Outpatient Cervical Ripening (Staring your induction at home!)

Cervical Ripening

A new study reported in Obstetrics & Gynecology’s February 2022 issue found that using balloon cervical ripening at home shortens the amount of time women spend in labor and delivery and decreases cesarean section occurrence compared to women that undergo the procedure in the hospital. A previous study in 2019 showed there is no difference in neonatal outcomes between induction at 39 weeks of gestation and waiting for spontaneous labor up until 40 weeks 5 days. This previous study also proved the device (a balloon-tipped catheter) is safe, effective, and inexpensive.

The current study, on the other hand, analyzed and compared the outcomes of 740 randomized clinical trials of inpatient and outpatient induction of labor. The subjects were singleton pregnancies of at least 37 weeks of primarily low-risk patients. The results showed the outpatient group spent on average 16.3 hours from the moment of labor unit admission to delivery, while the inpatient group spent 23.8 hours. However, the results also showed that, since inpatient induction allows for more frequent adjustments and evaluation for expulsion, the time between balloon expulsion and delivery for the inpatient group was on average 5.19 hours less than the outpatient one.

There were no stillbirths or adverse maternal or neonatal outcomes reported in the study among the 378 patients who underwent outpatient balloon cervical ripening. C-section deliveries had an occurrence of 21% in the outpatient group versus 27% occurrence in the inpatient one. And, although data is still not sufficient, there seem to be no trends that could indicate adverse outcomes from outpatient cervical ripening.

Seeing the positive and promising outcomes of these studies, we at El Camino Women’s Medical Group, encourage our pregnant patients to consider this option as it makes the labor process more comfortable and faster. We are also happy to inform our patients that we are the first group at ECH to offer in-office balloon cervical ripening. If this interests you, feel free to ask about it at your next appointment.


El Camino Women’s Medical Group offers the latest Minimally Invasive Solutions for gynecologic problems.   Drs. Amy TengErika Balassiano, Pooja Gupta, and Christina Lam, all members of AAGL (American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopy) are highly trained and experienced in the field of Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery.   Dr. Erika Balassiano has also completed a Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery Fellowship, under the supervision of world-renowned Dr. Camran Nezhat.

All of our physicians are El Camino Hospital doctors and operate and deliver at the Mountain View campus.

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pop up imaging stating that ECWMG is not accepting new patients starting 3/1 and you can ask to be put on a wait list.