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Birth injury profile: Meconium aspiration syndrome

A perfect, peaceful birth is the dream of most women, but that isn't the reality for all women. Some women find that their birth experience is complicated and difficult. For some women, the presence of meconium in the amniotic fluid is one event that might lead to stress. When that happens, meconium aspiration syndrome might affect the baby. In some cases, this can be considered a birth injury, especially when the presence of meconium in the amniotic fluid wasn't handled according to the acceptable methods of treatment for Kentucky doctors.

Meconium is a very sticky, dark green fecal material that develops in the baby's intestines before birth. In most cases, the baby won't pass the meconium until after birth when the baby starts to eat. If the baby is stressed during birth, it might pass meconium. A lack of oxygen is one event that might cause stress.

If meconium is present in the amniotic fluid, the baby might breathe the substance into its lungs during the birth. The meconium can block the airway or cause a lung to collapse. The baby might struggle to breathe after birth and might need oxygen support.

Meconium aspiration syndrome is often associated with postmature babies because those babies live in a very small volume of amniotic fluid. This can lead to several complications but can also be managed.

When a baby is born with meconium tinged amniotic fluid, the medical team should take appropriate steps, such as suctioning the baby's mouth, throat and nose to prevent inhalation of meconium. Giving the baby antibiotics might also be necessary.

Any parent who has a baby with meconium aspiration syndrome might worry about the child's future. If the baby will require ongoing medical care, it can prove to be expensive. For these parents, determining if they have a case for compensation might help them cope with the financial aspect of this potentially-fatal syndrome.

Source: Merck Manual, "Meconium Aspiration Syndrome" Oct. 02, 2014

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