Because I am directly aware of the risks involved and how they can affect your newborn, I was inspired to create this post. Here is some background info: When my friend’s water broke, it was sad that the physicians didn’t act quickly to deliver the baby; instead, they left her for hours. In their defense, first pregnancies typically take a long time before delivery. To make a long tale short, the infant had his first feces during those protracted waiting hours and inhaled them, resulting in a condition known as meconium aspiration syndrome. The oxygen level was compromised and there was a great deal of suffering as a result. The baby was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy, which was brought on by oxygen deprivation caused by meconium aspiration.
Meconium Aspiration Syndrome (MAS) is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the newborn inhales meconium-stained amniotic fluid during the birthing process. This condition most frequently affects infants born at full term (37–41 weeks) and occurs in approximately 1-2 out of every 1000 births. MAS occurs when fetal stress causes the infant to pass meconium (the first stool) while in the uterus. Normally, the amniotic fluid that surrounds the fetus contains no meconium.
Meconium is a sticky, greenish-black material made up of cells and tissue that the fetus swallowed while in the womb. It is usually present in the amniotic fluid during labor and delivery. In some cases, however, the stress of labor causes the fetus to pass meconium into the amniotic fluid before delivery. If this occurs, the baby is at increased risk of inhaling meconium into the lungs, resulting in MAS.
Once inhaled, the meconium can cause a blockage in the alveoli of the lungs, which can lead to respiratory distress, a lack of oxygen in the blood (hypoxia), and pneumonia. The baby may also suffer from shock, hypotension, and progressive circulatory failure.
It is important to note that MAS is not always caused by meconium inhalation. Some cases of MAS may be caused by asthma or other respiratory illnesses. However, meconium aspiration is one of the most common causes of MAS.
The diagnosis of MAS is based on the history of meconium in the amniotic fluid, severe respiratory distress within the first few hours of life, and laboratory tests showing hypoxemia. To confirm the diagnosis, a computed tomography (CT) scan or chest X-ray may also be used.
Treatment for MAS includes aggressive supportive care such as oxygen supplementation, respiratory support, and monitoring of vital signs. Antibiotics may also be used to treat any associated infections. In some cases, surfactant therapy and mechanical ventilation may be needed to help improve oxygenation.
Despite the potential severity of MAS, most infants with the condition recover with appropriate medical treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical for ensuring a successful outcome for the baby.
In summary, when it’s time for you to deliver your baby, please make sure you do your research properly and choose a qualified hospital with a good track record. Finally, it is good to arm yourself with the right knowledge so you can easily notice when something is going wrong or when your health care provider is making the wrong decision. Don’t always put all your faith in health care providers and take everything they say hook, line, and sinker. Learn to educate yourself on the topics that are vital to your health.