Induction of parturition in the sow

  • R. Decaluwe
  • G. P. J. Janssens
  • I. Declerck
  • A. de Kruif
  • D. Maes


Inducing parturition in the sow can be used to improve farrowing supervision, which may lead to more weaned piglets. However, if not applied properly, it may lead to premature delivery. Therefore, induction of parturition should be performed not earlier than two days before the average gestation length of the sows of a farm. To induce parturition, different protocols, such as single administration of prostaglandins, double administration of prostaglandin with 6-hour interval (split-dose technique) and a combination of prostaglandins and oxytocin 24 hours later, and different administration routes, such as intramuscular injection in the neck region and injection in the vulvar region, can be used. Other strategies exist but they are less effective and/or less frequently used. A single injection of prostaglandins results in 60% of the sows farrowing within working hours (22-32 hours after injection). Using the split-dose technique or the combination of prostaglandins and oxytocin 24 hours later, the percentage increases with 20%. The use of oxytocin however increases the risk of asphyxia in the piglets, especially in case of inappropriate use. Whether farrowing induction should be applied and which protocol used depend on the herd and the preferences of the farmer.

How to Cite:

Decaluwe, R. & Janssens, G. & Declerck, I. & de Kruif, A. & Maes, D., (2012) “Induction of parturition in the sow”, Vlaams Diergeneeskundig Tijdschrift 81(3), 158-165. doi:

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Published on
28 Jun 2012
Peer Reviewed