What is meconium stained fluid? This is a question that was asked of me by a mother who had a child dealing with a brain injury following birth. Her baby was dealing with not only a brain injury, but there was initial concern regarding a condition called meconium aspiration syndrome. This mother initially became concerned during delivery when there was meconium stained fluid.
The purpose of this Maryland birth injury educational article is to talk about what is meconium stained fluid, and why from a medical legal standpoint, meconium can be dangerous for a baby.
WHY IS THE ELECTRONIC FETAL HEART MONITOR IMPORTANT FOR YOUR BABY?
Before delving into what is meconium stained fluid, it is important to understand one tool doctors use to monitor a baby’s wellbeing during a vaginal delivery. That tool is the electronic fetal heart monitor. The monitor displays the findings of a baby’s heart rate, among other things.
In general, a baby’s heart rate will fall between 120-160 beats per minute. If the heart rate is higher than 160, then the term for that is tachycardia. 100 beats per minute or lower is bradycardia. Both conditions, along with the fetal heart monitor revealing late decelerations, and or minimal variability can suggest that the baby is in fetal distress. For this article, fetal distress will mean a baby no longer tolerating a vaginal delivery.
WHAT IS MECONIUM STAINED FLUID?
What is meconium stained fluid? Meconium is the baby’s stool. It is a sticky substance which can be deadly for a baby. Meconium stained fluid means that when the water breaks, meconium is in the water. Essentially, the baby’s stool is in the water, hence meconium stained fluid.
When meconium is swallowed by the baby, it runs the risk of causing serious harm to the baby. Meconium below the baby’s vocal cords can lead to the medical condition called meconium aspiration syndrome. Ingested meconium can cause the baby to develop not only respiratory issues but can also be infectious. Left untreated, meconium aspiration syndrome can cause death.
When doctors fail to properly manage a baby in fetal distress, injury to the child can occur. Therefore, it is imperative for doctors to properly diagnose and treat a baby in distress by paying close attention to signs like meconium stained fluid, and the information displayed on the electronic fetal heart monitor. If conservative treatments do not yield improvement, then doctors must be ready to move to an emergency C-section.
HAS YOUR BABY SUFFERED AN INJURY AT BIRTH?
What is meconium stained fluid? Hopefully now at the end of this article you understand why meconium can be dangerous for a baby. If your child has been diagnosed as dealing with complications from meconium aspiration syndrome, or has suffered a brain injury at birth, and you have questions, this is what I invite you to do.
Pick up the phone and give me a call. I can be reached at 301-850-4832. I answer Maryland birth injury and medical malpractice questions just like yours all the time and I will be happy to listen to your story.
Marcus B. Boston, Esq.
Boston Law Group, LLC
2 Wisconsin Circle, Suite 700
Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815
1-833-4 BABY HELP