Objective: To compare the effectiveness of intravaginal and intracervical prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) gel for cervical ripening, defined as an increase of 3 or greater in the Bishop score, and for induction of labor.
Methods: Women with Bishop score 4 or less were assigned randomly to receive either 2 mg PGE2 intravaginally (n = 125) or 0.5 mg intracervically (n = 122). If the Bishop score was 4 or less, another dose of PGE2 was given after 6 hours, and up to two additional doses were given 6 hours apart on the second day. An oxytocin infusion was begun when the Bishop score was 5 or greater in absence of spontaneous labor, or if labor had not begun on the third day.
Results: Baseline characteristics of the two groups were similar. Survival analysis showed that time from PGE2 application, to obtain an increase of 3 or greater in the Bishop score, to vaginal delivery was significantly shorter with intravaginal PGE2 (logrank test: P = .003 and < .001 after stratification for parity, respectively). Thirty-one percent of women in the intravaginal gel group required oxytocin for labor induction compared with 63% in the intracervical group (P < .001). There were no significant differences in relation to cesarean delivery rate, Apgar scores at 5 minutes, and arterial umbilical cord pH, although the power of our study was limited to detect differences in proportions of adverse outcomes.
Conclusion: Vaginal PGE2 gel is more effective than intracervical gel for cervical ripening and labor induction.
(C) 1998 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists