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Cytotec for Induction of Labor, An Assignment

November 12, 2018

This was an assignment from my first term of midwifery school. I hope it is helpful to future clients and other consumers about to birth who may be introduced to this potent drug. To view the PDF of this assignment, click here.





Cytotec Review Assignment


Getting through the fourth chapter of “Born in the USA” was a challenge for me. I have been involved as a doula in two traumatic births where Cytotec was administered without informed consent. Both labors resulted in emergency Cesarean births due to hyperstimulation of the uterus and dangerous decelerations in the baby’s heart rate. Though the labors I was involved with did not end in deaths, they were close calls with their own unique health ramifications. It is incredibly frustrating and disheartening to know these scenarios were completely avoidable.


A search of the most recent literature on Cytotec use for induction yields confusing results. Some research cites that oral application is safe and effective for induction, while blaming high doses and vaginal application specifically for the most extreme outcomes (Radoff, 2014). Other researchers argue that low dose intravaginal misoprostol is safe, except in cases of previous Cesarean birth, and is more likely to lead to vaginal birth within 24 hours than other induction techniques (Al-Ibraheemi, Brustman, Bimson, Porat, & Rosenn, 2018).           


What does seem to be widely acknowledged, however, is the existence of quite a few side effects where misoprostol is concerned. The less common, but more severe side effects include uterine tachysystole, uterine rupture in cases of high dosage and in cases of VBAC or TOLAC, fetal hypoxia, and non-reassuring fetal heart tones. Even the more common, but less severe side effects of induction with Cytotec are problematic during a birth. These include diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting for the birther as well as stimulation to the gastrointestinal tract leading to early meconium expression for the fetus (Radoff, 2014). Despite the potential to cause several negative outcomes and dramatically impact the experience of the birther during labor, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists endorses the use of Cytotec for induction purposes (Al-Ibraheemi et al., 2018).


References (originally given in APA format)

Al-Ibraheemi, Z., Brustman, L., Bimson, B. E., Porat, N., & Rosenn, B. (2018). Misoprostol with foley bulb compared with misoprostol alone for cervical ripening. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 131. 23-29. doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000002403

Read the article


Radoff, K. A. (2014). Orally administered misoprostol for induction of labor with prelabor

rupture of membranes at term. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health, 59. 254-263. doi:10.1111/jmwh.12195

Read the article



Wagner, M. (2006). Born in the USA: How a broken maternity system must be fixed to put

women and children first. Berkley, CA: University of California Press.

of Midwifery & Women’s Health. 

Buy the book



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