Dilatation and effacement of the cervix are not only a result of uterine contractions, but are also dependant upon ripening processes within the cervix. The cervix is a fibrous organ composed principally of hyaluronic acid, collagen and proteoglycan. Hyaluronic acid increases markedly after the onset of labour. An increase in the level of hyaluronic acid is associated with an increase in tissue water content. Cervical ripening during labour is characterised by changes of the cervix and an increased water content. Cervical injection of hyaluronidase was postulated to increase cervical ripening. This is one of a series of reviews of methods of cervical ripening and labour induction using standardised methodology.