One of the questions my birth buddies asked is "What do the dais do if there is meconium staining?"
One Jeeva researcher mentioned that dais often don't even see the blotch of meconium because they often accompany women in huts, where there is not much light.
What is Meconium?
Meconium is a mixture of mostly water (70-80%)and a number of other things like amniotic fluid, intestinal epithelial cells, lanugo, etc.
It is the earliest stool of an infant.
Approximately 15-20% of babies are born with meconium stained liquor.
- Most babies who are born in a poor condition do not have meconium stained liquor.
- Most babies with meconium stained liquor are born in good condition.
When meconium is noticed in amniotic fluid during labour, it often initiates a cascade of intervention.
A CTG machine will often be strapped onto the woman reducing her ability to move, labour in water, and increasing her chance of having a c-section or instrumental delivery.
Time limits for labour may be tightened, and could lead to induction or augmentation, which increases the chance of fetal distress and for first time mothers, c-section.
As the baby is being born it may be subjected to airway suctioning which can cause a vagal response (heart rate deceleration) and difficulties with breastfeeding. Once born, the baby is likely to have its umbilical cord cut prematurely and be given to a paediatrician who may also suction the baby’s airways.
In the first 24 hours after birth the baby will be disturbed regularly to have its body temperature, breathing and heart rate assessed. In some hospitals the baby will be taken away from the mother to be observed in a nursery.
This is a lot of fuss for a bit of poo which in the vast majority of cases is not a problem. Indeed many of the interventions implemented because of the meconium are more likely to cause complications than the meconium itself.