A question that came into us was what if my baby swallows their poop during delivery? This is an interesting question that spotlights a serious medical condition, that in some instances if it is severe enough, can lead to death. The medical condition that can be associated with breathing and other related problems when a baby swallows their stool is meconium aspiration syndrome.


In this birth injury article, and supporting video, I am going to discuss meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS) and how it can be dangerous for your baby in some cases. From a medical legal standpoint, doctors must pay close attention to babies who have this condition.




Meconium, in its most basic breakdown is the baby’s stool. In some cases, a baby can have a bowel movement either right before, or during delivery. The substance can vary in color, as it can be green, dark brown, or black, or even yellowish in color. The make-up of the substance can be sticky in nature.


The presence of meconium, if coupled with other signs, in some cases can be an alert to doctors and nurses that a baby may be in fetal distress. These other signs can be certain readings on the electronic fetal heart monitor, for example. The fetal heart monitor is a device that tracks fetal well-being, or how well a baby is tolerating a vaginal delivery.


The monitor is used in many hospitals all over the United States. It can be placed on the mother’s abdominal area and feeds the reading to either a screen for the nurses and doctors, have the readings printed out on a paper feed. Regardless, this information can be vital during delivery.




When meconium is present, doctors will more than likely check to see if the substance has gotten below the baby’s cords. One of the reasons this is done is to see if the baby has swallowed the meconium. If the baby has swallowed meconium, treatment will start.


Some of the dangers associated with meconium is meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS). This is because meconium can get into the baby’s lungs and cause a host of problems, from breathing issues, to infection, and in some cases, a brain injury. In the most extreme of cases, death can even occur.


As you can see above, meconium can get into the lungs and cause a baby trouble. Because the lungs can become compromised, oxygen problems can occur. If a baby is deprived of oxygen for too long, HIE, or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy can be another medical condition that the child may have to endure. HIE, in this context is a baby suffering from a reduced level of blood and oxygen which leads to a brain injury.




Hopefully now you have a better understanding as to the question of what if my baby swallows their poop during delivery. The outlook in these cases dealing with this issue can be better in some instances when the doctors immediately notice the condition and begin treatment right away. With that said, it is also important for doctors to take early note when meconium is present at the time the water breaks, as it can be a sign of problems to come, especially when concerning readings are present of the fetal heart monitor.


If you have more questions regarding your baby’s HIE diagnosis or brain injury at birth you can call me, and we can talk more about your baby’s story. I speak with families all the time regarding birth trauma and brain injuries, as this is what we do.


You can reach me at 301-850-4832.


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. blgesq.com