Meconium is a thick, greenish black substance that forms in the
intestines of an unborn child (fetus). As the fetus swallows and digests the
fluid (amniotic fluid) inside the womb, it produces meconium.
Meconium in the amniotic fluid may be a sign that the newborn
experienced stress before birth. If meconium gets into the baby's lungs, it can
cause irritation and inflammation of the lungs.
When the baby is born, meconium is the first stool the baby passes.
Most newborns pass the meconium within 48 hours after birth.
If your baby doesn't pass his or her first stool within the usual time frame, it may be a sign of a blocked intestine or another problem. Your baby may need treatment to remove the stool from the body.
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Susanna McColley, MD - Pediatric Pulmonology
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.