Use of mineral oil, lubricant, olive oil, Johnson & Johnson, Betadine, or Hibaclens is surprisingly common in many hospitals, often with the excuse of ‘cleaning’ or ‘lubricating’ the woman externally or internally.
Medical care providers use a variety of the following reasons for using a soap or lubricant during labor, including:
- As a lubricant to aid baby’s journey down the birth canal.
- As a way of keeping the area clean during labor.
During birth, the baby is surrounded by amniotic fluid, mucus and blood. Approaching birth, estrogen levels also rise, increasing the amount of secretions a woman experiences. Unfortunately, in a managed birth where the spontaneous labor process is being inhibited, stopping the usual release of hormones, lubrication may be an option a medical professional considers.
A Cochrane Collaboration review of 8 randomised trials relating to Perineal techniques during the second stage of labour for reducing perineal trauma released in 2012 found that there was no significant evidence that massage, lubrication and other interventions significantly lowered the rate of episiotomies or tearing. However, hot compresses were found to reduce the risk of perineal trauma.1 | 2