What is meconium-stained liquor and how could it have harmed my baby?
Meconium-stained liquor is where the baby has their bowels opened while inside the womb. This can occur if the baby has become distressed at any point; it is also seen when the baby is past its due date and can be present for just this reason. However, this cannot be confirmed for certain therefore, continuous monitoring may have been recommended. If the meconium is described as light/thinly stained meconium liquor; it is normally a pale green colour. Midwives and doctors may not be too concerned by this as it doesn’t usually cause any problems for the baby. However, if the meconium is a dark green/black and thick and lumpy, the baby may swallow it and retain lumps of meconium in their mouth. When the baby is born and takes their first breath, the meconium can be inhaled and, because it is so thick and sticky, can become lodged in the baby’s lungs. This blocks the baby’s airway and can potentially cause problems with breathing, including an increased risk of chest infection and lung damage. Where there is thick meconium stained liquor, a paediatrician (baby doctor) or senior midwife/nurse who is trained to resuscitate babies will carefully look into the baby’s mouth and throat and remove as much meconium as possible to prevent it being inhaled. This is done using a small suction tube. Wherever possible, the paediatrician/midwife/nurse will try to do this before the baby takes their first breath, so parents may not have the chance to have immediate skin-to- skin contact, or a cuddle with their baby until this has been done.