Meconium stained liquor in labour and mode of delivery: a time for reappraisal

Sharda Patra, Shruthi S. S., Manju Puri, Sushma Nangia, S. S. Trivedi


Background: The objective of this study was to determine the significance of meconium staining of the amniotic fluid and find out an appropriate mode of delivery in women with MSL.

Methods: A retrospective study was carried out in Lady Hardinge Medical College and Smt Sucheta Kriplani Hospital, a tertiary government hospital, New Delhi over a time period of 1 year between 2009 to 2010 on 1425 consecutive women of which 142 women were diagnosed as having meconium staining of the amniotic fluid during labour.  All cases were critically analysed and maternal and fetal outcomes were studied in these women.

Results: The incidence of MSL was 10% (142/1425), 45% had thin MSL and 55% had thick MSL. In women with thick MSL, 85% had early thick MSL and 15% had late thick MSL. In women who had early thick MSL (n=66), 55 (83.3%) delivered by LSCS and 11 (16.7%) delivered vaginally. On correlating the perinatal outcome with mode of delivery irrespective of fetal heart rate abnormality in early thick MSL, it was seen that the perinatal outcome was significantly affected by mode of delivery. The rates of respiratory distress and MAS was significantly higher in babies who delivered vaginally compared to those by LSCS (18% & 100% vs 9% & 40%, p=0.012, RR- 5.2 [95% CI: 1.8-3.42]. There were no perinatal mortality in early thick MSL.

Conclusions: In distinguishing between thick and thin meconium, it was noted that finding of thick meconium in the latent phase of labour (i.e. early thick MSL) is ominous and demands an urgent caesarean delivery.



Labour, Meconium stained liquor, Perinatal outcome

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