Foley catheter vs oral misoprostol for induction of labor: individual participant data meta-analysis

J. I. Kemper, W. Li*, S. Goni, M. Flanagan, A. Weeks, Z. Alfirevic, H. Bracken, S. Mundle, M. Goonewardene, M. ten Eikelder, K. Bloemenkamp, K. O. Rengerink, H. Kruit, B. W. Mol, K. R. Palmer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective: To compare the effectiveness and safety of Foley catheter and oral misoprostol for induction of labor (IOL). Methods: The Cochrane Review on Mechanical Methods for Induction of Labour and Ovid MEDLINE, EMBASE via Ovid, Ovid Emcare, CINAHL Plus, and Scopus, from inception to April 2019, were searched for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing Foley catheter to oral misoprostol for IOL in viable singleton gestations. Eligible trials for which raw data were obtained were included and individual participant data meta-analysis was performed. Primary outcomes were vaginal birth, a composite of adverse perinatal outcome (including stillbirth, neonatal death, neonatal seizures, admission to the neonatal intensive care unit, severe respiratory compromise or meconium aspiration syndrome) and a composite of adverse maternal outcome (including admission to the intensive care unit, maternal infection, severe postpartum hemorrhage, maternal death or uterine rupture). The quality of the included RCTs was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias 2 tool and the certainty of evidence was evaluated using the GRADE approach. A two-stage random-effects model was used for meta-analysis according to the intention-to-treat principle and interactions between treatment and baseline characteristics were assessed. Results: Of seven eligible trials, four provided individual participant data for a total of 2815 participants undergoing IOL, of whom 1399 were assigned to Foley catheter and 1416 to oral misoprostol. All four trials provided data for each of the primary outcomes in all 2815 women. Compared with those receiving oral misoprostol, Foley catheter recipients had a slightly decreased chance of vaginal birth (risk ratio (RR), 0.95 (95% CI, 0.91–0.99); I2, 2.0%; moderate-certainty evidence). A trend towards a lower rate of composite adverse perinatal outcome was found in women undergoing IOL using a Foley catheter compared with oral misoprostol (RR, 0.71 (95% CI, 0.48–1.05); I2, 14.9%; low-certainty evidence). Composite adverse maternal outcome did not differ between the groups (RR, 1.00 (95% CI, 0.97–1.03); I2, 0%; moderate-certainty evidence). Meta-analyses of effect modifications did not show significant interactions between intervention and parity or gestational age for any of the primary outcomes. Conclusions: For women undergoing IOL, Foley catheter is less effective than oral misoprostol, as it was associated with fewer vaginal births. However, while we found no significant difference in maternal safety, Foley catheter induction may reduce adverse perinatal outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-223
Number of pages9
JournalUltrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • Foley catheter
  • individual participant data
  • induction of labor
  • meta-analysis
  • misoprostol
  • safety
  • vaginal birth


Dive into the research topics of 'Foley catheter vs oral misoprostol for induction of labor: individual participant data meta-analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this