Labor induction and cervical ripening are widely utilized and new methods are constantly being investigated. Prostaglandins have been shown to be effective labor induction agents and, in particular, were compared with other prostaglandin preparations; vaginal misoprostol used off-label was associated with reduced failure to achieve vaginal delivery. The challenge is to provide this medication with the correct dosing for this indication and with the ability to discontinue the medication if needed, all while ensuring essential maternal and neonatal safety. The misoprostol vaginal insert initiates cervical ripening using a delivery system that controls misoprostol release and can be rapidly removed. This article reviews the development, safety and efficacy of the misoprostol vaginal insert for induction of labor and cervical ripening, and will focus on vaginally administered prostaglandins.