove the cervidil if this happens.(this does happen! I've witnessed it)
- Sometimes providers will do 2 does of cervidil if the first dose did not achieve the desired results.
- While cervadil is inserted, sleep is the top priority. Sleeping in the hospital isn’t usually very comfortable or easy. To help encourage sleep, setup the room in a way to promote sleep. Bring pillows from home, turn out all of the lights, use white noise with headphones if that helps to cover the hospital sounds. I even recommend putting a battery operated candle in the bathroom so you don't have to turn on that light at night. Sleep is so important!! Sleep, sleep, sleep!
- Great strategies for sleep are found in this download.
- When cervidil is removed women can request a shower and a good meal before the next step of the induction begins. THIS IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Labor is a strenuous physical activity. Fuel your body before labor just as you would before a physical challenge.
- Questions about cervidil or your options for labor? Ask your care provider! It’s your birth, don’t hesitate to get the information you need to make the choices that are right for you.
- More help tips, strategies and information are found in this helpful download
Have you experienced cervidil? Please comment below.
Are you a doula that has supported women who have had cervidil? Please comment below.
common sense disclaimer: I'm a doula and childbirth educator. The blog above contains information from my experiences and my research. I'm also a wife of an attorney who likes me to include this information.
- Alice Turner