What is prostaglandin gel used for during pregnancy?

Prostoglandin is an artificial hormone similar to the one your body produces to start labor.  This hormone softens and thins the cervix, readying it for delivery.  Prostoglandin gel is used to induce natural labor.  Labor usually starts within 6 to 12 hours after insertion of prostaglandin gel.

Your physician might use prostaglandin gel to induce labor if:

-  You are past your due date.

-  You have a large baby near or past your due date.

-  You have a small baby near your due date.

-  You have high blood pressure.

After the insertion of the gel you will stay in bed for an hour to make sure it stays in place.  Often an electronic fetal monitor will be hooked up during this time to monitor contractions and your baby’s response to the gel.  With any luck, you will start labor during this time.  However, if the baby’s heart rate continues to be normal and you are not in labor, you will probably be sent home, and asked to return later for another dose. 



Rarely, there may some side effects of prostaglandin gel, including:

-  Irritation in the vagina after insertion

-  nausea or vomiting

-  diarrhea

-  excessive contractions

-  lower back pain

-  cramping in your lower abdomen



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