The nurse reports that no stool has been passed in a premature infant that is 36 hours old. Ninety-nine percent of term infants, 100% of post-term infants, and 76% of premature infants (majority are >32 weeks) pass a stool in the first 24 hours of life. The majority of preterm infants have delayed passage (37% in 24 hours, 32% beyond 48 hours, and 99% by 9 days in one study). The time when the first meconium stool passes has been used as a marker for normal gastrointestinal functioning, and a delay can occur because of gestational immaturity, a severe illness, a bowel obstruction, or other cause. Delayed meconium passage can be a predisposing factor for bowel perforation. Males pass stool later than females, and type of feeding does not predict the time to the first stool.