Meconium a marker for peripartum infection

Jeanna M. Piper, Edward R. Newton, Michael D. Berkus, William A. Peairs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Objective To test the hypothesis that the presence of meconium-stained amniotic fluid (AF) is associated with maternal and neonatal infection, both before and after delivery. Methods Nine hundred thirty-six laboring women were analyzed for the presence of meconium in amniotic fluid and occurrence of peripartum infection. Meconium was assessed clinically as thin, moderate, or thick. Intra-amniotic infection and endometritis were diagnosed by standard defini tions. All patients were tested for vaginal group B streptococcus, bacterial vaginosis, and other aerobic organisms. Results Meconium-stained AF was present in 28% of the study participants (9% thin, 12% moderate, 7% thick). The presence of meconium was associated with increased intraamniotic fluid (17% versus 9%, relative risk [RR] 1.98, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.3, 3.1), endometritis (10% versus 5%, RR 2.38, 95% CI 1.3, 4.4), and total infection (25% versus 13%, RR 2.19, 95% CI 1.5, 3.2). Thick meconium had higher infection rates than clear AF (44% versus 13%, RR 5.18, 95% CI 2.9, 9.3). Meconium was associated independently with peripartum infection by multiple logistic regression (RR 1.28, 95% CI 1.1, 1.6). Conclusion Meconium-stained AF is associated with increased peripartum infection, independent of other risk factors for infection. Thick meconium, in particular, is associated with a marked increase in peripartum infectious morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)741-745
Number of pages5
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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