Chlorhexidine vaginal and infant wipes to reduce perinatal mortality and morbidity: A randomized controlled trial

Sarah Saleem, Dwight J. Rouse, Elizabeth M. McClure, Anita Zaidi, Tahira Reza, Y. Yahya, I. A. Memon, N. H. Khan, G. Memon, N. Soomro, Omrana Pasha, Linda L. Wright, Janet Moore, Robert L. Goldenberg

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26 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To estimate the effects of chlorhexidine vaginal and baby wipes on fetal and neonatal mortality, respectively, and infection-related morbidity. Methods: We performed a placebo-controlled, randomized trial of chlorhexidine vaginal and neonatal wipes to reduce neonatal sepsis and mortality in three hospitals in Pakistan. The primary study outcome was a composite of neonatal sepsis or 7-day perinatal mortality. Results: From 2005 to 2008, 5,008 laboring women and their neonates were randomly assigned to receive either chlorhexidine wipes (n=2,505) or wipes with a saline placebo (n=2,503). The primary outcome was similar in the chlorhexidine and control groups (3.1% compared with 3.4%; relative risk 0.91, 95% confidence interval 0.67-1.24) as was the composite rate of neonatal sepsis or 28-day perinatal mortality (3.8% compared with 3.9%, relative risk 0.96, 95% confidence interval 0.73-1.27). At day 7, the chlorhexidine group had a lower rate of neonatal skin infection (3.3% compared with 8.2%, P<.001). With the exception of less frequent 7-day hospitalization in the chlorhexidine group, there were no significant differences in maternal outcomes between the groups. Conclusion: Using maternal chlorhexidine vaginal wipes during labor and neonatal chlorhexidine wipes does not reduce maternal and perinatal mortality or neonatal sepsis. The finding of reduced superficial skin infections on day 7 without change in sepsis or mortality suggests that this difference, although statistically significant, may not be of major importance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1225-1232
Number of pages8
JournalObstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


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