Drugs to Speed Up Labor: Are They Safe?

Which Drugs Speed Up Labor? Is Misoprostol, Pitocin, Cervidil or Cytotec Safe?

Speed It Up

Sometimes, when a woman’s labor isn’t progressing in the way that it should, doctors and nurses might suggest that drugs be used to help speed labor up. The drugs that are used to speed labor up and help it along are synthetic forms of hormones that naturally occur in the body. Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here

There are several different drugs that are used to help induce labor. Some of the most common ones are Misoprostol, Pitocin, Cervidil, and Cytotec. These drugs are given to a woman during labor via an IV, and will be introduced gradually. The goal is to have the synthetic hormones mimic the natural hormones of labor as closely as possible. But, the question that continues to come up, is are these drugs safe?


Pitocin is by far the most commonly used drug to induce labor. It is the synthetic form of the hormone oxytocin, and some experts estimate that it is used in as many as 60 percent of all births. However, many women have an extremely negative opinion about Pitocin. Once Pitocin is administered, the pain associated with labor increases dramatically, and then they need more pain medication.

That pain medication then slows the labor back down, and it is a vicious cycle. If a woman is not fully dilated, Pitocin won’t help her dilate but will increase the intensity and pain of her contractions. In addition, Pitocin increases the chances that a mother will need a c-section, and increases the risk of hyper-stimulation of the uterus.


Misoprostol is also known as cytotec. It was formerly used to treat stomach ulcers, and it is unique because it comes in a tablet form which is placed near the uterus. The FDA and the makers of Misoprostol are at odds, and an investigation is being done into the effectiveness of this drug.

It is not currently approved to be used to induce labor, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen anyway. Misoprostol is said to be one of the most intense drugs that can be given for labor, and as of right now, the investigation into the safety of this drug continues.


Cervidil is another common drug used to induce labor. It is unique because it is placed on the tip of a string that looks sort of like a shoelace. The drug is inserted near your cervix, and if there is a problem, your doctor can quickly and easily remove the string.

The string and the medication are usually left for around 12 hours. Most of the time, Cervidil is known to help dilate and efface a woman so she is closer to being ready for delivery. However, it’s safety has been questioned in the past, as it usually causes the baby’s heart rate to drop.

Are They Safe?

These synthetic hormonal drugs are often used to help a woman prepare better for delivery and to speed up labor, but are they safe? Some say they are perfectly safe, but others argue that they are not so safe. The research does show that using these drugs to speed up labor can increase the risk of the need for a c-section.

These drugs are often known to cause intense contractions that can sometimes injure the mother or baby, although this is rare. It seems that every woman has her own opinions about the use of these drugs during labor. If you are having a baby, you should educate yourself and become informed about these drugs before your delivery day, so you will know what to expect.

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Lindsey Zaldivar
Lindsey Zaldivar | ConceiveEasy
Lindsey lives in Roselle, Illinois with her husband and son Harry. In between keeping up with a busy toddler, she enjoys blogging about parenting, cooking, crafting at The Accidental Wallflower.