Meconium Aspiration Syndrome (MAS) At Birth
Whenever a child is born and there seems to be “problems,” no matter how large or small, parents get concerned, and rightfully so.
One of these areas of concerns for parents can appear when they are informed that their child is dealing with meconium aspiration syndrome (“MAS”).
“SO WHAT IS THIS MECONIUM STUFF?”
The first word in the medical condition meconium aspiration syndrome is meconium.
In general, meconium is stool.
It can be very harmful to children and its presence can sometimes mean that your child may be in distress.
Babies can pass meconium either right before delivery or during the vaginal delivery process.
“YOU SAID DISTRESS…HOW CAN WE KNOW IF THE CHILD IS IN DISTRESS?”
During a vaginal child birth the baby is going to be connected to a fetal heart monitor.
This device is used to help doctors and nurses know whether the child is tolerating the delivery.
Problems can occur when the monitor is revealing, for example, that the child’s heart rate is too high for a considerable amount of time, or too low for that matter.
The average heart rate for a child during this time is around 120-160 beats per minute.
If the fetal heart monitor is suggesting that the child is in distress, this may mean that your child is getting a reduced level of oxygen, or no oxygen at all.
When a reduced level of oxygen is present then serious injury can occur to the baby, namely brain damage (cerebral palsy comes to mind).
“HOW DOES MAS FIT THEN?”
As mentioned above, meconium is stool and in some cases the baby can swallow the meconium.
When this happens doctors have to be prepared to help the child.
Doctors often look to see if the meconium has gotten below the child’s vocal cords.
If the meconium has gotten deep into the child’s system then injury to the child’s lungs can occur.
Add to this, MAS can cause serious infections in a newborn and can also suggest brain damage.
“WHAT MUST DOCTORS DO THEN IF THE CHILD IS IN DISTRESS?”
Doctors have be sure to pay attention to all warning signs, if present during a vaginal delivery.
When a child is in distress and is not getting enough oxygen, the child can only deal with this problem for a certain amount of time.
As the child’s fetal reserves are depleted, he or she can drift into deeper and deeper trouble.
This is why doctors have to be ready to perform an emergency C-section when the time and situation warrants.
“CAN I SPEAK WITH YOU MORE ABOUT MY CHILD’S INJURY?
If you are reading this article, or watching the corresponding video and you know that it is time to speak with someone about this, we invite you to take the next action.
Remember, it costs nothing to take this next action and that is to pick up the phone and give us a call.
We can be reached at 301-850-4832.
We answer Maryland childbirth and medical malpractice questions like yours all the time and we would be happy to take some time and listen to your story.