Dilapan induction

Information for patients

Obstetrics and gynaecology

If you are not suitable for balloon induction, you might be offered Dilapan method of induction. It has minimal side effects and unlike the pessary does not need close monitoring.

How does DILAPAN-S® work?

Dilapan is a small synthetic rod made of hydrogel (a gel in which the liquid component is water). It does not contain any chemicals or hormones.

The procedure involves inserting 3-5 rods into your cervix (neck of the womb). These rods act by absorbing the fluid from the cervical tissue. This helps soften the cervix and helps it dilate gradually.

The procedure involves mother lying on her back with legs up for a short time. A sterile instrument (speculum) is inserted into the vagina to visualise the cervix, which is then cleaned with antiseptic, and the rods are inserted.

It is a non-hormonal method and the possibility of strong uterine contractions is very low.

Can I have DILAPAN-S® if I have any medical condition or I have had a previous caesarean birth?

Yes. Cervical ripening with Dilapan-S® is usually gentle and gradual and will not cause your womb to over-contract or cause your baby to get distressed. It has no drug within it. Hence it is safe if you have any medical conditions or a previous caesarean birth.

How will DILAPAN-S® be inserted? Is it painful?

DILAPAN-S® is inserted into your cervix during a vaginal examination with a speculum. It will take approximately 5-10 minutes. 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 will be monitored. Some minor bleeding might occur during or after insertion; this is common and should not be a concern.

Which regular activities can/cannot be done with DILAPAN-S® inserted?

Inserted DILAPAN-S® does not limit your regular activities. You can go to the bathroom, shower normally and perform your normal daily activities. You will need to avoid sitting in a bath tub and vaginal douching while the rods are in place.

Most women can relax or sleep during cervical ripening as there is a low rate of uterine contractions. 

If there is any excessive bleeding, pain or other concerns that occur during the ripening process, please report that to midwife immediately.

Under no circumstances should you try to remove the rods yourself.

When will DILAPAN-S® be removed and what occurs after the removal?

The DILAPAN-S® rods should be removed within 12-15 hours of insertion. Your clinician will perform a vaginal examination, remove the DILAPAN-S® and determine if your cervix has sufficiently dilated.

If your cervix has sufficiently dilated and is favourable, the membranes are broken artificially. After that, we 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.

If your cervix has not sufficiently dilated you may need further Dilapan, balloon or Propess.

What if I have any questions?

If you have any questions, please ask to speak to a midwife or a doctor.

How to contact us

Wharncliffe Ward

24 hours
01709 424348

Labour Ward

24 hours
01709 424491

Midwifery Triage

7am to 7pm
01709 427700


Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
01709 424513

Community Midwifery Office

Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm
01709 424058

Dilapan induction - patient information leaflet
Version: 2.0
Date of review: June 2023
Date of next review: June 2025
© The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust

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  • Page last reviewed: 24 January 2023
  • Next review due: 24 January 2024