Prostaglandins are used in labor induction and help to ripen your cervix, meaning they cause it to efface or thin and cause uterine contractions. There are two basic types of prostaglandins, misoprostol (known under the brand name Cytotec in the United States) and dinoprostone (which goes by the trade names Cervidil and Prepidil). Misoprostol was initially approved as a medication to prevent ulcers, and in the United States is commonly used “off label” to induce labor. There is documented concern of misoprostol (Cytotec) risks that primarily revolve around hyperstimulating the uterus. This Q&A answers a listener question about misoprostol (Cytotec) and includes evidence-based information on the risks and benefits of misoprostol (Cytotec) to induce labor.

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