The Gentle, Safe and Effective Approach to Induction of Labour

Are you having induction of labour?

Dilapan-S® is a method used by doctors and midwives to help dilate your cervix before induction of labour. Dilapan-S® is a gentle, safe and effective method and it is suitable for all patient groups which need to be induced. We encourage you to learn about Dilapan-S® and contact Steph, the Midwife on our team if you have any questions.

Ask our Dilapan-S Midwife a Question

Are you having an induction of labour?

What is the Induction of Labour?

In most pregnancies, labour will start naturally between 37 and 42 weeks of pregnancy. Your cervix (the entrance to your womb) softens and starts to open, you’ll get contractions, or your water may break.

For some women, labour may need to be started artificially. This is called induced labour, or labour induction. It may involve breaking your waters and medicine to help start your contractions. Sometimes  additional methods are used to help soften and open the cervix – this is called ‘cervical ripening‘.  There are different ways to ripen your cervix.

Around 30% of all pregnancies need to be induced so it is very common.

Some typical reasons why labour is induced include if you are overdue, if your waters have broken but labour hasn’t begun, or if you or your baby have a health problem. Your clinician will explain if and why you might need to be induced. 

”It was great to have a non hormone option for my induction, I felt little pain when the Dilapan rods were inserted. I would have it again if I needed to be induced again.”

What is Dilapan-S®?

Dilapan-S® is a small rod which helps soften and open your cervix to prepare you for labour in a gentle and natural way. The rods are inserted into your cervix which dilate over 12 hours.

Dilapan-S® does not contain any pharmacological substances, so there is a low risk of hyperstimulation and distress to your baby when Dilapan-S® is in place.

NHS maternity units that use Dilapan-S® report that most women are very comfortable with Dilapan-S®  . Women can easily move around, sleep, shower and get on with normal daily activities if they are eligible to go home for the cervical ripening period.

Ask your doctor or midwife at your next appointment to find out if your hospital offers Dilapan-S®

How does Dilapan-S® work?


The Dilapan-S® rods are made of a firm gel which absorbs water when they are in your cervix, so they gradually increase in size. This will also help your body release natural hormones to further prepare you for labour.

The thin 4 mm rod can expand to 15 mm over 12 hours. This rods grow gradually so the dilation is very gentle on your cervix. Usually a set of 3–5 rods are used to ripen your cervix enough to make you ready for your labour induction.


Why is Dilapan-S® so popular?


Dilapan-S® offers a range of key benefits, and is favoured by patients because: 

One-time application for >90% of mums

Dilapan-S®rods are highly effective and predictable. NHS hospitals and clinical studies find around 90% of women achieve suitable cervical dilation first-time and between 70% – 80% have a vaginal delivery following the use of Dilapan-S®.

Dilapan patient safety and comfort

Excellent patient comfort

Unlike pharmacological methods, around 70% of women are able to perform daily activities like walking, sleeping and taking a shower with Dilapan-S®. 

Safe for mum and neonate

Unlike pharmacological methods, around 70% of women are able to perform daily activities like walking, sleeping and taking a shower with Dilapan-S®. 

Outpatient induction

Outpatient induction

If your birth is regarded as low risk, it is possible your clinician may suggest an outpatient induction. If this is the case, Dilapan-S® is suitable and safe to enable you to go home during the induction phase allowing you to sleep and relax.

Ask your doctor or midwife about Dilapan-S® 


Q: Why can’t I just be started on an oxytocin infusion to get my contractions going?

A: Your Doctor can’t start you on an oxytocin infusion (the drug, which promotes your contractions) until your water has broken. Hopefully, following the insertion of Dilapan-S® your water will break either on its own or your physician or midwife will break it. The membranes are difficult to break artificially until your cervix is 2–3 cm dilated. Dilapan-S® is used to increase the dilation and prepare your cervix for a successful induction.

Q: Can I have Dilapan–S if I am a higher risk pregnancy or if I have had a previous caesarean section?

A: Yes. Having no pharmacological content, Dilapan-S® has minimal limitations related to medical conditions. It can be used in pre-term, term, and post-term pregnancies, as well as in mothers with systemic disease such as hypertension, diabetes, etc. It is also suitable for mothers with previous Caesarean section. Cervical ripening is usually gentle and gradual and will not cause your womb to over-contract or cause your baby to get distressed. Dilapan-S® should not be used only if you currently have any clinically apparent genital tract infection.

Q: How will Dilapan–S be inserted? Is it painful?

A: Dilapan-S® is inserted into your cervix during a vaginal examination. It will take approximately 5–10 minutes. Your legs will be raised on the bed and a vaginal mirror will be inserted by the clinician. The Dilapan-S® rods will then be inserted into your cervix. The procedure can be a bit uncomfortable, but generally it is well tolerated by most patients. Shortly before and after the procedure, your baby’s heartbeat is usually monitored using a cardiotocography/CTG (this is a common practice regardless of the method being used). Some minor bleeding might occur during or after insertion; this is common and should not be a concern.

Q: When will Dilapan–S be removed and what occurs after the removal?

A: The Dilapan-S® rods should be removed within 12–24 hours of insertion. Your clinician will perform a vaginal examination, remove the Dilapan-S® and determine if your cervix has sufficiently dilated. As long as your cervix has sufficiently dilated and is ready for induction, common induction protocol should be used. Usually the membranes are broken. After that, your clinician will wait for 1–2 hours to see if contractions start naturally on their own. If contractions have not started after this period, an oxytocin infusion may be started at this stage.

Q: Does my hospital offer Dilapan-S?

There are several methods of inductions and different hospitals use different methods. Dilapan-S® is becoming more popular as as safe, predictable and cost effective way to dilate the cervix.
Ask your doctor or midwife at your next appointment to find out if Dilapan-S® is something your hospital offers.

If you have more questions, ask your doctor or midwife

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    Other uses of Dilapan-S®

    Dilapan-S® is also used in other medical indications such as within IVF to transfer the embryo and also for cervical preparation prior to surgical termination of pregnancy or other gynaecological procedures such as hysteroscopy.

    If you are a HCP, please find more info HERE.