Information for the public
The aim of using a double balloon catheter is to help induce labour by causing the cervix to soften and dilate. It is usually done with the mother lying on her back, often with her legs in stirrups. A sterile speculum is put into the vagina, so the cervix can be cleaned using an antiseptic. The catheter is then inserted so that 1 balloon is in the uterus and 1 is in the vagina. The balloons are slowly and alternatively inflated with saline. When the balloons are fully inflated and in place on both sides of the cervix, the speculum is removed. The end of the catheter is loosely taped to the inner thigh.
The device is left in place for up to about 12 hours. Both the mother and baby are monitored during the procedure. If labour begins, the device comes out, the waters break, or the baby seems to be in distress, the balloons are deflated and the device is removed. If labour does not begin, the waters are broken artificially and an oxytocin infusion is started.