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What Happens If Baby Poops In The Womb Before Labor?

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When you're pregnant, you probably spend a good amount of time imagining what's happening inside your baby bump. You feel your baby moving and imagine her listening as you talk to her about what's going on in the world outside your uterus. But there are some things that may not spring to mind when you're envisioning your little one growing inside you. For instance, bowel movements may not be what moms-to-be are thinking about when daydreaming about their growing baby, even though it's actually a thing. So what happens if baby poops in the womb before labor? It could mean more than one thing.

You might first be wondering why a baby would need to poop before delivery, and although its doesn't happen to every baby, certain circumstances make it more likely. According to Fit Pregnancy, having a bowel movement in the womb is a pretty common event when babies are past their due date or under certain stressful circumstances. The substance the baby passes is called meconium and is made of almost completely water. As long as baby doesn't inhale any of the meconium, all is well, but problems can arise when baby breaths it in.

As Kids Health, a website from Nemours explained, only a small percentage of babies who poop in the womb end up with more serious conditions that result from having the meconium reach the lungs. Most commonly, newborns experience meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS), which means the baby has breathed in meconium via the amniotic fluid in the womb, as the website for Healthline explained. Most of the time MAS poses no threat to the baby, but there is a chance of complications.

According to the website for Medline Plus, from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the baby will show signs of MAS at birth, which include limpness, trouble breathing, not breathing, and bluish tint to the skin. By administering antibiotics and monitoring the baby, meconium aspiration syndrome can be treated immediately after delivery.

No parent wants to think about bad or scary things happening to their child during birth, and although MAS is a potential threat, it's important to remember not all babies who poop in the womb breath the meconium in. And out of those who do, even fewer end up with meconium aspiration syndrome.