We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Prostaglandin Gel?

Autumn Rivers
By
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Prostaglandin gel may be used at the end of pregnancy to ripen the cervix, which should stimulate labor. It is most often given by a doctor after the due date has passed, with the intention of thinning out the cervix and starting contractions. The gel usually takes hours to work, so a patient may receive it from her doctor, and then return home to await the start of labor. Though it is generally considered safe, some side effects exist including nausea, diarrhea, and vaginal irritation. Prostaglandin gel should only be administered by a doctor, but sexual intercourse is often said to be the more natural method of treatment since sperm contains prostaglandins.

Most doctors are hesitant to soften the cervix through this method until the due date has passed. The exception is when the baby is larger than average before reaching full-term, as this can make labor more dangerous than usual. Thus, prostaglandin gel is not usually prescribed until the woman is about 40 weeks along. Doctors tend to prefer to give patients the gel during a medical exam, and often choose to monitor the mother and fetus to look for signs of labor progression. If the cervix does not begin to ripen, the patient may either be sent home to wait for labor to happen on its own, or she may be sent to the hospital and given another dose to induce contractions that day.

One of the most common ways of applying prostaglandin gel is to place a string of this product near the cervix. Putting the gel on a string allows it to be released slowly, and can also make it easy to remove if the cervix begins to ripen too fast. Some doctors, however, prefer to place a suppository inside or near the cervix. This allows for just a small dose of the gel to be introduced to the body, and can make it easy to insert another dose if necessary.

This product is the artificial version of the hormone prostaglandin, which naturally occurs in the body. In fact, it is normally found in semen, which is why sexual intercourse is considered a natural way to stimulate labor. Some patients may be uncomfortable with this at-home method of inducing labor, though, or it may not work for them as well as the gel does. This is because the artificial version tends to have a higher concentration of prostaglandins than semen. Above all, however, it should be noted that labor tends to only occur when the body is ready, which means that both prostaglandin gel and intercourse may not always be effective in starting contractions.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Autumn Rivers
By Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for The Health Board, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
Discussion Comments
Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for The Health Board, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.