Today, I would like to talk to you about meconium.
Earlier on in the week, I did a Facebook Live on a conversation that we haven’t had for a while, and that was around the fact that positive thinking is not going to guarantee you a perfect birth. The way that we teach hypnobirthing at the Calm Birth School doesn’t necessarily aim for ‘the perfect birth’, we’re aiming for you to feel confident, empowered, and knowledgeable as you go into labour. We want you to have a real sense of knowing that you are going to be able to navigate whatever twists and turns unpredictable births may take on the day, so that whether your baby arrives via caesarean-section, assisted, whether you choose to have an epidural, or have a home water birth, that whatever happens, you feel really, really great about your path from A to Z.
So to ensure that happens we also need to think about what happens if things go off piste? And so today, I would like to talk to you about what you can do, or what you should be thinking about now, in terms of your preparation, if you notice that you have meconium in your waters. Watch my vlog here:
First things first: what exactly is meconium? Quite simply, it’s when your baby does a poo, has a bowel movement, whilst they’re still in the womb. If your waters release when you’re in early labour there’s a good chance you’ll still be at home, and if you’re birthing at home, of course, you’ll be at home. Your care providers may ask you to put a sanitary towel on, so that they can ask you to look to see if the waters are clear. Now, what we are looking for is nice clear amniotic fluid.
If your baby has had a bowel movement, you may notice that the waters are slightly green, brown, or even a golden colour, so what does that mean? Usually, the lighter the meconium, the more recent it is. The darker the meconium, the older it is, and this indicates that your baby may have experienced some kind of stress, or maybe in some kind of distress. If you are post-dates, so you are nearing or beyond 42 weeks, it may also just be a sign that your baby’s gut has matured, which would be nothing to worry about, and they’re just having a little poo, to get that out of them.
It’s helpful to find out ahead of time what the hospital policy is on meconium; even if you’re birthing at home the midwives will advise you to follow this. What is their policy on light discolouring of the waters? What about dark discolouring of the waters? If you are planning on birthing at home, you definitely need to speak to your midwife about this. You also need to think about how you might respond, if your intention is to use a birth centre and you notice meconium, or your care providers notice meconium in your waters, and you then get taken to birth in a hospital. You also want to discuss how you want your birth partner can support you, should something like this happen. Are you going to want them to take the lead? Do you feel confident that they are going to be able to stay calm, relaxed, and present for you, should this specific event happen?
And if not, then you need to think about how you can have a backup plan. Perhaps you want to investigate having a doula / friend / family member present, so that should this scenario occur, you know that you have, Plan A, Plan B, or Preference A, Preference B, or even Preference C. This is just about thinking about different scenarios that may happen, and knowing that you have a loose but flexible idea, of how things will proceed, and how you can still create the calm and positive birth you desire, even if things aren’t going exactly to plan.
I hope that’s helpful for you. For those of you who haven’t yet signed up for the free, three videos that you’re entitled to, please check out https://www.thecalmbirthschool.com/freehypnobirthing.