As a mother-to-be, there must be countless things you could be wondering about the activities that go on in the womb. You can feel your baby’s movements and might have started singing and talking to them. But what about bowel movements? Does your baby, you wonder, answer the calls of nature inside the womb? Are these routine activities, or should you get concerned? Knowing the consequences of it will help you understand how to avoid baby poop in womb.
During pregnancy, the baby growing in the womb receives oxygen and nutrients and gets rid of waste products. The placenta performs these crucial functions. It connects to the umbilical cord, and these two organs ensure that your baby’s nutritional needs are taken care of and that no waste products are left behind.
While most babies will not poop before they are born, a small percentage (less than 20%) may do so while they’re in the uterus. Others may poop during delivery or soon after birth. As an expectant mother, you might wonder about the consequences of baby poop in the womb. Read on to discover what this rare occurrence portends and how to avoid baby poop in the womb.
Why Your Baby May Poop In the Womb
Rare as baby poop in the womb is, some factors make it inevitable. In medical terms, the baby’s first poop is known as meconium and comes out as a sticky thick substance that’s either dark green or black. In normal circumstances, babies will release meconium on their first day out of the womb, but some of the following complications could make them expel it earlier.
The leading cause for early discharge of meconium is stress. The unborn baby exposed to stressful circumstances is likely to have a bowel movement while still in the womb. That’s why a sizable number of the cases reported for early meconium discharge happen to mothers who go through traumatizing labor pain. The baby will also be stressed out when the pregnancy goes way beyond the due date. That’s why it’s uncommon to find this problem with preterm babies.
Complications in the Placenta and Umbilical Cord
As noted earlier, the unborn baby receives oxygen and nutrients via the umbilical cord and discharges waste via the placenta. Any complications in these vital organs could lead to an unexpected early discharge of meconium.
Maternal Health Issues
The mother’s health is closely tied to that of the unborn baby, and should the former be experiencing health complications, these will be transferred to the latter. It’s therefore common to find poop in the wombs of mothers who have health complications such as diabetes and hypertension, among other health conditions. If you’re wondering how to avoid baby poop in the womb, perhaps you should be aware that some lifestyles should be avoided during pregnancy, such as smoking and lack of exercise.
Should You Be Worried About Baby Poop in Womb?
What does baby poop in the womb portend, and, as an expectant mother, do you have reasons to worry about it? Before you get alarmed about the consequences of meconium in the womb, it’s important to clarify that, despite its appearance, meconium is mainly composed of water and that it’s unlikely to infect the uterus. However, this substance could prove harmful to the baby as it could lead to a condition known as meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS).
What Is MAS and How Does It Develop?
When the baby poops in the womb, there are chances that the poop will mix with amniotic fluid (the fluid that forms a ring around the unborn baby). Should this happen, the baby could inhale this mixture, which could lead to health complications for the baby.
While most of the problems associated with MAS are mild and treatable, the condition can prove life-threatening in extreme circumstances. MAS could obstruct the baby’s airway leading to breathing problems. When left untreated, MAS could cause pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.
While the effects of MAS vary from mild to the extreme, the good news is that the condition never needs to be life-threatening as it’s easy to diagnose. At the health facility where you’ll be delivering your baby, the medical personnel have been trained to identify symptoms of MAS and will readily offer a solution.
There are many symptoms of MAS, including the following:
- The baby’s skin might appear with a tint of blue (known as cyanosis) which is an indicator of low blood-oxygen
- The baby could have trouble breathing
- The baby’s heart rate could be slow
- The baby’s body might appear limp
- The baby’s skin could be stained with meconium
When MAS is evidenced by difficulty in breathing (or complete lack of it), your doctor will take urgent action to remove meconium from the baby’s airway. Doctors do this by suctioning the baby’s mouth, nose and throat. Additionally, the doctor might suction the meconium from the baby’s windpipe using a tube. This suctioning needs to be thorough to ensure that no trace of meconium is left in the windpipe.
Should the doctor succeed in removing all meconium but still notice that the baby has trouble breathing, they could consider putting the little one on a ventilator. Since MAS is also likely to lead to other complications, the doctor could use antibiotics to prevent infections. It’s highly recommended that the newborn is placed in special care until their breathing and body temperature are back to normal.
If you’re still concerned about how to avoid baby poop in womb, remember that this is a rare occurrence that should not be a cause for alarm. It’s also important to remember that the presence of meconium does not necessarily lead to MAS. Even if the presence of poop in the womb leads to MAS, it’s comforting to note that this condition is treatable. Early diagnosis and immediate treatment are the keys to fighting MAS, and you could avoid complications by seeing your doctor as soon as you notice any signs of MAS.
I’m Cathrine and I’m a 39-year-old mother of 3 from Utica, New York. And I’m extremely happy you’ve come to visit my hide-out on the web. Here I post about everything related to family-life and usually it will involve babies and lessons I’ve learned over the years from experts, friends, and my own mistakes. So hopefully you will find what i write fun and informational!