People had guessed for a long time that something should be done with cows during childbirth. Ancient Egyptian funeral figurine from the Middle Kingdom.
People often come to us with unusual and difficult tasks. At this point, we make a smart face and diligently use all the rich experience of our polymer chemists to solve the problem. Our main tasks relate to certain cosmetic products. Here we are working on ways to optimize the delivery of various molecules through the skin, developing chemical protection against free radical damage by ultraviolet light and stabilizing complex plant extracts. Difficult, but already familiar and commonplace.
And here they came to us with the task of making a lubricant for cows. This was after the development of the gel for more effective breeding of pigs, so that we were mentally prepared to immerse ourselves in the exciting world of veterinary medicine. Today I will talk about how cows give birth, why a lubricant is needed and how much gel is spent on one cow.
Ultrasound gels and lubricants
We learned quite by accident that some people are very active in buying our Mediagel for ultrasound, although they do not have an ultrasound machine at home. It’s hard for me to say why people need five liters of lubricant, but why not, if they really need it. In fact, intimate lubricants do not fundamentally differ in composition from a typical ultrasound gel. Both must be completely safe for humans, have a neutral pH, stable texture and slide comfortably.
Another thing is that for an ultrasound gel it is more important to provide an airless layer for the uniformity of the acoustic wave propagation. If acoustic irregularities such as an air gap between the sensor and the skin appear on the path of wave propagation, then the main part of the sound wave will be reflected from the interface. With this and helps to fight Mediagel. As a bonus, it gains antifriction properties that allow it to function as a biologically neutral water-based lubricant.
Intimate lubricants globally do not differ in composition. Typically, medium viscosity carboxymethyl cellulose or similar compounds give them antifriction properties. An alternative option is to use carbomers, like ours. They are acrylic acid based compounds that act as a thickener. You often see them, for example, in toothpaste. This group of substances is very well studied and completely safe. Add water, glycerin and the lubricant is ready. A small difference between highly specialized lubricants lies in additional additives such as aloe extract, dexpanthenol and other substances aimed at tissue regeneration after microtrauma.
So we have not certified our Mediagel exactly as an intimate lubricant, but it most likely should not cause any problems even with this application. The main thing here is just to make sure that your partner will be happy when you get a five-liter canister from under the bed with a mysterious look.
Why you need lubricants for childbirth
Actually, when the task of developing a tool specialized specifically for giving birth to cows came, we already had a basic version on hand, which needed to be finalized in accordance with the customer’s requirements. The safety requirements for products for animals are lower, but we still use all the same highly purified components as for humans.
The main task of this kind of lubricants is to help the veterinarian gently and non-traumatically examine and deeply palpate the fetus, and then facilitate the labor process. When a cow prepares for the beginning of childbirth, she begins to behave in a specific way: to bellow, bend over, looking at her belly, and seek solitude. The veterinarian should wash the genitals, croup and tail with warm water, then apply a sufficient amount of lubricant to the hands and conduct an examination. As in humans, the calf can be poorly located in the birth canal, which increases the risk of difficult labor, death of the calf or the cow itself.
Lubrication also helps with the birth process itself. Nature has done a pretty good job of natural selection, thanks to which childbirth is most often quite comfortable on its own. The vaginal mucosa is maximally moisturized with natural biological polymers that work as a lubricant. But with the use of additional lubricant, you can significantly reduce the risks of trauma to the birth canal and facilitate childbirth.
Here the question usually immediately pops up: is it possible to use lubricants in the same way in humans? Yes, you can, such techniques are used at the discretion of the obstetrician. Although, due to our narrow closed pelvis due to upright posture, they do not give such bonuses. Research shows that there is a statistically significant difference in trauma caused by lubricated and non-lubricated childbirth. absent… Also lubricants do not cut time second stage of labor in humans.
Cow’s pelvic bones. Kostyuk BK Atlas of the anatomy of svijskih creatures. Osteology.
Cows have a different pelvis structure, like most tetrapods. Please note that they have an open pelvic ring, they do not have a pubic symphysis and a full ring, as in bipedal people. As a result, during childbirth, the pelvic bones are much more mobile, which makes it easier for the fetus to move through the birth canal. Microtrauma depends primarily on the elasticity of the vagina, and not on the ratio of the size of the fetal head and the woman’s pelvis, as in humans. That is why in veterinary medicine lubricants for obstetrics are used much more often than in obstetric practice in humans.
How much gel is needed per cow
With the word “lubricant” for a cow, everyone somehow immediately imagines a large bucket, but in fact, during the normal course of labor, the veterinarian usually spends no more than 100-200 milliliters of gel. If childbirth is difficult and the veterinarian is forced to use special instruments, forceps, then you will have to spend an additional 20-40 milliliters for each manipulation so that the animal is comfortable.
Gels have been used in Russia for 10-15 years. Now more and more farms are beginning to use them for obstetrics instead of soap solutions, various oils, paraffins and petroleum jelly. Hydrophilic gels give better glide, do not dry mucous membranes and work longer. They also promote wound healing.
Why bother at all?
If we are talking about calves, then, as a rule, this is a separate genetic fund, which is very important for an agricultural enterprise. And even a minimal risk reduction, for example, in case of complex birth of twins, is millions of rubles in savings. Plus, the treatment of postpartum complications in a breeding cow is also very expensive. And this is solved with just a dose of 30-60 rubles of gel for one delivery.