All pregnancies follow one another, but they are not alike. After a period of 9 months where you have surely endured the most difficult vagaries of your pregnancy, you are at term. You hold your baby in your arms. Except that everything is not always rosy. Especially when it comes to baby stools.

The baby\’s first stool is called meconium.

What is meconium?

Typically expelled after birth when the infant is fed, meconium is dark green fecal matter that is produced in the intestine before the baby is born. Sometimes it is expelled into the amniotic fluid before or during childbirth. The first days after the birth of the baby, when he relieves himself, it is the meconium that comes out. It is around the third or fifth day that we observe a change in the infant\’s stools. They then become yellow and grainy.

The expulsion of meconium is a normal phenomenon in a full-term fetus, which is not the case in a premature baby. The expulsion of meconium in a premature baby most often means that the latter has developed an in-utero infection.

Furthermore, it should be noted that in a term or post-term fetus, meconium is sometimes expelled following stress caused by an infection or an inadequate level of oxygen in the blood.

Because of this stress, the fetus may inhale amniotic fluid containing meconium. This is meconium aspiration syndrome.

Meconium aspiration syndrome

Meconium aspiration syndrome occurs when stress (such as infection or low oxygen levels) causes the fetus to take forced breaths so that amniotic fluid containing meconium is inhaled and deposited in the lungs. After birth, aspirated meconium can obstruct the airways and cause parts of the lungs to collapse. Sometimes the airway is only partially blocked and air can be breathed into parts of the lung downstream of the blockage but become trapped inside. The affected lung may be overdistended.

When part of the lung continues to be excessively distended, it can rupture and lead to lung collapse. Air can therefore accumulate in the rib cage around the lung (pneumothorax).

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