Significance of meconium during labor.
Continuous fetal heart rate (FHR) monitoring and routine fetal scalp blood sampling was utilized in the evaluations of 366 fetuses during labor. One hundred and six patients had meconium in the amniotic fluid at some time during labor. A total of 26,110 uterine contractions were monitored during these 366 labors. The incidence of FHR patterns as a percentage of uterine contractions was calculated for the meconium and nonmeconium groups. Although there was a 3 1/2-fold increase in the incidence of low five-minute Apgar scores (less than 7) in the meconium group, signs of fetal distress were, with rare esception, not significantly different from those in the nonmeconium group. The presence of meconium in the amniotic fluid without signs of fetal asphyxia (late decelerations and acidosis) is not a sign of fetal distress and need not be an indication for active intervention. The combination of fetal asphyxia and meconium staining of the amniotic fluid, however, does enhance the potential for meconium aspiration and a poor neonatal outcome. Universal fetal heart rate monitoring and appropriate fetal acid-base evaluation is recommended for following patients with meconium in the amniotic fluid during labor.
Published In/Presented At
Miller FC, Sacks DA, Yeh SY, Paul RH, Schifrin BS, Martin CB Jr, Hon EH. Significance of meconium during labor. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1975 Jul 1;122(5):573-80. doi: 10.1016/0002-9378(75)90052-6. PMID: 238396.
Medicine and Health Sciences
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology