Chapter 5: Preventing infection
Clean or sterilize the bedding
Wash cloth for covering the bed (bedding) in
soap and water, and dry it thoroughly by
hanging it in the sun or ironing it. Do not dry
bedding on the ground; it will pick up germs.
In a hospital, maternity center, or clinic
Bedding must be sterilized after each birth. Use one of these methods to kill
• Wash the bedding with soap
or • Wash bedding with soap
and water. Then boil for 30
and water. Then use a hot
minutes. Dry thoroughly in a
iron to dry it.
If neither of these methods is possible, wash the bedding in soap and water and
hang it in the sun until it is fully dried. Turn the bedding so the sun shines on
both sides, and take care to keep it clean.
Store bedding to keep germs away
If you are not going to use the bedding right away, keep it clean and dry until you
are ready to use it. Put it in a clean bag or wrap it in clean paper and store it in a
clean, dry place.
Note: Do not store bedding that is damp or wet. Germs will come back!
Other kinds of underpadding
Sometimes there is no bed or bedding. The birth or procedure happens on the
floor. In these cases, it is useful to have some kind of underpadding. This protects
the baby and the mother from the germs and dirt that
are on the floor. Find a way to clean the
underpadding before it is used. For example,
banana leaves can be washed with a
disinfectant solution, and then smoked or
dried in the sun. Cloth rags or sacks can be
boiled and then dried.
A Book for Midwives (2010)