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Hibiclens & Precip Births (separate topics)

A question arose regarding Hibiclens being on a list of supplies from the midwife. I reply:

Hibiclens (that is the proper spelling) is used in lieu of antibiotics in labor for a woman who is GBS positive. That is the only thing I can imagine using it for in birth.

You can read about it at:


Many women do not want antibiotics, but want to do something and the Hibiclens, while controversial, seems to do a pretty decent job in helping babies avoid GBS infection as they pass through mama's vagina. It is not standard treatment at all in North America, but in countries where antibiotics are unavailable or scarce, the Hibiclens seems a great alternative.

My personal take... NOT speaking as a midwife, but as a mama - if I was GBS positive, I would choose to do nothing and watch the baby closely afterwards. If I were negative, I would absolutely not let someone near me with Hibiclens. If I was forced to choose between antibiotics and Hibiclens, I would choose the wash.

If a woman chooses the wash, it should be done ONCE, diluted, and not until birth is imminent.

Another question regarding precipitous babies and their inability to breathe because of the speed of the birth was brought up... truth or fiction?

I answer:

It can be both. Most of the time, precipitous births, just like most births, do fine. However, there can be complications, just like in slower births. You ask about the baby's breathing, so I will address that first.

Babies who fly through the vagina in a fast and intense labor have two issues at play. Babies, for all intents and purposes, hold their breath during contractions. The umbilical cord provides their oxygen, but if contractions are so hard the baby and the cord are mooshed, the baby can have a harder time. If contraction follows contraction with nary a moment to breathe, the baby can show their stress when we listen with a doppler.

I encourage women having precip births to BREATHE and breathe deeply as much as possible even through the contractions. Making noise/singing is fabulous! It takes oxygen to make moaning or singing noises and babies benefit greatly.

So, if a baby comes out after having this intensity as their labor, they can be rather surprised to find themselves out and needing to breathe on their own. The other look I see (and it is called this in most medical circles I have been in) is "stunned." Babies have their eyes open and might even blink, but you can see in their eyes they are momentarily freaked out at being on the earth. They didn't have the hours and hours to get ready for their transition; instead, they find themselves needing to breathe on their own and it can take a few moments for their complete spirit/soul to follow... and then they take their first breath.

Most precip births are perfectly fine and even with a stunned baby, just touching them and looking in their eyes to let them know they are fine and safe and perfect is usually enough to bring them "home" into your life. At the most, a "kiss" of a puff or two of air from your mouth is enough.

Someone mentioned tearing, which you didn't ask about, but babies who fly from uterus to your arms can tear the vagina since it can take some time to stretch the vagina gently to allow the baby's entrance. I have come to believe the adage, if it hurts, don't do it! If you feel burning, wait and let the burning feeling go away. Let the uterus do the work for you. And yes, precip labors' uteri can push those babies out in one giant whoosh! so any extra help from mom probably isn't necessary.

(I've been writing a lot about this for my book, so forgive me if I go on a tiny bit more.)

The only real concern is bleeding after a precipitous birth because the uterus is just as stunned as the baby to be empty. Nursing right away or at least nipple stimulation and (I cannot stress this enough) TELLING YOUR UTERUS TO CLAMP DOWN! Some women choose to use herbs and others obtain pitocin just in case, but unless a real issue is unfolding, allowing the body to catch up just takes a few moments (maybe 2 minutes).

Women, too, find themselves surprised or even shocked that the birth has happened and it is very important to stay in touch with the body at this time. Getting totally high after the birth of the placenta and making sure bleeding isn't an issue is great.

end post

I just thought these were good points to share.

Reader Comments (2)

You know, my doula suggested I use Hibiclens around my vagina before they gave me the GBS test. Of course it turned out negative. What danger is there in that? I'm a little freaked out to know I could have done some sort of damage.

July 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterHollyRhea

I have never heard of doing Hibiclens before the GBS test. I *have* heard of using Hibiclens at the birth... a Hibiclens wash... done in countries where there aren't antibiotics.

I doubt you did damage... but cannot, for the life of me, figure out why she would have had you do it that way. Why bother doing the test at all?

July 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

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