Induction of Labor Medication

Updated: Apr 12, 2018
  • Author: Roxanne A Vrees, MD; Chief Editor: Christine Isaacs, MD  more...
  • Print

Medication Summary

Pharmacologic agents are administered for cervical ripening and labor induction.


Prostaglandins, Endocrine

Class Summary

Some agents in this category can stimulate uterine contractility and can be used to induce labor.

Misoprostol (Cytotec)

A synthetic prostaglandin E1 analog used for cervical ripening and labor induction. 

Dinoprostone (Cervidil, Prepidil, Prostin E2)

Prostaglandin E2 analog that when administerd for labor induction relaxes the smooth muscle of the cervix and causes the cervix to dilate which in turn allows the passage of the fetus through the birth canal.


Oxytocic Agents

Class Summary

These agents can enhance the natural uterine contraction process that successfully halts postpartum blood loss and eventually leads to normal uterine involution back to the prepregnant state.

Oxytocin (Pitocin)

Stimulates uterine contraction by activating G-protein-coupled receptors. Also increases local prostaglandin production, which further stimulates uterine contraction. Produces rhythmic uterine contractions and stimulate the gravid uterus. Can also control postpartum bleeding or hemorrhage.