Early amniotomy after cervical ripening for induction of labor: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2020 Apr;222(4):320-329. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2019.07.049. Epub 2019 Aug 6.


Objective data: Timing of artificial rupture of membranes (ie, amniotomy) in induction of labor is controversial, because it has been associated not only with shorter labors, but also with fetal nonreassuring testing, at times necessitating cesarean delivery. The aim of this systematic review and metaanalysis of randomized trials was to evaluate the effectiveness of early amniotomy vs late amniotomy or spontaneous rupture of membranes after cervical ripening.

Study: The search was conducted with the use of electronic databases from inception of each database through February 2019. Review of articles included the abstracts of all references that were retrieved from the search.

Study appraisal and synthesis methods: Selection criteria included randomized clinical trials that compared early amniotomy vs control (ie, late amniotomy or spontaneous rupture of membranes) after cervical ripening with either Foley catheter or prostaglandins at any dose. The primary outcome was the incidence of cesarean delivery. The summary measures were reported as summary relative risk with 95% of confidence interval with the use of the random effects model of DerSimonian and Laird.

Results: Four trials that included 1273 women who underwent cervical ripening with either Foley catheter or prostaglandins and then were assigned randomly to either early amniotomy, late amniotomy, or spontaneous rupture of membranes (control subjects) were included in the review. Women who were assigned randomly to early amniotomy had a similar risk of cesarean delivery (31.1% vs 30.9%; relative risk, 1.05; 95% confidence interval, 0.71-1.56) compared with control subjects and had a shorter interval from induction to delivery of approximately 5 hours (mean difference, -4.95 hours; 95% confidence interval, -8.12 to -1.78). Spontaneous vaginal delivery was also reduced in the early amniotomy group, but only 1 of the included trials reported this outcome (67.5% vs 69.1%; relative risk, 0.78; 95% confidence interval, 0.66-0.93). No between-group differences were reported in the other obstetrics or perinatal outcomes.

Conclusion: After cervical ripening, routine early amniotomy does not increase the risk of cesarean delivery and reduces the interval from induction to delivery.

Keywords: Foley catheter; cesarean delivery; delivery; induction of labor; prostaglandins.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Amniotomy*
  • Cervical Ripening*
  • Cesarean Section / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Time Factors