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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1983 Dec 1;147(7):769-72.

Vaginal absorption of hexachlorophene during labor.


Surgical soap that contains hexachlorophene is used as an antiseptic lubricant for vaginal examinations during labor in some centers. Theoretically, hexachlorophene can be absorbed from the vaginal mucosa and be potentially toxic to the fetus and neonate. To evaluate vaginal absorption and placental transfer of hexachlorophene, we measured levels in mixed arterial/venous cord serum and postpartum maternal serum in 28 women whose vaginal examinations were lubricated with pHisoHex during labor. The serum of 12 women had detectable levels of hexachlorophene, with a high level of 942 ng/ml. Cord serum had detectable levels in nine neonates, with a high level of 617 ng/ml. The conclusion is that hexachlorophene from vaginal lubricants is variably absorbed from the vaginal mucosa, and appreciable amounts can be detected in maternal and cord serum. Because of the potential for neonatal hexachlorophene toxicity, we recommend the use of alternative lubricants for pelvic examinations during labor.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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