Meconium is the first stool (or first few stools) that a baby passes, which is the waste matter composed of the items that the baby ingested during the time spent in the womb.
It is blackish or greenish and different in nature from regular infant stool.
In about 5 to 20% of all births, the Meconium tends to be expelled before the child is born and is more common when the child is overdue or past the due date, there has been a difficult delivery, fetal distress, or decreased oxygen supply to the baby, if the mother suffers from high blood pressure or gestational diabetes.
When meconium is passed into the amniotic fluid in the mother’s uterus and contaminate it, there is a 5% chance of something called the Meconium aspiration syndrome (or MAS, also known as “Neonatal aspiration of meconium”) happening, which is when the meconium passes into the infant’s lungs.
When meconium contaminated amniotic fluid is inhaled before, during or after birth, there could be problems for the child such as respiratory problems and possibility of developing chemical pneumonia.
Meconium aspiration syndrome is one of the leading causes of severe illness and even death of newborn children.