Skip to Content
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.
Current as of:
November 20, 2015
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Susanna McColley, MD - Pediatric Pulmonology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
© Copyright 2017 Rush Copley Medical Center • 2000 Ogden Avenue; Aurora, IL 60504
Main: 630-978-6200 • Physician Referral & Information: 630-978-6700 or 866-4COPLEY (866-426-7539)