Background: Most infants born through meconium-stained amniotic fluid (MSAF) are observed clinically for 24 hours postnatally. Only 5% of infants born through MSAF develop the meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS), a serious condition requiring medical intervention.
Objective: To evaluate the value of 24-hour postnatal observation of infants born through MSAF.
Methods: A cohort of 394 term neonates born through MSAF was studied. Data were collected on Apgar scores, development of MAS and other perinatal factors.
Results: Nineteen of the 394 (4.8%) infants born through MSAF developed MAS. 298 (76%) infants had a 5-minute Apgar score (5'AS)≥9. In this group the number of infants developing MAS (1; 0.3%) was significantly lower compared to the 5'AS≤8 group (18; 19%).
Conclusion: MAS develops rarely in infants born through MSAF with 5-minute Apgar scores above 8. We suggest that these infants can be safely discharged from the hospital shortly after birth.
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