ACOG Committee Opinion: Delivery of a Newborn With Meconium-Stained Amniotic Fluid

Abstract: In 2006, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association published the 2005 guidelines on neonatal resuscitation. Before the 2005 guidelines, management of a newborn with meconium-stained amniotic fluid included suctioning of the oropharynx and nasopharynx on the perineum after the delivery of the head but before the delivery of the shoulders. The 2005 guidelines did not support this practice because routine intrapartum suctioning does not prevent or alter the course of meconium aspiration syndrome in vigorous newborns. However, the 2005 guidelines did support intubation of the trachea and suctioning of meconium or other aspirated material from beneath the glottis in nonvigorous newborns. In 2015, the guidelines were updated. Routine intubation and tracheal suctioning are no longer required. If the infant is vigorous with good respiratory effort and muscle tone, the infant may stay with the mother to receive the initial steps of newborn care. If the infant born through meconium-stained amniotic fluid presents with poor muscle tone and inadequate breathing efforts, the initial steps of resuscitation should be completed under the radiant warmer. Appropriate intervention to support ventilation and oxygenation should be initiated as indicated for each infant. Infants with meconium-stained amniotic fluid should no longer routinely receive intrapartum suctioning, whether they are vigorous or not. In addition, meconium-stained amniotic fluid is a condition that requires the notification and availability of an appropriately credentialed team with full resuscitation skills, including endotracheal intubation. Resuscitation should follow the same principles for infants with meconium-stained fluid as for those with clear fluid.  Click here to view the entire opinion.