Objectives: to explore women's experiences of cervical ripening using isosorbide mononitrate (IMN) in the home as part of the main randomised controlled trial.Design: qualitative study with semi-structured interviews carried out at three weeks postpartum. Interview transcripts were analysed to identify recurrent themes, focusing on why women became involved in the study, their views about both the self-medication and the home setting, and whether they would repeat the experience.Setting: the home.Participants: twenty women enrolled in the main randomised controlled trial.Intervention: the study is part of a double-blind randomised controlled trial with 350 patients investigating whether a nitric oxide donor (IMN) used in cervical ripening improves the process of induction of labour.Findings: women liked the opportunity to remain at home during the cervical ripening process. Timing and setting were central issues; women hoped that it would hasten labour, while the home was seen as a setting offering freedom, security and reassurance, as opposed to the hospital, seen as constraining. Two women reported problems with IMN but the remainder reported that they would repeat the experience.Implications for practice: women were very positive about the opportunity to undertake cervical ripening at home. It is important to explore this setting further for appropriate interventions. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.