Timely passage of the first stool is a hallmark of the well-being of the newborn infant. Failure of a full-term newborn to pass meconium in the first 24 hours may signal intestinal obstruction. Lower intestinal obstruction may be associated with disorders such as Hirschsprung's disease, anorectal malformations, meconium plug syndrome, small left colon syndrome, hypoganglionosis, neuronal intestinal dysplasia and megacystis-microcolon-intestinal hypoperistalsis syndrome. Radiologic studies are usually required to make the diagnosis. In addition, specific tests such as pelvic magnetic resonance imaging, anorectal manometry and rectal biopsy are helpful in the evaluation of newborns with failure to pass meconium.