Sometimes it is possible for the baby, before delivery, to swallow meconium (the newborn’s first poop). We explain if it is possible to prevent it and how.

The meconium is basically the first caquita that makes the newborn. It is made up of amniotic fluid, bile, mucus, water, scaly cells (both from the intestinal tract and the skin itself), and lanugo, which consists of the very fine hair that covers the baby’s body and protects it. It also contains dead cells and secretions precisely from both the stomach and the liver.

It is a generally viscous and thick substance, which in appearance has a color that ranges from dark green to black. It begins to form during the fetal period, and they are considered the first stools of the baby.

Usually, in most cases, the newborn expels the meconium after delivery, shortly afterwards. In fact, it can take up to 48 hours to be expelled by the baby after birth. But did you know that it is also possible that it is expelled inside the uterus?

This can cause what is medically known as meconium aspiration syndrome or neonatal meconium aspiration. And it is that, sometimes, it can happen that the future mother at the time of breaking waters observes the presence of meconium in the amniotic fluid.

As many gynecologists state, this is a symptom that reveals that the baby has difficulties before delivery, since sometimes in response to fetal distress, the body expels amniotic fluid either before birth or during delivery itself, which causes intestinal contractions and the relaxation of the anal sphincter that makes it easier for the meconium to finally contaminate the amniotic fluid.

Precisely, a clear symptom that the amniotic fluid has been contaminated with meconium is when it turns greenish, when it normally appears clear.

What is Meconium Aspiration Syndrome?

It occurs when the baby, who has not yet been born, swallows its first poop as a result of the delivery being delayed and has finally expelled it inside the uterus.

It is a dangerous syndrome that causes inflammation of the lungs. This inflammation will eventually lead to  respiratory distress(also known as respiratory distress), which may increase the risk of chemical aspiration pneumonia, brain damage due to lack of oxygen, respiratory distress (lasting several days), lung atelectasis, and persistent pulmonary hypertension.

As we can see, it consists of a form of acute respiratory distress that is produced by the aspiration of liquid stained by meconium.

Is it possible to prevent the baby from swallowing meconium?

Believe it or not, meconium aspiration syndrome is actually difficult to prevent. Why? Mainly because when labor is delayed and I know what is medically considered the probable date of delivery, the baby is more likely to pass his first stools before the moment of birth.

However, although it cannot be prevented directly, it is possible to reduce the risk. How? Making sure that the baby is born before the 42nd week of gestation.

After the baby passes meconium, his stools will start to be more solid, and will be the usual yellow color. But if the baby does not have their bowel movements normally after those 48 hours, it is very important to urgently go to the pediatrician for a personalized assessment.

There are some risk factors that can cause the baby to pass meconium before birth. For example, it is more common in out-of-date births, in the case of hypertension in the mother, pre-eclampsia or placental insufficiency.


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