How meconium, with other factors, can lead to a brain injury at birth. Although meconium alone may not lead to injury, when it is coupled with other non-reassuring factors, it can not only lead to serious injury for a baby, but also death.


One of my main focuses of this Maryland birth injury article is to help parents understand from a medical legal standpoint the importance of doctors and nurses paying close attention to a baby who may not be tolerating a vaginal delivery. If doctors and nurses fail to identify these issues, and fail to treat appropriately, injury can occur.





The easiest way to understand meconium is to know that it is generally the baby’s stool. Even though baby’s do not “eat” the same way we do, regarding solid foods, etc…, they do generate “waste.” Meconium is the term given to the baby’s stool.


The substance can be varying in color, from being dark in color, to being greenish. In addition, it can be sticky, and if inhaled, can cause injury to the baby’s lungs. When meconium is present at birth, doctors check to see if it has gotten below the “cords,” as this can be a sign of “ingestion.”


Meconium aspiration syndrome occurs when the baby has meconium in the lungs. Because the substance is “sticky,” it can lead to breathing problems for the baby once born, and infection. All these things can be serious issues for a newborn.






Once a mother’s water breaks, and meconium is present, doctors and nurses must be on alert. As mentioned above, meconium by itself may not lead to a brain injury, but if other factors are present, which suggest that the baby is not tolerating the delivery, doctors need to act. Some of these other factors can be the following:


  • Minimal variability
  • Late decelerations
  • Bradycardia
  • Tachycardia (with other factors)



Meconium, with these factors can suggest in some cases, that the baby may be getting enough blood and oxygen. In other words, the baby has profusion issues.



A reduced level of blood and oxygen can lead to a condition called HIE, or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. HIE is essentially a reduced level of blood and oxygen, which leads to a brain injury. This is a condition that must be carefully watched for when a non-reassuring strip presents itself. Failure to move to an emergency C-section in enough time can present serious issues for a baby.






Hopefully, now you understand how meconium, with other factors, can lead to a brain injury at birth. If your baby has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, or you know these factors were present at your baby’s birth and you think doctors should have moved to a C-section; now he or she is not meeting neonatal milestones, 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 birth injury questions like yours all the time and I would 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


Marcus Boston is a Maryland medical malpractice attorney who helps people navigate the Maryland childbirth injury and medical malpractice process to get money for their injuries caused by the carelessness of doctors and hospitals. BLG handles cases in Prince George’s County, Baltimore City, Montgomery County, Howard County, Anne Arundel County, and all other Maryland Counties.