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J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 1998 Nov-Dec;27(6):621-7.

Alcohol versus natural drying for newborn cord care.

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  • 1Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation, Ontario, Canada.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To compare alcohol cleaning and natural drying of newborn umbilical cords.

DESIGN:

Prospective, randomized controlled trial.

SETTING:

Tertiary-level university teaching hospital and level II community hospital.

PARTICIPANTS:

Of 1,876 singleton full-term newborns enrolled, 1,811 completed the study.

INTERVENTIONS:

Newborns, from birth until separation of the cord, were randomized to either (a) umbilical cleansing with 70% isopropyl alcohol at each diaper change or (b) natural drying of the umbilical site without special treatment.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Umbilical infection, cord separation time, maternal comfort, and cost.

RESULTS:

No newborn in either group developed a cord infection. Primary care providers obtained cultures for cord concerns in 32 newborns (1.8%), with colonization for normal flora, Staphylococcus aureus, and Group B streptococcus proportionately equal in alcohol and air dry groups. Cord separation time was statistically significantly different (alcohol group, 9.8 days; natural drying group, 8.16 days; t = 8.9, p = < .001). Mothers described similar comfort with cord care and relief with cord separation. Costs of alcohol drying while in the hospital were greater than those of natural drying.

CONCLUSIONS:

(a) Evidence does not support continued use of alcohol for newborn cord care; (b) health care providers should explain the normal process of cord separation, including appearance and possible odor; and (c) health care providers should continue to develop evidence to support or eliminate historic practices.

PMID:
9836156
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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