Women who are at or near delivery may receive Prepidil to help prepare the cervix for birth of the baby. This prescription medicine is a manufactured version of a naturally occurring hormone that is needed to help thin and soften the cervix so the baby can pass through during birth. Prepidil is used when the cervix has not sufficiently "ripened" before induction of labor.
What Is Prepidil Used For?Prepidil® (dinoprostone vaginal gel) is a prescription medication approved for ripening the cervix in pregnant women who are at or near term, before induction of labor. It comes in the form of a gel that is inserted into the cervix by a healthcare provider with a syringe.
The cervix is located at the lower portion of the uterus (the womb) and opens into the vagina. Throughout pregnancy, the cervix remains closed and firm to help keep the developing fetus inside the uterus. In preparation for labor and delivery, however, the cervix will become thin and soften. This is known as cervical ripening. Cervical ripening allows the cervix to dilate so the fetus can pass through during birth.
Prepidil is used to ripen a cervix that has not sufficiently ripened before induction of labor. A healthcare provider may recommend induction of labor for a variety of reasons, but generally labor is induced when the risks of continuing a pregnancy are greater than the risks of bringing on childbirth through artificial means (usually with medication). Some of the reasons a healthcare provider may recommend induction of labor include:
- It is not progressing as expected
- Your health is at risk
- Your baby's health is at risk.
One of the most common reasons for inducing a pregnancy is being overdue (beyond 41 weeks pregnant).
Labor induction is less likely to be successful when the cervix has not sufficiently thinned or dilated. In such instances, medications like Prepidil may be used to make the cervix more favorable for inducing labor. Prepidil contains dinoprostone, a prostaglandin. Dinoprostone is also available as a vaginal insert (Cervidil®), which is also approved for cervical ripening.