The term meconium refers to undigested debris from swallowed amniotic fluid in the fetal digestive system. It is a dark substance that your baby may pass from its bowels into the amniotic fluid. This may happen before or at the time of delivery. Meconium is detected when your water breaks. Before this time, the only way to know about it is by amniocentesis.
If meconium is detected during labor, it is removed from the baby's mouth and throat after delivery with a small suction tube so the baby won't swallow it. Meconium in the amniotic fluid may be caused by distress in the fetus. When meconium is present, it doesn't always mean distress, but it must be considered.