For a study, researchers sought to determine if outpatient cervical ripening using a balloon catheter results in less time in the labor and delivery unit than inpatient usage. From their creation through December 2020, PubMed, Scopus, Cochrane Library, and were searched. There were no linguistic or geographical limitations imposed. 1,152 titles were found and assessed using a specific process and search approach. In addition, there were randomized controlled trials that compared outpatient and inpatient cervical ripening using balloon catheters.

Two reviewers extracted the data and assessed the possibility of bias. Meta-analysis was used to provide mean differences for continuous data and risk ratios (RR) for dichotomous data, both with a 95% CI. The primary outcome was the time it took to deliver the baby from admission to the labor ward. Secondary maternal and neonatal outcomes were also looked into. Investigators included 8 trials (740 participants) and 6 studies (571 patients) that reported the primary outcome. Outpatient balloon cervical ripening was linked with considerably reduced time in the labor and delivery unit compared to the hospital group (outpatient 16.3+9.7 hours vs. inpatient 23.8+14.0 hours; mean difference 7.24 hours, 95% CI 11.03 to 3.34). There were no differences in total induction time or hospital stay. Outpatients were considerably less likely than inpatients to have a cesarean birth (21% vs. 27%, RR 0.76 (95% CI 0.59–0.98). Other maternal or neonatal outcomes showed no differences.

In low-risk patients, outpatient balloon cervical ripening was related to a shorter time between admission to labor and delivery and delivery. Outpatient balloon cervical ripening was a safe option for low-risk patients, and it had the potential to provide significant advantages to patients and labor and delivery units.