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Auckland University and Wellington Hospital Outpatients Balloon vs Inpatient Gel (OBLIGE) study

There are many reasons why pregnant women may be advised to have their labour induced, or started artificially, before the body has gone into labour naturally. If your midwife or doctor has recommended that you have your labour induced, then please keep reading.

Prior to the onset of labour, your cervix is closed, firm and long. Early labour pains – which are often irregular and less painful – soften and thin the cervix. This process is stimulated by the hormone prostaglandin, which the body produces when labour begins naturally.

If you are being induced, this prostaglandin hormone will be given to you to soften your cervix, which mimics the process of natural labour. You may need several doses of this hormone gel and will stay in hospital throughout.

An alternative method of inducing labour is to have a soft, flexible balloon catheter gently placed through your cervix. This stimulates your own natural prostaglandin hormone to soften your cervix. You will be able to go home during this process if you meet the criteria to be part of the OBLIGE study.

Your LMC or the research team will discuss the criteria with you. Inclusion criteria includes one baby in a head down position, planning an induction of labour (IOL) at ≥ 37 weeks gestation. You would need to be able to remain within one hour of Wellington Hospital whilst an outpatient, if allocated to the balloon group. Women who have had a previous caesarean would not be included as prostaglandins would be contraindicated.

The aim of this study is to find out which method is more effective to induce your labour. If you agree to participate in this study, then on the day of your induction, you will be selected by chance to have it started by one of these two methods. This means you have a 50/50 chance to be in the prostaglandin hormone gel group and remain in hospital, or to be in the balloon catheter group and go home (outpatient) for the first 18-24 hours.

After your baby is born, we will ask you to complete a brief questionnaire about your experience having your labour induced. Participation is voluntary. The study is confidential; your privacy will be protected. Your care will not be affected if you choose not to participate.

If you would like more information discuss this study with your LMC and click on the following Participation Information Sheet

Participation Information Sheet

Last updated 8 March 2018.