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Background. Meconium-stained amniotic fluid (MSAF) may reflect normal foetal gut maturation or may indicate foetal compromise. Protocols on the management of newborns with grade 3 MSAF exposure, who do not require immediate resuscitation at birth are required.
Objectives. To determine the outcomes of vigorous newborns born through grade 3 MSAF.
Methods. A retrospective chart review was conducted at King Edward VIII Hospital (KEH) in Durban, KwaZulu Natal (KZN), South Africa (SA) from 1st January to 31st December 2018. Data were collected from 238 newborns born through grade 3 MSAF to determine the incidence of neonatal sepsis, respiratory complications, and neurological complications associated with grade 3 MSAF exposure. Descriptive statistics were used.
Result. Neonatal sepsis was suspected in 10.5% of the grade 3 MSAF exposed newborns and confirmed in 1.7% of the cases. Respiratory distress occurred in 18.9% of newborns with 9.2% requiring supplementary oxygen. Neurological abnormalities occurred in 2.9% of grade 3 MSAF exposed newborns and 2.2% of newborns complicated with seizures.
Conclusion. There was a low rate of neonatal sepsis, respiratory distress, neurological complications, and perinatal asphyxia in newborns exposed to grade 3 MSAF. Neonates who are stable at birth, can be observed in the postnatal ward for a short period after birth prior to discharge.
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