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Figure 6.16. Meconium staining, as noted in this post-term infant, is a potential sign of fetal distress and is more common in the post-term infant. Meconium staining of the fingernails, as noted in this figure, suggests exposure to meconium of at least 4 to 6 hours, duration. Presence of meconium in the amniotic fluid may be helpful in assessing gestational age. In general, the fetus does not pass meconium before 34 weeks gestation; hence, the presence of meconium may either increase the estimated gestation of a premature infant or suggest that other causes of discolored amniotic fluid (such as Listeria monocytogenes) be considered.

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