Why NOT the eye gunk? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 67 Old 08-05-2009, 10:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Was just thinking about this. Why do some people elect not to get the eye gunk for their babies?

-Tangy
Mama to Jon (14), Josh (12), Jack (5), Jamison (3), and Jocelyn (9 months)
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#2 of 67 Old 08-05-2009, 10:52 AM
 
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Because I don't have gonorrhea or chlamydia and I won't use medicine without a justification for it.
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#3 of 67 Old 08-05-2009, 11:12 AM
 
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I would also like to know!
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#4 of 67 Old 08-05-2009, 11:16 AM
 
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Because I don't have gonorrhea or chlamydia and I won't use medicine without a justification for it.
This and also because antibiotics kill good as well as bad. Why would I kill all the good natural things that are supposed to be there colonizing thier eyes and eye lashes keeping other stuff in check. Especially for something that I don't have. I know the argurment that a woman might not know if her DH was being faithful and thats why I took a 10 second urine test rather than medicating my child unneccesarily.

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#5 of 67 Old 08-05-2009, 11:21 AM
 
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Because I don't have gonorrhea or chlamydia and I won't use medicine without a justification for it.
Yes, this. Suppose I don't have much more to add!

Carson, living life with my 3 boys: DH, DS Dec '09 blahblah.gif  and newbie DS Sept'12baby.gif

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#6 of 67 Old 08-05-2009, 11:24 AM
 
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Because I don't have gonorrhea or chlamydia and I won't use medicine without a justification for it.
This. And I like to see those beautiful eyes without being all goo'd up.

Angela
Chatty Girl - 3/2006, Lovey Boy - 1/2010, Delicious Baby Girl - 1/2012
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#7 of 67 Old 08-05-2009, 11:27 AM
 
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It also interferes with their vision, which is pretty fuzzy and near-sighted to begin with. Why put one more barrier between you and your baby during that sensitive bonding time? Plus, it's been shown that if the baby does get an eye infection in the first weeks of life, they can just do antibiotics at the time that there's an actual indication for it, and the outcomes are still very good.

Doula, WOHM, wife to a super-fun papa, mama to the Monkey ('07), and his little brother, the Sea Monkey ('09).
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#8 of 67 Old 08-05-2009, 11:38 AM
 
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I prefer a very natural lifestyle and I do pre-treat possible infections/viruses by using nutritious foods and herbs. I rarely have any problems with my health. I do not vaccinate myself against the flu or agree to randomly perscribed antibiotics.

You would think I would automatically decline the eye goop.

However, because it sounds SO ridiculous to treat every single baby for possible infections even when there parents are known to be free of STD's (at our hospital they tested us both upon becoming pregnant) there had to be more to this. I researched quite a bit and heard from some nurses.

It seems that, at a home birth, the eye goop likely is not at all necessary. And I believe it was a nurse from the La Leche league who mentioned that she wouldn't give her baby the eye goop if born at home...but if born in a hospital, she would. Because of all of the bacteria that floats around that place. This theory is confirmed on the Business of Being Born when they mention that the hospitals were advertised as these sterile safe places (when people started birthing there instead of home) but that the infection rate actually was higher to infants and moms who birthed there.

A recent trip to the hospital with my Dad really inforced this. His room was filthy when we went in the this hospital (which is rated one of the top 100 hospitals) and when I helped him over to the bathroom, the toilet was overflowing and feces was floating there...from the previous patient. It took an hour to get maintenance to come fix it and even then no one came to clean or sanitize the toilet, the bathroom, the sink or anything. We had to wait hours for the cleaning crew to come. It just made me think twice about trusting the cleanliness of a hospital.

With that said, I am still undecided about the eye goop. I have turned in a copy of the birth plan to my OB and he will discuss it with me next time. I wrote in that we were undecided and would like to hear what he has to say about it. (He's uncommon as far as doctors go and will be very honest I believe. He's okay with opting out of vaccines and is very pro natural birth, so I think I'll get a good perspective from him). I'll let you know what he says!
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#9 of 67 Old 08-05-2009, 11:45 AM
 
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Might be a kind of silly question, but want to ask anyway... If the baby is born in a hospital is there any other risk, besides mom having said illnesses, to not putting the gunk in their eyes? Does it prevent anything airborne, or on nurses hands etc? If not then what's the point??? Hospitals, ugh!!

So glad this came up because honestly both my boys were born in hospitals and both had eye drops, I never even thought to ask what they were for...:
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#10 of 67 Old 08-05-2009, 11:57 AM
 
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Yeah that's exactly why I was looking into it. I couldn't figure out what the point was. But my research said that it CAN prevent lots of yucky bacteria floating around hospitals and that newborn eyes are in particular very sensitive.

I'm still undecided though...
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#11 of 67 Old 08-05-2009, 12:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by nick&jonmom View Post
Might be a kind of silly question, but want to ask anyway... If the baby is born in a hospital is there any other risk, besides mom having said illnesses, to not putting the gunk in their eyes? Does it prevent anything airborne, or on nurses hands etc?
I had a doula client whose baby had to be taken to the NICU for breathing issues, and the baby's NP came into the labor room to ask the mom about the eye prophy., Hep B. vaccine and Vit. K shots. Mom said OK to the Vit. K and Hep. B, but declined the eye treatment. The nurse said to her, "Are you sure?" and the mom got a little sassy and asked, "Why, is there something bad floating around the NICU that puts her at greater risk for an eye infection?" The nurse allowed that, no, it wasn't more germy than anywhere else... Actually, the NICU seems like it's probably cleaner than a lot of other parts of the hospital because they have more hand-washing and mouth-covering protocols in place for visitors and staff than the regular mama-baby unit.

Doula, WOHM, wife to a super-fun papa, mama to the Monkey ('07), and his little brother, the Sea Monkey ('09).
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#12 of 67 Old 08-05-2009, 12:13 PM
 
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Not to be argumentative - but really just asking....

What if your baby isn't in the NICU? Because, yes, I would agree that the Intensive care unit IS probably cleaner because of the situation the patients are in. But what about the regular hospital exposure. Our baby will likely be rooming in and I guess I don't know how clean the room's bathroom will be, or how clean the nurses hands will be, or the blankets.

I'm not as worried as it sounds, but just trying to develop a very clear decision for myself and so I'm being really thorough.

So out of curiosity, did they keep pushing her about the eye goop or just back down when she asked if the NICU has something nasty floating around? Good for her!
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#13 of 67 Old 08-05-2009, 12:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by fruitfulmomma View Post
Because I don't have gonorrhea or chlamydia and I won't use medicine without a justification for it.
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Originally Posted by kcparker View Post
It also interferes with their vision, which is pretty fuzzy and near-sighted to begin with. Why put one more barrier between you and your baby during that sensitive bonding time? Plus, it's been shown that if the baby does get an eye infection in the first weeks of life, they can just do antibiotics at the time that there's an actual indication for it, and the outcomes are still very good.

:

 
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#14 of 67 Old 08-05-2009, 12:21 PM
 
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#15 of 67 Old 08-05-2009, 12:23 PM
 
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While I agree that hospitals are more "germy" than many places, I see it as equivelent to putting antibiotic eye ointment in my kids' eyes after a trip to the grocery store or other public place. The L&D floor is not an infectious disease ward, it has mostly very healthy pregnant women in it. The L&D nurses and staff are no more germy than anyone you would encounter in public and will likely not have much contact with a baby that is rooming-in. And why would they be touching the baby's eyes anyway?

ETA: On the off chance your baby does develop some kind of infection, it can be treated very effectively at that time. The idea behind treating for gonorrhea and chlamydia prophylatically is that these diseases can be very serious and cause blindness. Not so for your run-of-the-mill eye infection.

Also, infections became more common when birth moved to the hospital because NO ONE WAS WASHING THEIR HANDS between the morgue and the L&D area. Not because bacteria was "floating around".

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#16 of 67 Old 08-05-2009, 12:47 PM
 
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It's a blanket policy, to cover the lowest common denominator. If they give everyone the gunk, then the extremely small % of babies who would face an infection can be helped, but as someone whose children do not need it, it is grating to me that it is expected that I would medicate my children.

I am also not a fan of using antibiotics widely and routinely, since we all know they lose their effectiveness, and then we are faced with an even larger problem.

Ivory, partner to Tom, mama to Ella (12/9/05), Alice (12/8/07), and our newest addition, Rebecca (4/1/10).
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#17 of 67 Old 08-05-2009, 01:03 PM
 
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I will refuse it because I don't have an STD, and I want my newborn baby to see clearly.

Happily married mom to DS (Aug 09) and two furry troublemakers.

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I don't have STDs, I want my baby to see without looking through a wall of grease, and I don't expect anyone to be sticking their dirty fingers in his/her eyes so I think we'll be fine without it. (I've declined it for all but my 1st baby).

North Idaho rural living  mama to: 23 yo DD, 16 yo DS, 8 yo DS, 6 yo DS, 4 yr old DS, 2 yo DD, and 1 yo DS. And someone new coming this Christmas!
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#19 of 67 Old 08-05-2009, 01:28 PM
 
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I live and will give birth in NY, where the eye ointment is not optional. You cannot refuse it, even based on religious objection (because it is not a vaccination).
http://nyvic.org/nyvic/law/vitamin-k.htm
Refusal of either the eye goop or the Vitamin K will result in the hospital calling Child Protective Services (CPS).
So as much as I would like to skip it... the babe will get it. (I plan to wipe as much of it out of his eyes as I can as soon as I can though!!)

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#20 of 67 Old 08-05-2009, 01:58 PM
 
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Not to be argumentative - but really just asking....

What if your baby isn't in the NICU? Because, yes, I would agree that the Intensive care unit IS probably cleaner because of the situation the patients are in. But what about the regular hospital exposure. Our baby will likely be rooming in and I guess I don't know how clean the room's bathroom will be, or how clean the nurses hands will be, or the blankets.

I'm not as worried as it sounds, but just trying to develop a very clear decision for myself and so I'm being really thorough.

So out of curiosity, did they keep pushing her about the eye goop or just back down when she asked if the NICU has something nasty floating around? Good for her!
Nope. They dropped the subject, and the baby was fine. I do think that this hospital is pretty vigilant about hand hygiene, in the L&D unit, the NICU and the regular mama-baby unit. They have alcohol-based sanitizer bottles on the walls outside the rooms AND inside by the sinks, boxes of gloves that they use anytime there's a chance they might contact body fluids, lots of reminder signs posted, and I do see the staff using the hand sanitizer and washing hands frequently.

I don't know, maybe this is silly of me, but I sort of figure that the world is a dirty place and they will get exposed at some point. If you are worried about hospital cleanliness, wash YOUR hands before touching baby, avoid touching baby's eyes/face if you can, handwash before eating, after using the restroom, remind nurses to wash hands when they come to check you or baby, bring blankets/clothes from home, don't send baby to the nursery, ask your doc. now about the possibility of early discharge (they will let you go after as few as 6 hours from our hospital if you and babe are looking good).

Doula, WOHM, wife to a super-fun papa, mama to the Monkey ('07), and his little brother, the Sea Monkey ('09).
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#21 of 67 Old 08-05-2009, 02:04 PM
 
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ok so I asked my midwife about this, and although I trust her (kind of), I still have my doubts. I may go with my instinct and refuse the drops but here was her opinion.

She said if I was planning on birthing in water then I would want the eye drops in that situation because you don't know what is in the water. UM can STD's live in water? if so what is keeping us all from getting these when we shower? or do you think she was just concerned about bacteria in general? If it is any other type of bacteria they can treat it after the fact? Is that what you mamas are saying? That "preventative" isn't necessary and with the show of a medical infection the treatment is as effective as the preventative would have been?

Sophia ~ 9/21 learning how to be crunchy mama. Uh oh, I just went over the crunch edge! ECing!! Planned ~ maybe next time : :
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#22 of 67 Old 08-05-2009, 02:07 PM
 
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I live and will give birth in NY, where the eye ointment is not optional. You cannot refuse it, even based on religious objection (because it is not a vaccination).
http://nyvic.org/nyvic/law/vitamin-k.htm
Refusal of either the eye goop or the Vitamin K will result in the hospital calling Child Protective Services (CPS).
So as much as I would like to skip it... the babe will get it. (I plan to wipe as much of it out of his eyes as I can as soon as I can though!!)
Ok so what happens when CPS get the phone call? they come storming down there and remove the baby? I am confused, what is the follow through on these threats? And what right is it of the government....oooo now I am angry!

Sophia ~ 9/21 learning how to be crunchy mama. Uh oh, I just went over the crunch edge! ECing!! Planned ~ maybe next time : :
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#23 of 67 Old 08-05-2009, 02:16 PM
 
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I went on a L&D tour and the nurse urged moms to keep baby in the room with you, she encouraged the parents not to let the baby go to the nursery. We were on the subject of avoiding infections. She also noted to keep all cell phones out of the room, they're just germ magnets.
I sanitize my cell phone pretty regularly though, but I thought she made a great point.

Per the erythromycin or whatever each hospital is administering now in the eyes, I find it yet another example of the indiscriminate use of antibiotics that's led to bacterial resistance.
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#24 of 67 Old 08-05-2009, 02:16 PM
 
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She said if I was planning on birthing in water then I would want the eye drops in that situation because you don't know what is in the water.
Huh? What does she THINK is in the water? And would is be safe for you? I mean, what if you get out of the birth tub and have chlamydia?

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If it is any other type of bacteria they can treat it after the fact? Is that what you mamas are saying?
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#25 of 67 Old 08-05-2009, 02:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Spiralshell View Post
I live and will give birth in NY, where the eye ointment is not optional. You cannot refuse it, even based on religious objection (because it is not a vaccination).
http://nyvic.org/nyvic/law/vitamin-k.htm
Refusal of either the eye goop or the Vitamin K will result in the hospital calling Child Protective Services (CPS).
So as much as I would like to skip it... the babe will get it. (I plan to wipe as much of it out of his eyes as I can as soon as I can though!!)
Yeah, and the people who issued the dictum in 1999 were so up on the current research that they were worried about C-H-I-A-M-Y-D-I-A (spelled that way twice). Ch-ch-ch-chia? Your child will grow green sprouts out of its eyes if you don't get this treatment.

I always found it odd that they do an STD screen at the start of the pregnancy, and if you are 'clean' at that point, they should trust you to know your own sexual history well enough to know if you have come in contact with a potential pathogen vector subsequent to that test. Geez, most people don't WANT their kids to go blind from a gonorrhea infection.

I also don't see why you couldn't try for a do a don't ask-don't tell with your HCP - it's not like eye goop police have hidden cameras and will know if baby didn't get dosed. Or, you can decline, come in with a stack of evidence-based support for not doing it, and tell them, "Go ahead and call CPS because I am sure they have nothing better to do with their time. I can show you and them good evidence for not doing this."

Doula, WOHM, wife to a super-fun papa, mama to the Monkey ('07), and his little brother, the Sea Monkey ('09).
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#26 of 67 Old 08-05-2009, 02:38 PM
 
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SugarPop, you may wish to contact Barbara Harper, the founder of the water birth organization www.waterbirth.org

She's so helpful and responsive (try email).
As I recall also, when I listened to a podcast she gave on waterbirth (free on i-tunes) she noted that viruses and bacteria have far less chance of being transferred during a water birth. Although as I recall she doesn't really consider Strept B such a concern anyway (but I may be incorrect).

You may also wish to explain to her where you are birthing in water (home right?), or if you will have a new pool/tub with disposable liners, etc. I don't know if it will make a difference, but maybe just mention anyway.

I do wonder about the permanant hospital tubs though, how they are sanitized. Heck, you figure women are warned about pedicure tubs that are running water, apparently basins/foot baths that you dump out are easier to clean efficiently.

Sorry to get off track but just making a comparison.
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#27 of 67 Old 08-05-2009, 02:50 PM
 
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If there is a concern about the water, I can't imagine it'd be safe to birth in it - wouldn't the bacteria be able to travel into the woman's body after the baby is out and cause infection for her? If the water is that sketchy, I'd just stay out of it altogether.

Lianne (mama of 2 born at home in water, no eye gunk)

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#28 of 67 Old 08-05-2009, 02:53 PM
 
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If there is a concern about the water, I can't imagine it'd be safe to birth in it - wouldn't the bacteria be able to travel into the woman's body after the baby is out and cause infection for her? If the water is that sketchy, I'd just stay out of it altogether.
This. I haven't birthed in water but my 3rd birth was at a hospital with big tubs in the rooms and I was allowed to use the tub throughout labor after AROM, no problems. And my husband was with her in NICU and told them no eye gunk and they were fine with that.
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#29 of 67 Old 08-05-2009, 03:30 PM
 
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My dd2 was born overseas, and there are some different things which are standard. Some things they do automatically that Americans don't, and the reverse as well. The American advocate lady told all of of us to put in the request for the things that Americans typically do, and deny the things that Americans typically don't. That didn't make sense to me, since what if say, a usual vaccine there makes sense because the risk is much higher there, and that's where we are?

So I approached my OB to have a conversation about these things. When I got to the part about the eye gunk, she looked at me like that was a really weird question, and said that I don't have any STDs so why would I give the baby eye gunk. Then she got all serious, and asked me I felt I needed to be tested again. No. Just asking about it because it's standard in the U.S.
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#30 of 67 Old 08-05-2009, 04:07 PM
 
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I would just add that they don't do this routinely in other rich countries. When I moved home to the US and got pregnant for the second time was the first I had ever heard about this.

If mom knows for sure she does not have the relevant diseases, I just don't see any reason this would be recommended, other than as another general "cover your a#$* even if it runs up costs and exposes people to unnecessary intervantions" doctor move.
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