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Greenish-black, sticky excretion from the neonatal bowel. Produced from the second trimester (12-16 weeks) until birth.
Meconium is usually passed within 24 hours of birth. May however be passed in utero, usually in response to fetal distress during labour. Meconium aspiration syndrome is a chemical pneumonitis which may be superimposed on any hypoxic/ischaemic insult suffered during labour. Direct tracheal suction at birth may be useful in certain situations where meconium is present but is not routinely advised. Amnioinfusion has also been suggested as a preventative measure.
Delayed passage of meconium can be a sign of bowel dysfunction, specifically Hirschsprung disease or cystic fibrosis. Approximately 80% of normal term neonates pass meconium within 24 hours, about 95% within 48 hours.
Subacute bowel obstruction in cystic fibrosis was previously called meconium ileus equivalent but is more appropriately called distal intestinal obstruction syndrome as it typically occurs much later, by which time meconium has already been passed.
- ↑ Vain NE, Szyld EG, Prudent LM, Wiswell TE, Aguilar AM, Vivas NI. Oropharyngeal and nasopharyngeal suctioning of meconium-stained neonates before delivery of their shoulders: multicentre, randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2004 Aug 14-20; 364(9434):597-602.(Link to article – subscription may be required.)
- ↑ Hofmeyr GJ. WITHDRAWN: Amnioinfusion for meconium-stained liquor in labour. Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online). 2009; (1):CD000014.(Epub) (Link to article – subscription may be required.)
- ↑ Tybulewicz AT, Clegg SK, Fonfé GJ, Stenson BJ. Preterm meconium staining of the amniotic fluid: associated findings and risk of adverse clinical outcome. Archives of disease in childhood. Fetal and neonatal edition. 2004 Jul; 89(4):F328-30.(Link to article – subscription may be required.)