Meconium is the material that's inside your baby's intestines while still in your womb (an unborn baby is called a fetus). Even though a fetus doesn't eat food, it swallows the amniotic fluid that it floats in. This forms a sticky, dark green material in the fetus's intestines.
Aspiration is when you inhale some material into your lungs.
What is meconium aspiration syndrome?
If a fetus is stressed right before birth, the fetus can poop meconium into the amniotic fluid. Meconium aspiration syndrome is when a fetus inhales amniotic fluid full of meconium.
Inhaling plain amniotic fluid isn't harmful. But if the fluid contains meconium, the meconium can block your baby's air passages and irritate the lungs.
Babies have trouble breathing
They breathe quickly, grunt when breathing out, and may have blue-colored skin
Doctors may have to put a breathing tube in your baby's windpipe, and your baby may be put on a ventilator
Most babies survive, but they have a higher chance of having asthma Asthma in Children Asthma causes the airways to become narrow, which makes it hard for your child to breathe. Asthma often starts in childhood, especially before age 5. Many common things can trigger asthma attacks... read more later in life
What are the symptoms of meconium aspiration syndrome?
Looking like they're struggling to breathe
Grunting when breathing out
Blue skin from low oxygen levels
How can doctors tell if my baby has meconium aspiration syndrome?
Doctors suspect meconium aspiration syndrome if there is meconium in the amniotic fluid when your baby is born and your baby has breathing problems. Doctors may also do:
How do doctors treat meconium aspiration syndrome?
Doctors treat your baby with:
Suction to remove meconium blocking your baby’s mouth, nose, and throat
A breathing tube in the baby’s windpipe—the baby may also need a CPAP How do doctors treat sleep apnea? Apnea is a medical word for "not breathing." Sleep apnea is when your breathing slows or stops for a short time while you're sleeping and then restarts. This happens over and over each time... read more (continuous positive airway pressure) machine or ventilator Ventilators Ventilation is the same thing as breathing. It's the movement of air into and out of your lungs. Sometimes your breathing needs to be assisted by a ventilator. A ventilator is a machine that... read more to help with breathing
Antibiotics to prevent infection