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7Meconium

This is really the very first sign that your newborn’s digestive system is up and running in a proper fashion. It’s a tar like substance that is greenish black and is made up of bodily materials like mucus, bile and amniotic fluid.

Normally passed within a few hours to a day

or two after birth, it is what you will see in the diaper before your newborn has started on her diet of breast milk or formula.

It’s pretty straightforward, this first poop - but there is a complication that happens in 10% of births, usually to babies born at term or postterm. And that is called meconium aspiration. Basically, it is when the meconium is excreted while the baby is still in the womb. 

Meconium is what's usually referred to as your baby's first bowel movement

When this happens, the meconium mixes with the amniotic fluid and baby accidentally inhales the mixture. It can happen before or during labour and the issue is that your baby’s tiny airways can be blocked, causing breathing difficulties. The exchange of oxygen and carbon monoxide are prevented, thus causing breathing distress.

Some babies can experience immediate distress during delivery, while others may start to show trouble with breathing after a few hours. Infection can cause pneumonia, too. The aspirated meconium may be removed as simply as suctioning the upper airways, but some babies will need a mechanical ventilator to help them breathe for a time.

If your doctor suspects meconium has been excreted before delivery, a procedure called an amnioinfusion can be done, whereby sterile fluid is infused through a tube into the vagina to dilute the meconium.

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