Eye medication is the norm for babies born in hospitals, although many home birthed babies also receive eye medication. Is...
Eye medication is the norm for babies born in hospitals, although many home birthed babies also receive eye medication. Is this a necessary procedure or not? What is this eye medication?: Eye medication is an antibiotic (most of the time erythromycin or tetracycline) that is dropped into your baby's eyes soon after he's born. Most of the time the drops are given within the first hour of your baby's life. The purpose of these drops is to prevent a possible infection in your baby’s eyes that he may have picked up during his trip down the birth canal. For example, if you, the mama is infected with chlamydia, and your baby picks that up during the birth process, he could end up blind, and the drops are meant to protect him from this. According to the Mayo Clinic, "In the early 20th century, the leading cause of blindness in babies was gonorrhea." Once eye drops become the norm, this statistic changed for the better. In the past Silver Nitrate was used for eye drops but it burned babies eyes so now non-burning antibiotics are used instead. Does your baby have to have these drops?: It depends. Some states mandate that all babies born in a hospital have them. Some states mandate time frames as well; such as, "Baby must have drops within one hour of birth." You can call your local public health department to find out about the laws surrounding eye medication for your state. Don't just ask your hospital staff because they have their own policies and may say, "OH it's law that we give them" when really it's the hospital's law, not the state's. If antibiotic eye drops are mandated by state law, you may not be able to refuse without a lot of trouble. In some cases, Child Protective Services have been called on (by hospital staff) if parents refuse. In other cases parents have been able to successfully waive the drops by signing a hospital waiver. If you're having a home birth, discuss this with your midwife or other health care provider to see how they handle eye drops. Do the drops hurt?: We can't totally know, because newborns can't talk. There's no current research that says that the newer antibiotic drops hurt though. Although, they can blur your baby's vision temporarily. Are the drops necessary? It depends. Even if you were tested for STDs during your first trimester, public health officials and many health care providers think "between the tests and the birth you could have contracted an STD." Basically these are a precaution and they do save some babies vision. If you were never tested for STDs during your pregnancy then you should have the drops given to your baby. IF you're positive you don't have an STD or infection the drops may be overkill. Many parents don't like the drops because they blur your baby's vision which many feel can disrupt the bonding process. If this is your only concern about the drops, you can ask that the drops be given later - an hour after birth, instead of right away so that bonding can start without being hindered by the drops. Talk to your health care provider about these drops well before your baby is due. Make sure you understand the risks involved (both in allowing and not allowing the drops) and the hospital's policy about the drops.

Tags: eye drops for newborns eye medication eye medication for baby newborn eye drops


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