Information for the public
Meconium is the baby's poo, and is sometimes found in the amniotic fluid ('waters') during labour. If the fluid contains thick meconium or lumps, your midwife will advise that you are transferred to an obstetric unit for the birth if you are not already there. This is so that your baby's heartbeat and your contractions can be monitored continuously using electronic monitoring and doctors are on hand to help if needed.
If there has been thick or lumpy meconium during labour, your baby's heartbeat, breathing and colour will be checked carefully straight after the birth. If these are not normal, your baby's airways will be looked at and cleared out using suction. Even if your baby's heartbeat, breathing and colour are normal, she or he will be observed by a healthcare professional every 2 hours for 12 hours after the birth.
If there has been light meconium (not thick or lumpy), your baby should be checked 1 and 2 hours after birth.
Your baby may be assessed by a neonatologist if checks suggest any concerns. You should be told what is happening.
You should be advised about what to look out for and who to contact if you have any worries after the midwife has left if you have had a home birth, or after you and your baby have gone home from a birth unit.