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What to Expect From Cytotec Induction? Is It Better than Cervidil?

Childbirth can be overwhelming, especially if it is your first. With unforeseen situations like your cervix not dilating enough, it becomes even scarier. But don’t worry! This article covers everything there is to know about what to expect Cytotec induction.

Cytotec is a man-made form of the hormone “Prostaglandin.” It was originally manufactured as a drug for stomach ulcers. However, due to a high Cytotec induction success rate, it is more popular as a cervix softener during birth. Of course, induced labor does not trump natural birth; but with Cytotec, the experience is nothing short as well. 

In case things do not go as planned, you should know about birth inducers and how they work. Read on to learn the process, common side effects, and what you should do if induced with Cytotec (Misoprostol). 

Table of Content

How Is Cytotec Given for Induction?

First things first, you need to relax! Birth inducers are nothing to worry about, given the rapid popularity of these meds throughout the world. According to a survey, almost 20% of births in most countries are through induced labor. 

You can take this in several ways, depending on your cervix’s condition and your doctor’s preference. Here are a few common ways to administer Cytotec:



This is the most convenient way of taking Cytotec, where the patient swallows the medicine with water. This way, it also absorbs into the system more efficiently. The only downside is that you cannot eat anything during the process since it hampers the absorption.

Moreover, you will also need another dose sooner since the effects wear out due to faster absorption. 


The doctors keep the pill under your tongue, which then mixes into the saliva and dissolves. This allows better and more consistent absorption than swallowing the pill directly. However, the taste may be too bitter for some.


It requires a certain level of expertise from the medical practitioner to place Cytotec vaginally. Since the doctors place the pill at the posterior vaginal fornix, at the distal end of the vaginal canal, not everyone is comfortable with this method. Nonetheless, it is still an excellent option, given how it lasts longer than other placement methods. 

How Long Does Cytotec Take to Work for Induction?

There is no specific answer to how long does Cytotec induction take. It varies with cases, depending on how ripe (dilated) your cervix is, the thickness, and baby’s position. All these factors add up to a “Bishop score,” which tells how long it would take to be 3cm dilated.

But can you know how many doses of Cytotec you need to induce labor? Well, No! Just as we cannot specify the duration beforehand, we cannot also predetermine the number of doses you need. It can range anywhere from 3 to 8 doses every 4 hours. Some women go into labor after the first dose, while for some, even eight doses do not work. 

The number of doses of Cytotec needed to induce labor depends on several factors: the size and weight of the baby, the mother’s health condition, the number of hours since the last dose, and the mother’s previous Cytotec experiences.

Cytotec Induction Risks and Side Effects

As with almost all synthetic means of induction, Cytotec also poses a certain degree of risk. Does this mean you should not opt for it? Definitely not! The risk factor is extremely low compared to the benefits. Besides, most of it is due to the uncontrolled administration of the drug.


Unlike other inductive processes, you cannot control Cytotec once it is on your system. This is why your doctor needs to calculate the dosage properly; otherwise, it may result in uterine rupture, albeit only in extreme cases. However, If your doctor knows what he’s doing, you are all set. 

A few major Cytotec induction risks include uterine hyperstimulation and rupture, as well as placental rupture. 

Cytotec sometimes induces extremely intense contractions with little gaps in between. This leaves almost no time for the uterus to relax and establish normal blood flow to the fetus again, resulting in distress and, in some cases, rupture of the uterus or placenta.

If this happens, an emergency C-section is instantly required. Even then, no one can guarantee a normal delivery, and the babies may suffer from cerebral palsy and seizures.

Don’t worry! A close observation of the mother and fetus is all you need to ensure a healthy delivery. If there is no difference, your doctor may stop the administration and go for a caesarean.  

Is Cytotec FDA approved?

Cytotec is widely used for stomach ulcers and is an FDA-certified drug for gastric issues. However, given the risks attached to all induction meds, the FDA did not approve it for use during labor. It may also be due to the fact that many people use Cytotec in conjunction with Mifepristone for abortion, leading to a general notion that it is not safe to use. 

If you need to induce labor and have a breech baby or a history of uterine surgery, then induction may not be the best option. Other than that, it is completely fine to use Cytotec at the end of your delivery to facilitate the birth process. 

How to use Cytotec for induction of labour? Once your cervix reaches 3cm dilation, the doctors stop Cytotec and get the patient started on Pitocin. Pitocin, a synthetic form of the hormone “Oxytocin,” starts contraction giving you a beautiful, healthy baby. 

You may opt for pain medications in between since inductions can be quite painful for some females. Make sure you discuss all aspects of delivery with your doctor for a smooth, hassle-free birth experience. 

Cytotec vs. Cervidil: Which Is Better?

Inducing labor at term can be frustrating and a lot of work. But it is worth it when you hold your baby in your hands. Remember this and keep going!

If you are fine with going for an induced birth, it is time to decide which medication you should use. From Cytotec and Cervidil to Pitocin, there are numerous options. But which one is better? From a medicinal point of view, Cytotec takes the lead. 


Right off the bat, the price point makes Cytotec a favorable option. It is usually stored at room temperature and has a long shelf life. You can get on Cytotec any time, and it will, in most cases, induce labor in about 5 hours, thanks to its efficient administering window. 

You can go about your day normally since it does not require you to be on bed rest. Remember that you will not have much time since it expedites the process, inducing labor in as few as 4 hours. 

Cervidil, in contrast, is more expensive and requires quite a lot of care in that it needs refrigeration at a certain temperature. It is a milder version of induction medicines and requires more time to start working. 

Unlike Cytotec, you cannot take it orally, and it is only placed in the distal part of the vagina, thus requiring a skilled practitioner. 

Final Verdict

Whether planning an induced delivery or not, it is always a good idea to know what to expect from Cytotec induction. This is because making a decision last minute, in case you are past your due date and still not dilated, can be hard. 

Cytotec helps prevent cesarian and favors vaginal delivery by softening your cervix, so there is no need to fear it. Keep your knowledge up to date, so if you have to go for induced labor, you can do so without panicking. 


How long does it take for Cytotec to induce labor?

There is no definite period as to how long it takes for Cytotec to induce labor. However, it usually takes 12 to 24 hours from induction to giving birth. If there is little dilation, the dosage may increase from 25mg to more. It still may not work for some women; therefore, it is either changed to Cerividil or Pitocin, while Cesarian is a better option in some cases. 

How long does Cytotec take to dilate?

The duration of dilation varies from each person and is especially longer for women having their first child. On average, after inducing, it should take 12 to 24 hours to dilate enough for delivery or to start Pitocin, a synthetic contraction producer. However, your doctor may go for a cesarian if there is not much difference even after 24 hours. 

How many rounds of Cytotec will induce labor?

It may take anywhere from 6 to 8 rounds of Cytotec to induce labor, depending on how thick, ripe, or dilated the cervix is. The doses usually start from 25mg in 4-hour windows with strict fetal observation in case the uterus starts hyperstimulating. 

Does Cytotec start contractions?

Cytotec is a cervix ripener that promotes induction for vaginal delivery. Once the cervix dilates up to 3cm, Pitocin may stimulate further contractions. The conjunction of Cytotec and Pitocin works great in facilitating active labor.

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