Enemas, suppositories and rectal stimulation are not effective in accelerating enteral feeding or meconium evacuation in low birth weight infants: A systematic review.

Kamphorst et al, Acta Paediatr. 2016 Aug 10


Early full enteral feeding in preterm infants decreases morbidity and mortality. Our systematic review covered the effectiveness of rectal stimulation, suppositories and enemas on stooling patterns and feeding tolerance in low birth weight infants born at up to 32 weeks. It comprised seven studies published between 2007 and 2014 and covered 495 infants.


Suppositories were ineffective in shortening the time to reach full enteral feeding and the evidence on enemas was contradictory. Enemas and rectal stimulation did not shorten the time until complete meconium evacuation was reached. Further research into safe, effective interventions to accelerate meconium excretion is needed. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.