Do Babies Poop in the Womb?

The passing out of a sticky, dark colored substance in the diaper of a newborn baby a few hours after birth is an event that parents await very anxiously. You might find it strange but the first poop of a baby or meconium is in fact a rejoicing moment for parents, as it is an indication that the digestive system of the body is functioning properly. It is a known fact that meconium is composed of nutrients that the baby has ingested within utero, but is meconium the very first poop that the baby produces?

Do Babies Poop in the Womb?

The answer is that they are not supposed to but there are instances in which they can.

Mostly, the answer is no, because passing of the meconium in the intestines of the unborn babies is not supposed to happen until they are born. However, it is not that rare for babies to poop in the womb. According to studies, approximately 12% of fetuses aren't able to hold the meconium in until delivery. Such babies will have MSAF—meconium-stained amniotic fluid, usually greenish or yellowish, present in the bile of waste. It can be concerning for the chances that meconium enters the airways of the fetus, thus causing a respiratory condition called meconium aspiration syndrome or MAS. Although the syndrome can result in fetal death if it is prolonged in pregnancies that last more than 42 weeks, the fetal death rate is on the decline in developed nations because of the emergence of advanced medical treatments.

Do babies poop in the womb? Here is a video showing visual information about the baby poop:

Meconium Aspiration Syndrome

As mentioned above in answering the question: do babies poop in the womb, this syndrome should be monitored in pregnancy and delivery process.

1. What Is Meconium Aspiration Syndrome?

This refers to a condition that a baby ingests a little quantity of meconium while it still in utero or during delivery. The ingestion of small quantities of meconium either into lungs or through mouths in utero runs the risk of contracting MAS for babies. This condition can be a potential health risk for the baby but mostly doesn't cause any serious complications.

2. Why Does Meconium Aspiration Syndrome Occur?

It is not uncommon for babies to pass meconium into the womb which can result in a meconium stained amniotic fluid. Decreased oxygen in the womb, hard or long delivery process and health conditions the mother is suffering can contribute to the meconium aspiration syndrome. Such conditions can include pre-eclampsia, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Mothers with meconium traces in the amniotic fluid should be monitored very closely, which helps to take effective measures timely if the meconium aspiration syndrome occurs.

3. How to Deal With Meconium Aspiration Syndrome

Do babies poop in the womb? As the answered explained, certain babies will poop in the womb, which may lead to meconium aspiration syndrome. If meconium traces are found in the amniotic fluid then it is best to have a special care team present at the time of delivery. There is no treatment required if the newborn cries and shows activity.

If the baby doesn't cry or shows little activity after being born, the nurse or doctor will place a tube in the airway of the infant. The traces of meconium can be removed with suction. If needed, the procedure can be repeated.

If the heart rate of the baby is very low or the baby is not breathing properly, the team will place a face mask on the baby to help with breathing. This face mask is connected to a bag that provides an oxygen mixture to inflate the lungs of the baby.

To closely monitor the condition of the baby, it can be placed in the newborn intensive care unit or the special care nursery. Other treatments that can be given are:

  • Antibiotics for treating infection
  • Ventilator (breathing machine) for continuously inflating the lungs of the baby
  • Keeping the blood levels normal by supplying oxygen
  • Maintaining the temperature of the body through radiant warmers

What to Expect for the First Bowl Movement of Newborn

Aside from the issues about the question: do babies poop in the womb? You will need to know how to deal with the first bowl movement of your little new family member. The first stool of newborn is a tar-like and black colored substance, and the smell of the first stool passed by the baby isn't that foul because the meconium is sterile. However, the odorless poop of the baby isn't something to brag about because the colonization of bacteria starts immediately after the first feed. The poop of the baby remains non stinky until the bacterial colonization in the intestines begins.

When Should You Be Concerned?

The white and red color of baby stools should be concerned. White stools which resemble the color of clay are an indication of serious liver disease. Red stools indicate presence of blood in the baby's stool. Although this blood might have come from the bleeding nipples of the mother or had been swallowed at birth, the wise thing would be to consult a doctor and get the baby checked out.

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