Survey of Umbilical Cord care and Separation time in Healthy Newborns in Kano
Background: The interval between delivery and umbilical cord separation varies worldwide. Some maternal, foetal and perinatal factors including
cord care practices are known to affect this interval. Objectives: To establish the mean umbilical cord separation time and the effect of maternal and infant characteristics, perinatal factors and cord care practices on this time among healthy babies in northern Nigeria. Methods : An interviewer questionnaire was administered on mothers of healthy babies at Child Welfare Clinics of a tertiary and secondary level hospital in Kano.
In each case, information was obtained about mother's parity, place of antenatal care and delivery, gestational age, birth weight, time of umbilical cord separation after birth and cord treatment practices. Results: Five hundred and seventy seven (96.2 percent) of 600 mothers interviewed, took part in the study, four of these mothers had twin gestation. Responses showed that cord separation time ranged from 2 -14 days (4.20 1.70)Three hundred and forty nine (60.9. percent ) mothers applied methylated spirit, 145 (25.3 percent) used hot compress, while
50 (8.7 percent) applied toothpaste on the cord. Twenty (3.5 percent)
others applied herbs, while nine (1.6 percent) applied dusting powder to the umbilical stump. Cord s epa r a t ion t ime wa s significantly shorter among babies whose mothers were of high parity, unbooked, and of low educational status. In addition, the use of razor blade, thread, hot compress or application of herbal preparations or toothpas te s igni f icant ly shortened the separation time (P<0.05). Conclusions: Cord separation time and cord care practices varied. Nigerian mothers often use unorthodox interventions to shorten cord separation time; however, the
risk of omphalitis that may result from this is real. We recommend
that each centre should adopt and teach mothers a standard hygienic
cord care practice while discouraging the use of herbs and untested materials.
Keywords: Umbilical cord, Separation time, Cord care, Kano