Comparing the Impacts of Topical Chlorhexidine and Dry Cord Care on Umbilical Cord Separation Time among Neonates

Document Type : Original Article



Background: Delayed umbilical cord separation (UCS) can increase the risk of infection. Therefore, cord care is of great importance. Objectives: This study aimed to compare the impacts of topical chlorhexidine and dry cord care on UCS time. Methods: In this quasi‑experimental study, 174 neonates were recruited from two teaching hospitals affiliated to Kashan University of Medical Sciences, Kashan, Iran. They were assigned to chlorhexidine and dry cord care groups. In the first group, 4% chlorhexidine solution was applied to the cord stump 3 h after birth and then every 12 h until 2 days after cord separation. The mothers of neonates in the dry cord care group were recommended to avoid using any material on the cord stump. The signs of cord stump infection were assessed by mothers on a daily basis and also by the second author at four‑time points, namely, 3 h after birth (in hospital), 3 and 7 days after birth (through home visits), and 2 days after cord separation (through home visits). UCS time was documented by mothers. The Chi‑square and the independent‑samples t‑tests were used to analyze the data. Results: UCS time in the chlorhexidine group was significantly longer than the dry cord care group (13.28 ± 6.79 vs. 7.85 ± 2.51 days; P < 0.001). The longest separation time in these groups was 53 and 17 days, respectively. There were no significant differences between the groups with regard to infection signs, namely, discharge, redness, foul odor, inflammation, and swelling (P > 0.05). Conclusion: Dry cord care not only is as effective as topical use of chlorhexidine in preventing cord stump infection but also is associated with shorter cord separation time.